Author's Note (June 24, 2012): Well... most people will probably skip the author's note completely, but to those who do read it; I feel I have to apologise for the incredibly long delay in posting this chapter. I have been so incredibly busy with my job, my study and everything else, that I just didn't have the time to get to writing. And then I had it done, and sent it to my lovely Beta Samantha, but she was very busy too. But the fault was all mine. I promise to do better.
So, let's get on with it, and please review. I love to receive ideas and constructive criticism.
-The Mystery of Clark Kent-
The rest of the evening was mostly spent in silence, a bit of chit-chat here and there. Lois had not really expected herself to confess anything of this nature to her geeky co-worker Clark 'Smallville' Kent. She had not even told Richard yet. But she knew it had to be revealed one day. Should Jason have more of these 'power displays', Richard might become suspicious. He knew Jason was not his son. He had known from the beginning. But Lois had not wanted to talk about the real father, claiming he had not wanted to recognise the child and just left. Back then she did not know there was any truth in the statement. But she had not remembered the conceiving, not remembering having had sex with anyone. She had called it Immaculate Conception, as an inside joke she only knew about.
After Lois' revelation to Clark about Superman being Jason's father, she felt better. Apart from Superman himself, no one knew. It was almost elation. Clark always made her feel she could tell him more than she could others, as if he was this sponge that would soak up all the information, without protest, and hold it within. It was rather funny, she noted, comparing Clark to a sponge. Later, in bed, she had secretly laughed about it.
Martha had busied herself in the kitchen while Lois and Clark had their talk. She had caught some pieces of the conversation, and it had shocked her more than a little to find out that Lois' son was Clark's too. When Clark was a teenager they had occasionally talked about the possibility of Clark having children. After Clark had found out, from Jor-El's database, as Clark had called it, that it was highly improbable Kryptonians and humans were compatible in terms of reproduction, they had long talks about it. Eventually Clark had resigned himself in the fact that it would probably never happen. But Martha knew that it had hurt him more than he had wanted her and Jonathan to see.
But now the seemingly impossible had happened. And she could imagine Clark being ecstatic about it. Why he had not told her puzzled her. She would have to have a long talk about it with him. Not being able to have children was hard to accept. Clark had been a gift from heaven; she had told him that at least a thousand times.
She heard a yawn and Lois saying she would go to bed. Then a call to the kitchen; "Good night Mrs.-uh, Martha."
"Good night, dear," she replied.
This was the time, and probably the only time, while he was home this weekend, she would be able to talk to him in private. As soon as she heard the footsteps on the top of the stairs —the second step from the top creaked in a particular way— she went back to the living room.
Clark was still on the couch, now half seated, legs over the arm rest, arms folded in his lap, and face drawn in fatigue.
"You gave me quite a scare."
Clark jumped at her voice, and then hissed in pain, his hand automatically reaching for his side. Martha approached him and sat on the edge of the couch, just watching him settling against the back rest of the couch.
"How are you feeling, son?" Martha asked at length, when he seemed comfortable enough. He looked at her as if saying; 'do you really need to ask?' but then sighed.
"He doesn't swear, and you brought me up too well to even try it in front of you." He pursed his lips and his brows drew together into a frown. "But heck, if it would make me feel better..." He trailed of and Martha could not help but smile slightly. He would never say the name of his alter ego. But they would always know what he was referring to.
"It's so frustrating. The kryptonite is gone, I'm sure of it. I would've felt it. I should be getting better. But instead I feel weak and lightheaded."
"Clark, sweetheart, listen to me." She took her son's hand with her right and her left hand cupped his cheek. "If I had the answers, I would give them to you in a heartbeat. If I had the cure, God knows I would heal you. But, doing what any good mother would do, I'll give you the only advice I possibly can. Rest. And be patient. I'm sure you will either feel better soon or find the answer within you."
Clark chuckled. "Patience has never been my strong suit. If he ever told the world that, they would not believe it. He's the model of patience, and yet..." Then a thought struck him. "What about tomorrow? I need to get all my furniture and belongings packed in my truck. I—"
Martha held up her hand. "Let people help. Ben will be over tomorrow, and Lois is here. I am here. Let us help you."
The look on his face was one that Martha knew all too well. It was one of unwilling resignation, wanting to argue, but knowing he would never win. Not even the Man of Steel himself could win from his mother. Because, as usual, she was right. And he hated it. And she knew he hated it. This made him hate it even more...
The next morning Lois woke up with the sun shining in through the window, right in her face. With a groan she turned to get away from the light. It was no use, it was everywhere. Groaning she peeked from under the quilt to the clock on the wall adjacent of the bed. Six o'clock in the morning. What was farm life doing to her? Yesterday up at five-thirty, today six...
Thank heaven it's Sunday, she thought as she swung the coverings from her body and sat up. Not that she really minded being on the farm. She had grown rather fond of the fresh air, the birds chirping outside the window, that rooster... No way, never the rooster... Come to think of it, she had not heard it yet. She wondered if Clark finally put it out of its misery. She walked towards the bedroom door and picked up Clark's bathrobe from the chair as she passed it, putting it on. It was very soft, almost fluffy.
On her way down the stairs the smell of freshly baked bread filled her nostrils. Lois inhaled the sweet smell. Bread never smelled like this in the city. Quickly she covered the last of the steps into the kitchen, where she found Martha busying herself making breakfast.
"That smells wonderful, Martha."
Martha turned halfway to greet Lois back, but continuing her task. "Good morning, Lois. I had not expected you yet. Clark told me the city folk like to sleep in on Sundays."
