Sorry for the delay!! RL got in the way... I should be on a more regular writing schedule and hope to post more by the end of the week!
The cool air woke Lois first. She was cradled in his arms, and the whisper of a breeze ran through her hair. She shivered, still feeling the coldness of the ice palace, but his warmth was close to her, and she snuggled deeper. If this was a dream, she didn’t want to wake from it.
Her adventures to the future had all been touched by surreal ephemeral, moments that could only be experienced in her memory. But now, she was really in his arms, could feel the strength of them around her back, could hear the comforting thud of his heart, could feel the cool leather of his jacket.
These were all tangible realities, a coming together of the closeness she had felt with him in those other times, hidden in a mist of her memories.
As she stirred awake, she became more aware, seeing the wind blow through his hair, the moon shining on his skin, making him look almost like alabaster marble. She sat up slightly in his arms, and his eyes met hers, shining blue.
“Clark, you’re flying!” she said in whispered awe, surprising him a bit as she clutched tighter to him, not in fear, but in a half-hug. “I knew you could…” she said breathlessly.
He watched her breathless excitement in puzzlement, as all of this was completely new to him, yet she seemed like she had known he had this ability within him. For Clark, flying had been the final barrier to becoming the hero Jor-El had told him was his destiny. How ironic that defying Jor-El and choosing Lois had been the final piece of the puzzle. He realized with chilling amazement, that he actually did have the power within him all along.
So many questions hung in Clark’s mind, suspended like the stars around them. How long had she known the truth about him? And why had she been afraid to tell him that she knew?
But deep down, he knew why she hadn’t told him. His own fears and doubts had unintentionally pushed her away. She had probably been terrified to tell him what she knew, afraid that he would run from her. And even now, as she looked up at him with such trust and understanding, he knew that she was waiting for him to tell her the words first. Even now, she was as patient as Job, a seeming contradiction in Lois that was also the very essence of her; she waited when it mattered, just as she rushed in when it mattered. And with affairs of the heart, he knew, Lois would wait forever—only, she wouldn’t have to.
It was time for the truth at last.
They landed a short time later at the Kent farmhouse. Lois was still a bit shivery, and not speaking, they entered the farmhouse, still wrapped in the spell of Clark’s first flight. Clark immediately began making her a cup of tea to help warm her up, barely taking his eyes off her, just as she refused to notice anything else in the room but him as well.
Lois eventually sat down on the living room sofa, waiting until Clark came over. He made a quick fire using his heat vision, which Lois simply acknowledged with a glance, her eyebrow lifting as if to say, ‘impressive… but first we need to talk.’
Clark sighed heavily, but not unhappily—simply resigned. He had gone through these explanations before, even sometimes with Lois in alternate times or places, but inevitably something would always go wrong or get changed, and they’d end back up at square one. As he looked at her, he realized each of those times had been rehearsal for this, the big moment—the moment that he would never take back, and finally, knew he’d never want to. And suddenly, he wasn’t nervous anymore. Because Lois had always accepted him—no matter what. He knew this time would be no different.
Clark wrapped a blanket around her shoulders and handed Lois a cup of tea. “Thanks,” she smiled at him, a bit shyly.
He almost sat opposite of her in his father’s old armchair, thinking she needed some space from him, but seeing her eyes sparkle in the firelight, knowing what this moment would mean to both of them, he chose instead to sit right next to her.
He was relieved to see a welcoming smile in her eyes. It gave him the courage to find his way to her, carefully reaching for her hand, gently brushing the hair out of her eyes, as he thought about how to begin. “Lois,” he said at last, softly.
“How long have you known?”
Unexpectedly, she shook her head, biting her lip, and looked down at the mug in her hands. “You first,” she whispered, glancing up, and he caught the sheen of tears in her eyes.
He breathed in and nodded, “I suppose that’s fair…” he murmured, but then met her eyes. “ Lois—I’m the Blur,” he said formally and simply, letting go the gust of air in his lungs, almost knocking out the fire.
Lois laughed nervously, indicating the fireplace. “Well, I guess that proves it… if the flight over Canada hadn’t…”
Her attempt at a joke didn’t work to lighten the moment, though. She still seemed uncertain, afraid to express what she knew and how. Clark took her hands in his, setting aside her cup of tea; his hands warming her instead of the steaming cup.
