Here's the end! Finally! Sorry it took so long... epilogue is coming soon!

~~~~
Lois went back to her desk and immediately got to work. Clark was nowhere to be seen, but she bet he was working on a way to diffuse the hero-hatred the media was stirring up.

She read through her piece again, thinking it hit all the right tones, and definitely highlighted how much the Blur has helped the city, but she thought she could do more.

Lois glanced up from her computer, surprised and relieved to see her cousin heading towards her desk.

“Chloe!” she cried, jumping out of her chair to hug her cousin. “I’m glad you’re okay.”

Chloe laughed nervously, “It’s, um, good to see you too, Lois.”

Lois stepped back and smiled at her cousin, wishing they could talk privately. She had so much to tell her…

“Look, I stopped by to um, well—I need to look at some files – just a pet project,” Chloe shrugged.

Lois eyed her cousin, knowing she was hiding something.
Probably the thing she’s been hiding for years. The secret she didn’t need to hide anymore.

Chloe glanced around, seeming to find Lois’ scrutiny a bit uncomfortable. “Is there something up, Lo?” she asked.

Lois thought a moment, knowing the daunting task ahead of her and Clark with stopping the VRA. It would help if Chloe knew she knew the truth – maybe they could problem solve together.

“Follow me,” Lois said, leading the way to the storage room.
Chloe trailed behind her. They stepped inside, and Lois closed the blinds and locked the door.

“You and I need to talk,” Lois said with a heavy sigh.

“Lo, what is it?”

“Chloe, how long have we been friends? Our whole lives? From the first time we went on summer vacation together? From the day you confessed you broke my walkman?” Lois walked over to Chloe, her eyes meeting her best friend’s. “From that day in high school when you told me you met a really cute guy – a guy who has changed both our lives, in many ways…”

“Clark?” Chloe asked slowly.

Lois nodded. “Chloe. I know about Clark. I know his secret –“

“Lois what are you---“

Lois shook her head, her eyes serious. “There’s no need to pretend, Chlo. Clark told me everything… I know he rescued you and Ollie the other night—in fact, I pretty much sent him to do just that.”

“How did—“

“It doesn’t matter. What matters, is I need my cousin. Clark has a huge task ahead of him to face down this VRA… and it doesn’t help that Ray Sachs is playing the hero –he’ll have people voting against their own interests if we don’t do something to stop him… Somehow, we need to get the Blur’s message out to the masses…”

Lois walked over to a pile of dusty boxes, thinking.

“You sure are taking this all in stride… how long have you known, Lois?”

“Hmm?” Lois glanced up from a dusty box she had picked up, then smiled at Chloe. “A reporter never divulges her secrets.”

“Lois,” Chloe chided.

After a beat, Lois capitulated--- a little. “I have known for a while… but Clark told me the truth himself,” she emphasized.
“And honestly, it only makes me love him more… Ah, here’s something,” she said, bringing a box over to Chloe.

“Wow, Perry White… “ Lois said reverently, taking out some of his old photos and articles, brushing away the dust. “He’s a real journalist – goes out there and gets the story, brings truth to the people.”

“You are too, Lois.”

Lois smiled. “You know, with my PR skills and your, uh, computer skills---just had an idea.”

Chloe perked up, interested. “Yeah?”

“Do you think you could hack into a few media news outlets?”

Chloe nodded, a smile forming on her lips. “Maybe. How many you thinking?”

Lois grinned, “All of them.”

~\S/~

Lois left Chloe a little while later to work on their pet project to get the message of the Blur out to the masses. She wanted to be at Sachs’ press conference, to run interference, if need be – or to at least know exactly what was said so she could write up a story to argue against it.

Down at City Hall, a large group had shown up to hear the D. A. speak. As Lois predicted, much of Sachs’ speech was overblown rhetoric about how the city’s law enforcement couldn’t protect people with vigilantes running around town. People seemed to be buying into it, and almost before she knew what she was doing, Lois was heading up to the podium

She swept past security and pushed aside Ray Sachs. “Move it or lose it, buddy,” she murmured angrily, positioning herself before the microphone.

Lois stood at the podium a moment, looking into the expectant faces of the crowd. She hadn’t meant to be the spokesperson for Clark, but the Blur was losing support, thanks to the hogwash Sachs was spouting. Lois simply couldn’t sit idly by and do nothing.