Lois just grinned. It was true. After a week's worth of hard work people in the city would use the Sunday to sleep late and spend their day out in one of the many parks that covered the city. She sat down at the kitchen counter as Martha poured a cup of coffee and handed it to her. After a 'thank you', Lois looked around as if in search for something, or more accurately, in search of someone.
"Where's Clark?" Lois wondered out loud. Ever since what happened the night before, he had been in her thoughts almost constantly. She had been very worried about him. She could not remember Clark Kent ever being ill. He had never missed a day of work. Sure, he would late, or early for that matter, leave at the strangest of times. But she also remembered all the late nights he spent at the Planet getting a story done. To call Clark a workaholic was an understatement. But then again, so was she.
Martha flipped an egg in the frying pan and bent her neck sideways to look out of the window next to the stove. "Oh, he's outside. He has been since sunrise."
Lois picked up the coffee mug and took it with her outside, where her co-worker was leaning on the fence of the corn field, appearing to be staring at nothing. He looked as if in trance and she dared not to disturb him while he was revelling in the sunlight. She noticed he was barefoot, even though it was early October, and she had to repress a shiver at the crisp air. Clutching the hot coffee mug, she drew up the bathrobe to her chin.
As he stood there against the fence, Lois thought back of the last few days she had spent with him and his mother. She had known her clumsy co-worker for a long time. If she remembered it correctly, about four years before he left to explore the world. But she had never had the opportunity to see him in his 'natural habitat'. She snickered inside. This could definitely be described as his natural habitat. On a more serious note, she had noticed he was very different when he was home, away from the bustling city. After two days, he still had not dropped or bumped into anything. He was still shy, silent, well-mannered, with a speech deficit, but there was definitely something off. What frustrated her was that she could not pinpoint exactly what was off.
And now it was the last day and tomorrow everything would be back to normal. She would get in the car with Clark back to Metropolis, the too long drive she was not in the least excited about. Perhaps she could have a longer conversation with him this time. It always seemed their conversations were either cut short because of an interruption by someone else or they just got stuck after a few word exchanges, usually her fault. She knew she was known to have a very short concentration span. And especially with Clark, she had noticed over the last weeks, she just could not stay interested in what he had to say. And, now that she thought about it, it was very unfair to him. She did not know anything about his travels around the world, except that he had gone alone, without any means of contact, and something about llamas. It was something Jimmy could not shut up about. Apparently it was something funny. Making a mental note about it, she would have to ask him about it for sure.
She came back to the present as she saw that the subject of her thoughts had turned around to face her, with a small smirk on his face. Apparently her eyes had been staring at him, although unseeing. How long he had been staring back at her?
"Like what you see?" he said, that infuriating smirk still on his face. Was he flirting?
Lois scoffed. "Oh, stuff it, Clark. I was just admiring the sunrise, which happened to be right where you're standing." She walked towards him, still holding the coffee mug, now against her chest. She took her place next to Clark, leaning her behind against the fence. Clark straightened, body still facing the now completely risen sun. He rested his hands on said fence, not taking his eyes of his female counterpart.
"So," Lois began. "Feeling better today?"
Clark nodded. "Yeah, much."
"I guess you needed a good night's sleep, huh?"
He grunted in agreement. "I guess."
She took a sip from her coffee, which had cooled down considerably by now. "I'm sorry about last night, by the way."
He looked confused, his eyebrows rising up to his hairline. "S-sorry for what?"
"Well, y'know..." The petite reported fingered the ear of her coffee mug, slightly nervous about the direction of the conversation. "...About what I told you."
Clark sighed. "Lois, listen. There is really nothing to be s-sorry for. You, you know I, uh, will always listen to you. You can always talk to me. You know that, right? You know me..." He made a gesture of zipping his mouth shut, sealing it with an invisible key and throwing it away, and it almost made Lois laugh out loud. Only the seriousness of the conversation prevented her. She did allow herself a smile.
"You're too good for me, Smallville. I don't deserve you as a friend."
He smiled back at her and the conversation died down... As usual as of late, Lois could not help but think.
"So..." It was not the best or the smartest way of initiating another conversation, but it was something. "What's the plan today?"
Clark looked thoughtful. "Well... Ben is c-coming over soon. Apparently I, uh, I'm not allowed to do anything in my, um... 'condition'." He accentuated 'condition' by putting both his hands in the air, suggesting quotation marks with his fingers. "You know how mothers are."
At this Lois couldn't hold in her laughter, bending slightly forward as she did so.
"I know exactly what you mean," she hiccupped between giggles. "Remember, I'm a mother too."
Clark smiled at her as she got her laughter under control, managing to face him again. Then she shivered involuntarily.
"Maybe we should go back inside," Clark offered. "It smells like breakfast is ready."
At the prospect of food Lois' stomach started grumbling in anticipation. "Well, I guess I can't say no to that."
Being the gentleman, Clark let Lois lead the way, and lagged behind a bit, looking wistfully at the sun, that had now risen above the trees in the distance.
He had not slept well last night. He was bone-weary, but the events of a week ago weighed heavy on his mind. Fortunately the world seemed to give Superman some respite from his duties. He only had to go out twice, for a building that threatened to collapse in Metropolis, and for an after-shock in South-East Asia, where he had been the previous evening, before his fainting spell afterwards.
Back in bed, he had tried closing his eyes, clear his head, but sleep did not come until just before sunrise. I could not have slept more than an hour. And his body, especially in the state it was in, did not appreciate it. He would pay the price for it one way or another.
Sighing, he noticed Lois had stopped and watched him intently, a strange expression on her face he could not place, and started after her.
...To Be Continued...
Muawhahahahahaaaa! Still no revealing yet! My plan for the story changed... to what? You'll see in the next parts.