“Lois, I’ve wanted to tell you for so long… I—just didn’t know how. And when you started talking to the Blur—“ she gave him a measured look, and he acquiesced, “—to me, as the Blur---well, I just wanted to protect you.”
“Smallville, you may have wanted to protect me physically, but you don’t know what havoc you wreaked on my heart. I was so torn—“ she looked down at his hands, and semi-consciously she started tracing his palms, half-thinking of the many times those very hands had saved her.
“But—it doesn’t matter now, Clark. What matters is that you’ve told me the truth. That’s all I’ve ever wanted---“
He stopped her just then, his hand leaving her grasp to gently stroke her chin with his thumb as he urged her to look at him, her eyes twinkling in the fire’s glow. “Is it all you’ve ever wanted, really? Was there ever—a part of you that wanted—“ he swallowed, seeing her uncertainty, a fragile side of Lois that was so rare and ever so compelling. He wondered if her eyes were mirrors of his own. Yet, he never doubted that Lois could see into the very heart of him. If he could see her fears, he was certain she could see his. “Was there ever a part of you that just wanted—me?” he finally asked, the last word barely above a whisper.
She reached out, cupping his face in both her hands, gentle as birds’ wings as she moved closer to him. “Smallville,” she said with deep affection, “I think I always wanted you. I just didn’t know how to ask.”
“Lois,” he said, caressing her name as he spoke it.
Without thinking, without questioning, like two magnets seeking home, they kissed. Her mouth parted, allowing him to taste her, to feel her. Their kiss seemed to erase all their fears, their insecurities as a new bond was forged between them. Affection and love surged through Clark, and he suddenly couldn’t get enough of her. Somehow, she moved onto his lap. Her skin was still cool from her time in the Fortress, but he soothed every exposed inch, caressing her arm, kissing her neck.
Holding Lois to him felt perfect, right. There was only warmth and gentle pleasure. He was in awe her smile, thrilled at the touch of her hands on his chest. His secret was now her secret, and he knew she’d keep it well.
Lois marveled at the man before her, holding her in the simple glow of truth. He trusted her with his heart, and she wanted to return the gift.
“Clark,” she said in the still darkness, the fire the only light in the room.
“What is it?” he asked, his voice mellifluous with happiness.
“I went to see Jor-El because I had questions about you—about us. Grant it, I stumbled upon him and his ice palace,” she sighed. “But I went back the second time to try and understand.”
“What do you want to know, Lois? I can say honestly for the first time, that for you, my life is an open book.”
“Jor-El said I needed to understand what you go through… He gave me a gift. It’s gone now—“ she hastily added, as she glanced over her shoulder at Clark’s worried expression behind her. She sighed, “He gave me the gift of reading people’s thoughts.”
She almost could hear Clark swallow his nervousness. Instead, he cleared his throat slightly, “And you had this gift at dinner, right?” he asked softly.
She nodded, knowing he could feel her answer against his chest. “Jor-El was right. I did learn so much about you—how brave and wonderful you are. But also, how you have to make life and death decisions every day. I don’t know how you do it, Smallville… You know, I always knew you had a big heart,” she said, turning slightly in his embrace to lay her hand gently on his chest. “But I just didn’t know how strong it was,” she said, leaning up to kiss him again.
She settled back on his chest, each listening to the steady rhythm of their breaths. Lois thought for a long moment, wanting to share with him something of the future that she had seen—but she didn’t know how prudent it would be to give it all away. Still, something in her prodded her to continue.
“You know, tonight when you flew?” she whispered.
“I flew because of you, Lois.”
“I know,” she said warmly, a smile in her voice. “It wasn’t my first time flying in your arms,” she admitted, even sounding a little guilty.
“Really?” Clark asked, startled.
“I flew in your arms in the future, Clark…” she said dreamily, thinking of Superman.
“What did you see of the future, Lois?” he asked, and she could hear a little desperation in his voice to know about that far-off time, that taunted him and compelled him at once.
“You won’t always be the Blur, Clark. He’s just one guise, one step to becoming the hero that the world needs. I’ve seen the hero you become… I’ve seen him in the future,” she leaned up again to look at him, “and I see him in you—every day.”