She took a deep breath, and began speaking from her heart. “I'm Lois Lane from the Daily Planet and I'm here to tell you --that I know the Blur. The D.A. says that a true hero would come forward. Well, the Blur can't,” she said breathless, imagining what would happen if Clark revealed himself to the world as he was. “It's because he knows the best way for him to protect you and me is to steer clear of all this political hoopla, and remain the one thing that you and I need most-- a light in the darkness, a symbol for us to believe in when all other hope is lost,” she said, seeing the crowd begin to listen to her intently. She realized she had the people’s full attention now, and she hoped she could do some good with that power. She thought of Superman, of the strength in Clark; she wanted to impart what she knew was good about him, what made him special – why she loved him. “I've looked into the Blur's heart and I can tell you that his intentions are good. Let the Blur be the hero he needs to be."

To Lois’ surprise, the crowd erupted into applause. She smiled, her eyes unexpectedly catching Clark’s among the milieu. He seemed touched by her speech, and she felt comforted that she had done the right thing in speaking out.

Lois felt a tug on her arm. It was security telling her she needed either to leave or be arrested. Lois shook off the grip and headed towards the steps of the makeshift stage. “Have a nice day, Sachs,” she said tartly. “Your days are numbered.”

Lois didn’t head over to Clark, afraid she’d draw attention to him. The last thing she wanted anyone to think was that Clark had anything to do with the Blur. She simply smiled at him, and nodded towards the Planet building a few blocks away. He nodded back and she knew he got the message; they’d talk about things later.

~\S/~

After circumventing the crowd, Lois pulled out the hastily written instructions Chloe had given her. It was to lead her to a place Chloe had called Watchtower, mission control for the heroes. Lois felt a little nervous about encroaching on Clark’s territory without him being aware, but Chloe and she agreed that it was best if their media blitz was carried out in secret, where Chloe could out maneuver anyone who wanted to trace their activities.

Lois soon found the address, looking up at the building a little in awe. This tower had always seemed like a beacon in the city, casting a colorful kaleidoscope on nearby buildings in the late afternoon on clear days. She had always admired it.

The first door she encountered was pretty low-tech and not very impressive. There was no button to ring the top floor, so Lois called Chloe on her cell. Without even answering it, Lois was buzzed in.

She entered the building, which housed a few nondescript apartments and doctors’ offices. Lois headed for the service elevator, going to its top floor, which wasn’t the top floor, but the limit of access to the workers and residents in the building.

Lois took out the paper again, consulting the hand drawn map.
Chloe had given her one key, to use on room 501. She found the room, and opened it, surprised to see only a small lobby with another elevator. The room was dark, lit with just a few track lights. She shut and locked the door, then pressed the elevator call button.

“Hi, Lois,” came Chloe’s voice from somewhere above her. “ Just step in the elevator. It will scan you, but don’t worry. Just stay still.”

Lois shook her head, impressed already with Chloe’s hideout, as she stepped into the elevator as Chloe had instructed. “Fort Abram’s has nothing on this place,” she murmured.

“Welcome to Watchtower,” said an automated female voice.

“Feels like I just stepped into the twilight zone.”

A few moments later, the scanning and the elevator stopped and Lois stepped off. Two beautifully painted stain-glass doors were in front of her, seemingly out of conjunction with the high-tech elevator ride she just had.

“Chloe?” Lois called a little uncertainly.

The doors opened, and Chloe’s smile met Lois. “I’ve been busy. Come in and I’ll show you.”

Lois looked around, impressed. Suddenly, though, a flash of memory hit her. When she had been in that future apocalyptical world, she had seen this place.

“Lois, are you all right?”

Lois shook her head, as if to shake loose the memory. “Yeah, fine. Just a bit of déjà vu… I—have been here before-- in the future.”

Chloe looked at her with even more concern. “What did you see in the future, Lois?”

Lois glanced at her cousin, surprised that she appeared to have already known about her misadventures with the ring. But then she nodded to herself and murmured, “I suppose Clark told you?”
“Yeah… I’m sorry, Lois. For all the secrets---“

Lois gave Chloe a bittersweet smile. “I understand now, Chloe. It’s ok… and as for the future,” she sighed, walking towards Chloe’s computer console. “Well, I don’t think we need to worry about it now that Zod is out of the picture.”

Lois took in all of the work Chloe had been doing. Twenty different news sites now carried an anonymous op-ed article written by Lois; many of them had hundreds of comments already.

“And,” Chloe began with some pride in her voice. “I got the website up and running. The Beacon of Hope is the first search result people will see when looking up the VRA. There are already thousands of videos uploaded in support of the Blur… Hundreds are being uploaded every hour, and it’s only been up for about four hours!”

“Chloe, this is amazing! This has to go in our favor… I hope Clark—“

“Hope Clark what?” came a familiar voice, following a swoosh of air.