She could perceive the pensive worry on his face, the fear that he would never live up to that great distant hero, whoever he was. Lois laid her hand on his cheek, trying to soothe his concerns.
“Clark, you don’t need to worry. You will become the hero that Jor-El trained you to be and that you strive every day to become,” she said, her voice full of gentle conviction. But noticing his doubts still lingered, she moved a little closer, her eyes meeting his fully. “And you won’t do it alone.”
He was quiet a moment, and then smiled up at her, a boyish, charming smile that always caught her off guard. “I feel like I can do anything when you look at me like that. You always seem to rescue me, one way or another, when I feel the most uncertain.”
She smiled in return, and snuggled closer to him, as they settled into the sofa to sleep. “That’s what I’m here for, Smallville. One save at a time.”
Lois had only briefly napped on Clark’s chest before she awoke again, feeling content, yet her mind was still full of questions. Throughout the wee hours of the morning, she asked him all the silly questions that had plagued her about him. She asked him about what he knew about where he was from, and how much of a burden it had been for him to hide his secret. She went through their history together, seeking understanding about some of their weird experiences that Clark had always been able to brush off as not abnormal, like their trip to the Phantom Zone. Then, having exhausted the questions about the past, she started thinking about how they came to this moment, and she asked the question that mattered most to her heart... When did he know he loved her?
“Lois, when we first met, you were the most infuriating person I knew. You drove me crazy because I was attracted to you, yet we were like---“ he gestured with his hands, searching for words to explain.
“Fire and ice? Peanut butter and—halibut?” she said, offering her suggestions with a smile.
He rolled his eyes. “I never did like that comparison… but, yeah. At the same time though—“ he turned her slightly in his arms to face him, brushing aside a lock of hair to look into her eyes. “There was something about you that always made sense to me. You could cut me down with a look, and then build me back up with a smile. You—took my breath away.”
She looked at him a long moment, taking in that compliment. “You know, I could say the same thing about you, Clark. There were times when you drove me nuts—yet I always knew I could count on you. I always—I guess we always understood each other, somehow.”
She settled back on his chest, and Clark gently stroked her arm as they were each lost in their thoughts.
“Smallville?” she asked in the semi-darkness, her voice sounding small and fragile.
“Hmm?” he answered lazily, tired, yet content to talk as long as she wanted to talk.
“When did you know? I mean, that I---that you---“ she began, but couldn’t seem to get the words out.
“When you disappeared,” he sighed heavily, remembering those dark days. “You know the saying you don’t miss something till it’s gone? Well, it’s true,” he said, mildly rueful. “I foolishly didn’t realize what I felt for you until I thought I’d never see you again,” he squeezed her gently to him, kissing her hair. “When I thought I’d lost you—I—became lost myself. That’s how I knew.”
“Clark? If I hadn’t found the Fortress, if I hadn’t met Jor-El---“ she started, still a bit hesitant.
“I was going to tell you, Lois,” he reassured her. “I’ve wanted to for a long time, but it always seemed to go wrong.”
She seemed to breathe easier and settled back onto his chest.
“Before you knew I was the Blur, did you—I mean—“
This time she interrupted him, reassured him. “I did, Smallville. I had feelings for you long before I knew you were the Blur, though I didn’t acknowledge them to myself until—“ she stopped, uncertain.
“Until when?” he prodded.
She covered her face with her hands, remembering the humiliation of the night of Chloe’s wedding. “I’d rather not say…”
“When, Lois? You can tell me.”
She peeked through her fingers then brought her hands down, rolling over with a groan until she ended up half laying on his chest, and half on the sofa, but facing him. “I really don’t want to bring her name up…”
“Lana,” he answered with a resigned sigh, as he at last understood.
“Yup,” she answered succinctly, glad she didn’t have to say it.
He looked at her tenderly, “Lois, my love for you is so much more than I ever had for Lana. There was always a game between us, half-truths.” He shook his head, trying to make her understand. “When I said I was lost when you disappeared, I never had that feeling when Lana went away. When she was in my life, I always ended up off course, uncertain. But with you---it’s completely different. I depend on you to understand parts of myself that I don’t always see… That was one thing that impressed me about you when I talked to you as the Blur… you could always see straight through me, even when you didn’t know who you were looking at. Lois, you always knew me… Whether as Clark or as the Blur, you could always see what was wrong, and bring out what was best in me. Lois with you I’m-- stronger than I am alone. ”
“Smallville,” she said, her voice caught in her throat.