Lois turned to him, her heart caught in her throat to see him dressed as the Blur. She took in his t-shirt, with his family crest, and the black jacket, still thrilling at the idea of knowing who he really is.

“I—I hope you don’t mind me intruding on the club house, but Chloe and I—“

“We’ve been working on a little project to garner support for the heroes,” Chloe chimed in excitedly, bringing up Lois’ article on the computer screen.

Lois watched Clark carefully as he read through her article and some of the comments. He turned to smile at her, clearly touched. “But will all these people be at the polls tomorrow? And will it be enough?” he asked, thoughtfully.

“How about this?” Chloe asked, bringing up the videos the Beacon of Hope website had collected. “These, are just for you.”

Clark watched and listened, humbled and in awe of the many people speaking out in support of him, thanking him for his diligence in keeping the city safe.

“I can’t believe there are so many people willing to speak out for me,” he said, clearly touched.

Lois stepped up to him, touching his arm. “You’re a real American hero, Clark.”

~\S/~

Clark couldn’t believe the efforts Lois and Chloe had made to help get the VRA overturned. He hoped it would be enough…

The truth, was that he was tired of hiding in the shadows. He knew that he couldn’t always be the Blur… and he wondered, not for the first time what Lois had really seen in the future. Who would he become and what would that persona do to the life of Clark Kent?

Worried about the future, Clark left the girls to continue their cyber war on the media. He needed to clear his head, and think…

Clark took off into the skies, relishing the cool wind blowing through his hair, his coat whipping around his legs.

Clark drifted in the air, heading towards the farm, a place that called to him whenever he needed to find certainty. As he floated over the golden grasses of Kansas, the afternoon sun warmed his back. He flipped over, embracing the sun on his face, his chest. The light called to him, and he suddenly felt the incongruence of his dark attire. Clark knew he wasn’t meant to lurk in the shadows; he had been forced to do it out of necessity. In his deepest heart, he wondered if voting down the VRA would allow him one day to show the world his true self – though he knew he didn’t want to do it as some dark coated vigilante. He knew that he would have to represent something stronger, purer, and more positive.

As Clark neared the farmhouse, he was surprised to see his mother’s car in the driveway. He hadn’t seen her since she had given him the Book of Rao.

Clark swooped onto the porch and stepped inside. “Mom?” he called.

“Clark!” she answered, stepping in from the living room to embrace him. “I was so worried about you! I had these terrible nightmares—“ she began, fiercely embracing her son.
“It’s okay, Mom. Everything is fine.”

She looked up at him. “I hope so – and I’ve been working overtime to speak out about the VRA. The vote is tomorrow, and I hope enough people show up at the polls…”

“So do I,” Clark sighed heavily. He glanced at the sofa, seeing what looked like a jumpsuit and his mother’s sewing kit laid out. “What’s this, Mom?” he asked, picking up the blue suit.

His mother almost looked embarrassed as she began to gather up her sewing materials. “I have just been thinking, Clark – you can’t be the hidden Blur forever… If the VRA gets repealed---“ She took the suit from his hands and held it up to him. “I just thought you could use a change of uniform. I was just putting on the finishing touches.”

“Mom, I don’t know… I mean—a spandex suit?” he asked skeptically.

“Well, it’s in your favorite colors… and Clark, you are a symbol to Metropolis—and more and more to this country and the world! – of hope. It’s important that someday you are able to show the world who you really are.”

“And how would I be able to live a normal life? Won’t people recognize me?”

“Well, Lois and I have been working—“

“Lois is in on this too?”

Martha smiled, “She loves you, Clark. She told me about her idea that you could wear glasses, sort of like a disguise---“ she said, pulling out a sample pair.

Clark took them in hand, thinking. “Lois has seen the future, Mom. I wonder… how much she knows about what I will become.”

“And do you trust what she has seen? Do you trust Lois?”

Clark didn’t hesitate. “With my whole heart—Mom,” he said, suddenly full of excitement. “I can fly.”

“What? Clark! That’s—wonderful!”

Clark grinned. “Lois – well, she made it possible… she’s even seen me fly in the future… “ His voice trailed off and he glanced again at the spandex suit. His face suddenly lit up in a grin and he put on the thick, black framed glasses, smiling at his mother. “So, how does your mild-mannered reporter look now?”

~\S/~

The next day, everyone gathered at the Kent farm to watch the results of their efforts. Exhausted from passing out leaflets, and staying up late to monitor the media and intervene through creative hacking when necessary, Lois and Chloe sat on the sofa clutching mugs of coffee as they waited for the results.

“We did the best we could, Lois… now it’s in the hands of the voters.”