“I’ll always be there for you. I lo—“
He pulled her up to him, stopping her, until they were face to face. “Let me say it first,” he whispered tenderly, kissing her cheek.
She nodded, giving him a little smile.
“I love you, Lois Lane.”
“I love you, Clark Kent,” she breathed, stretching up the last few inches to reach his mouth for a kiss. “I always will,” she whispered against his lips.
He pulled her closer to him, seeing the early morning rays of the sun start to stretch across the living room, replacing the soft glow of the dying fire.
“I’ll always be there for you, Lois. Always.”
After Oliver’s close call, Chloe spent the next day researching what she could about the VRA, and she was not happy with what she found. A bill was being passed in Congress to require all ‘vigilantes’—a pejorative term that made Chloe’s skin prickle in fear—to register with the US government. After hearing Ollie’s tales of being beaten and questioned, she had no doubt that the VRA would allow the US military to do whatever they wanted with the heroes, up to and including throwing them into a Gitmo wannabe, if the heroes didn’t do as Uncle Sam asked.
Something had to be done to stop the VRA from being passed.
Chloe believed there was support for the heroes out there, but she just wasn’t sure how to get people involved in showing it.
Chloe glanced up from the computer when she heard the door to Watchtower open. “Hey,” she said, not bothering to hide the contented grin on her face as Oliver came over to greet her. “I missed you this morning,” she said as he leaned in to kiss her hello, though she looked at him slightly askance in his toned down crime-fighter hoodie. “I hope you were careful.”
He grinned back. “No one knew Green Arrow was up and about this morning, don’t worry. But, you should know that there is a pro-hero rally scheduled today… “ He said, taking off his hoodie to sling it over a chair as he settled into a seat next to her.
“Word is getting spread about the VRA, and it seems the public is on our side, for once.”
“Well, that’s all well and good, but what do we do if the VRA becomes law?”
Oliver ran his fingers through his hair and shook his head, looking a little tired when Chloe looked closely, still recovering from his own brush with the supporters of the VRA. “I don’t know. But, no matter what, I know that the Team will not stop fighting to save people. We’ll find a way to fight back.”
Martha woke up in a cold sweat, her heart racing. She saw her son, plummeting to his death, but she couldn’t save him, couldn’t reach him… She sat up in bed, wiping tears from her face as she reached for the light next to her bed, to try to banish the shadows the dream had conjured. She didn’t understand it, but the thought of Clark dying terrified her, more than the thought of him disappearing with the Kandorians… But wasn’t he already gone?
She didn’t know. She felt herself shaking as she got out of bed and reached for her wrapper. It was just after eight in the morning, and she had to be on the Hill by ten. But she also had to know what had happened to him… was her son already gone to some distant planet where she’d never see him again—or worse? Had Zod killed Clark?
Her hands trembling, she called the farmhouse, not knowing if anyone would answer. But if Clark were alive---
“Hello?” a sleepy voice answered.
“Lois?” Martha asked in some surprise, momentarily coming out of her fearful stupor.
“Mrs. Kent?” Lois returned, sounding a bit more awake.
Martha breathed in, trying to calm herself so she wouldn’t alarm Lois. “Have you—have you seen Clark?” she asked, forcing cheeriness into her tone.
“Yeah, he’s sleeping on the couch,” Lois said, and Martha could hear the affection in her tone. “—but if it’s important, Mrs. K—“
“No,” Martha interrupted, trying to stem the tears of relief. “Just… just tell him I love him.”
“Is everything okay, Mrs. K?”
Tears were streaming freely, and Martha struggled to gain control of her voice. “Everything is fine, Lois. Just—have him call me when he gets up.”
“I will… and, Mrs. K?”
“Take care, okay?”
“I will, honey. You too.”
“I will. Bye.”
Martha hung up the phone, and let herself fall onto her bed. Clark was alive. She didn’t care how, but that fact alone was enough.
Now, as relief flooded her, she could face the day.
As long as Clark was still in the world, there was still hope.
Lois made some coffee and settled back on the sofa, careful not to disturb Clark who was still sleeping. As she sipped her coffee, she couldn’t seem to wipe the smile from her face. He loved her—and she loved him. Could the world be any more perfect?
She shook her head, as much at her incredulity of her own sentimentality as to try and focus on other things. They had to get to work soon, and it would help to know what’s been going on in the world over the last twelve hours.
Lois turned on the television, quickly pushing the mute button to allow Clark to sleep in peace. She turned to the morning news, hoping to see something she could chase down for the print press…
What she saw, though, was disturbing. An anti-hero protest was in its early throes preempting a pro-hero rally scheduled for later in the day. Lois was dismayed to see none other than Ray Sachs, a corrupt DA who has been on her radar for a while, sponsoring it. If he was supporting the VRA, then she had more reason than ever to go after him.
She read the scroll at the bottom of the screen: “Sachs supports VRA movement… ‘Blur is a menace that must be taken down… ‘ VRA passed Congress, has gone to a state referendum…”
“Oh hell no…” Lois said angrily, suddenly wanting to get to the Planet and see what could be done to stop this.
“What is it?” came a groggy voice from the sofa.
Lois leaned over and touched his arm. “Sorry,” she smiled apologetically. “Didn’t mean to wake you.”
He grinned up at her, and she couldn’t help but lean down and give him a quick kiss. Then she pulled back, slightly embarrassed, as she wasn’t sure that’s what he was expecting.
“Sorry—I—“ she floundered.
He simply reached for her, his eyes tenderly searching hers. “Lois, it’s okay. It’s better than ok… I—I can’t think of anything better to wake up to than a kiss from you.”
To prove it, he pulled her down beside him and showed her what a proper morning kiss should be like. When she could surface for air, Lois was all smiles. “Well… I could certainly get used to that.”
He smiled back at her and then glanced at the television, his brow knotting up in concern. “That doesn’t look good…”
Lois unmuted the TV and sat back down next to Clark.
”Mr. Sachs is coming to City Hall at noon today to give a press conference on why Kansas must pass the VRA referendum. These protestors behind me are expressing their concern that if the referendum is not passed, our city streets may no longer be safe. Reporting live…
Lois shook her head and glanced at Clark, immediately disheartened by the distressed look on his face.
“What am I going to do?” he asked despondently. “There are so many hero haters out there---“
“Clark, stop,” she said, taking her hand in his. “This is just trumped up BS that we can fight. If Sachs is supporting it, then you know it can’t be good. Let’s get down to the Planet and see what we can find out. There has to be a way to stop it from being passed.”
Clark sighed, pulling Lois to him. “I’m glad you know my secret, Lois. It feels good to have you on my side.”
She smiled sweetly at him, “Clark, I’ve always been on your side. Even before I knew you were the Blur.” She stood up and turned to face him, her hands on her hips, all business. “But we have some serious butt to kick today, so as much as I’d love to laze on this sofa with you all day, we need to whoosh off to work.”
At the Planet, Lois was even more disheartened by the Planet’s morning edition. Tess evidently let go to press a few op-eds that decried the heroes, and threw their support towards passing the VRA.
“Where does she get off—“ Lois grumbled, making her way to Tess’ office, the paper in hand.
Lois slapped the edition on Tess’ desk, forcing her attention from her computer screen. “Well, hello to you, too, Lois,” she said dryly, then plastered on a fake smile. “How can I help you?”
“Why did you approve these hero-hating articles?” Lois asked, knowing that Tess knew Clark was the Blur just made her even more outraged that she would do this.
For the first time since Lois has known her, Tess looked taken aback. “I didn’t approve these…” she said, picking up the paper.
“Then who did?” Lois demanded.
“I don’t know… I’ll have to get to the bottom of this… “ Tess reached for her phone. “Write up a counter-piece. If you can get it to me by noon, I’ll have it in the afternoon edition.”
Lois looked back at Tess in surprise. “Really?” she asked, the angry wind taken out of her sails.
“I know we need the heroes, Lois. The VRA can’t pass.”
Clark: ...You know, there are times when I think you don't know me at all, and others where I think you know me better than anyone.
Lois: That's what I'm here for, Smallville – one save at a time.