Their media blitz had worked better than expected. Since the night before, all the news outlets had been talking about their Beacon of Hope website, and everyone was speculating about who had written the anonymous piece that was floating around the internet in support of the heroes.

Lois glanced over at Clark, and he gave her a reassuring smile. She smiled back, but let out a small sigh, revealing some of her worry. “I just hope it was enough,” she murmured into her cup. In her heart, she believed it had to be enough – she couldn’t see how there could be a future with Superman if the VRA was still in effect. And that thought frightened her most of all – Clark had seemed so secure, so sure of himself in that future persona, and she would hate for the politicians to take the opportunity to become the world’s hero away from him.

“It’s on!” Chloe called into the kitchen, bringing Martha in and Clark’s attention to the television.

Lois reached for the remote to turn up the sound.

”This historic vote is of course, the first of its kind, with an unprecedented number of people going to the polls… And I’ve just been told, with all fifty states reporting in, that we can announce that the measure to repeal the VRA… has passed.”

Chloe and Lois jumped to their feet, nearly splashing each other with their coffee as they squealed with happiness and hugged each other.

Lois turned to Clark, beaming up at him, and he looked down at her, awe and love written on his face.

“Thank you,” Clark said sincerely, pulling her to him for a hug.

“You should thank your mom and Perry. They were my inspiration,” Lois said, her eyes lit up with delight.

“But it’s you who believed in me… Lois,” he said, taking her off to the side, away from Martha and Chloe who were still watching the results on the television. “What did you see—I mean, in the future. Who was I?”

She cupped his cheek, her eyes meeting his, seeing his fears and wanting to soothe them. “Clark, you don’t need to worry about the future. Now that the VRA has been repealed, you can still be the Blur… and when you’re ready—“

“You saw the suit my mom made?” he interrupted nervously.

She grinned. “It’s exactly like I saw in the future, Clark. I know the time is coming… but it should be when you are ready.”

He sighed, “Some days I wonder if I ever will be – but, Lois, when we—flew together that first time, there was something so—right about it. To be out in the open is who I’m meant to be, but I don’t want to lose Clark Kent in the process.”

“Clark, it’s not the suit that determines who you are, it’s your character. It’s who your parents raised you to be – the guy I fell in love with,” she said, reaching to kiss his cheek. “And will always love. I think the suit will simply become a symbol, one of hope to the world. But you—your strength, integrity, and goodness—that’s who you are.”

Clark looked in Lois’ eyes, his fingers feather-light on her jaw as his thumb gently stroked her chin. “Lois, I can’t believe I ever doubted telling you the truth about me… I’m sorry for all those times I—“

“Hush, Smallville,” she said quietly, her hands reaching around his neck to pull him closer. She refused to let him beat himself up.

“Lois, what you said today at the press conference—it was amazing—“

“Shh…”

His mouth gaped open, as hers suddenly mesmerized him.

“I don’t know how I deserve—“

“Kiss me, Smallville. And all is forgiven.”

~\S/~

Lois was practically singing when she entered the Planet the next morning. The VRA had been overturned, and she was ready to get to work on her next great story.

On her desk, she was pleasantly surprised to find a single rose with a simple note: “Meet me on the roof.”

Was Clark playing the romantic? Lois took the rose, inhaling its sweet fragrance and trying desperately to hold in her gleeful excitement.

As she made her way to the roof of the Planet, the rose still clutched in her hand, she thought of that exciting moment in the future when she had taken off in flight in Superman’s arms from the roof… what could Clark be planning?

Her illusions of a romantic rendezvous were smashed as she stepped onto the roof. Ray Sachs was there to greet her, looking smug. The rose suddenly fell from her hand. Lois realized she had been tricked.

Sachs swaggered over to her, his eyes dark with loathing as he spoke. “When you said you had looked into the Blur's heart, I had no idea how close a relationship you had.”

“Not that it’s any of your business.”

He edged closer to her, and Lois suddenly felt trapped. She didn’t want Sachs to think he had anything up on her, and if she turned and fled it would mean she had something to hide. Yet, she was nervous about the dangerous glimmer of triumph in his eye.

Sachs sneered. “The safety of the city is always my business, Miss Lane. And now that the VRA has been repealed, I may have to use—other methods to learn the truth about our vigilante menaces. So, tell me the true identity of the Blur, and I will overlook your antics.”

Lois decided to gloat instead of flee; if she could intimidate him with what she knew, just maybe she could convince him to drop chasing down the Blur. "You talk a good game, counselor," she said, blustering more confidence than she felt. "But you don't believe a word of it. All your shady backroom deals with organized crime have just come home to roost. I've picked out a nice little font for my exposé: 'Shady Sachs Sucks the City Dry'."

He laughed, the smug grin still on his face. “I have another story in mind, Miss Lane. And you’re standing right on it,” he said, his voice dripping with sinister overtones.

Lois looked down, and saw the Blur’s emblem painted on the ground. She felt her blood run cold, understanding his implication immediately.

“’The Blur Murders Lois Lane,’” he snickered. “Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?”

“No one would believe you,” she said a little weakly, her eyes riveted on the symbol, imaging how such a thing would devastate Clark if Sachs could get away with it.

Sachs crossed his arms and shook his head, enjoying intimidating Lois. “Honey, when the Blur decided not to come forward, he put the ball back in my court. The VRA was just the easy way – there are more than one ways to catch a fish. All it takes is a little doubt.”

Lois glanced up at Sachs, feeling her courage come back. “You don’t give people enough credit. Why would the Blur suddenly turn into a murderer?” she snapped.

Sachs, enjoying his cat and mouse game, chuckled as he shook his head at Lois’ naiveté. “You announced to millions that you knew his true identity.”

Sachs was too confident by half, and Lois suddenly feared that maybe he had more cards hiding up his sleeve that she didn’t know about. She quickly turned to bolt for the door, and his hand was revealed as she was stopped by two goons, who grabbed her on either side.

“You’re the one who’s hiding in the shadows, not the Blur. You coward!” she called, struggling to get free of Sachs’ goons.

Sachs, as arrogant as ever, shook his head disdainfully, obviously enjoying her struggle. “Unfortunately, that’s not a story you’re going to get to write.”

He nodded towards his hired help, and the lackeys easily chucked her over the side of the building.

Lois felt her stomach lurch under her, and she flailed to reach for anything to grab a hold on. Amazingly, her grip found a flagpole, though just barely. She reached up with her other hand, and kicked her legs to try and gain some leverage with the wall to climb up. Lois happened to glance down, and could see a crowd of people were gathering to see what was going on.

She thought for one hopeless moment that she would slip and plummet to her death… that she would never see Clark again or see him become the hero that she knew he would be someday. She thought about the future, and how it had already been changed by stopping Zod. Maybe this is where Lois Lane should end… maybe Clark didn’t need her to become Superman…

Her grip started to slip and worse, she could hear the creaking of the pole, indicating that it wouldn’t hold her weight for much longer.

“Where are you, Clark?” she whispered forlornly.

“Right here,” he said, his voice close and comforting. Lois suddenly felt herself slip away from the flagpole, only to be wrapped in Clark’s arms.

“Sssuu--?” she began, surprised to see him in the suit. “What are you doing? It’s too soon –“

“I’m ready to embrace the light, Lois. The world needs a hero, and if I can be that hero –“

“Clark, you can’t take me down there. There are cameras, and they will see you. They might [i]recognize[i/] you. We need time to create distance between Clark Kent and—“ she splayed her hands over the ‘S’ on his uniform. “Superman,” she whispered.

“Superman? Really?” he asked in surprise.

She shrugged. “Your future self seemed pretty content with the name…”

Clark looked down at the crowd below them, the Wonder Twins had a fog over the area; no one could see what was going on above.
“Tell you what?” he said, taking her back to the roof. “I’ll give you the exclusive interview and let you introduce –Superman—to the world. They don’t need to see my face yet, but they do need to know I’m here and that I mean well.”

He set her down on the roof, and she took in the sight of him in all his splendor. Here he was, Superman, just like she had seen in the future, in his blue spandex suit and scarlet cape, swishing in the wind.

Lois took in a deep breath, and nodded, seeming to steady herself. “I’m ready if you are.”

“I can’t do it alone, Lois, but I think it’s time the world meets—Superman,” he said. “I’ll meet you in the bull pen in a few minutes… I want to take care of Sachs and his goons first---“

“Clark!” she called, but he was already off. Lois ran to the edge of the building that she had been dangling from mere moments ago. She could see his red and blue streak over the spectators. The fog was dissipating, but she could still see a tight red and blue blur near what had to be Sachs' limo—Superman was taking care of business.
Lois watched in delight. Even from the roof of the Planet she could see the crowd had noticed the red and blue hero. Clark didn’t stop long enough for anyone to get a good look at him. But people definitely noticed.

It wouldn’t be long now before Clark could be seen as Superman… he was ready to fully embrace his destiny, to become that amazing man she had met in the future.

Lois couldn’t wipe the smile off her face as she made her way back to the bull pen, ready to write her first Superman story…


Edited by mozartmaid (11/09/11 06:14 PM)
Edit Reason: fix italics
_________________________
Smallville:
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.