Lois (kalalanekent) wrote,

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Posting Act Five: 'Home', Chapter Fifty-Three

Okay, Clois fans, it's finally here. The last Act in Little Secrets, entitled Home. This is what all of you have been waiting for. 

And now, may I present, at long last...

When you come back down,
If you land on your feet
I hope you find a way
To make it back to me…
~Lifehouse, Come Back Down
Kitty forced herself to keep her breathing even. Lex hadn’t let her out of his sight during the brief refuel in Charleston, and it had looked as though she wouldn’t have a chance to escape. But luck was on her side; a couple of warning lights came on as they flew over Texas, and Stanford had been forced to take the helicopter down. The rotor swash plate had come slightly loose, probably during the erratic flying they’d done evading Lois Lane’ crazy fiancé.
The repair would take most of a day. They’d had to take a hotel room within the airport and just off the concourse, quickly learned that Lex had hit the top of the most-wanted list. That forced him to stay out of sight while he waited for the ‘copter to be repaired. Lex was furious, muttering and pacing around the suite that had been checked into by Mr. and Mrs. Menahem Globus. After that worrisome moment at the desk, both she and Stanford absolutely terrified of giving themselves away, Kitty had spent the last few hours trying to keep herself and Tala out of Lex’s way, terrified that he would open the locked case and discover her treachery.
But no, the only crystal he wanted to look at was the snapped-off one in his pocket. Creepy, beyond merely obsessive, but lucky for Kitty. She didn’t want to hang around much longer, though. Luck had a bad habit of running out if you used it too long. And Kitty knew all too well that she was running on fumes.
It was getting late, and Stanford was out checking on the repair progress in the airport proper. He should’ve been back an hour ago, and Lex wasn’t pleased with the delay. Kitty was getting progressively more and more nervous when Lex finally turned to her and snapped, “Kathryn, go see what’s taking Stanford so long.”
“Sure, Lex,” she squeaked. Didn’t have to fake a drop of that anxiety. She snatched her purse up and hurried out of their suite without another word, barely hearing Lex snarl at her to be careful.
Her heart was racing as she got into the elevator. This is my only chance, she thought. He only let me go because he’s too pissed at Stanford to think things through. Lex has never been good at seat-of-the-pants plans. If he can’t plot all the way through something, he gets cranky and impatient. And he makes mistakes. Like thinking that just because he didn’t see me pick up Tala, that he still has my dog as a hostage. Kitty patted her purse, hearing a low, angry growl from inside it. “Poor baby,” she whispered. “It’s gonna be okay. Just you wait and see.”
The sun was setting, slanting through the gap in the curtains and striking Lois’ face. She groaned as sat up, her mind still fuzzy, and raked her fingers through her hair. My God, I slept like a rock. I guess I really did need the nap. Not that I’ll admit it to anyone…
She still felt tired, but what she wanted most of all was news about Kal-El. Neither the house phone nor her cell had any messages, so he was still in S.T.A.R. Labs. “Damn,” Lois muttered. Anxiety twisted in her stomach; should she call a cab and ride back to the hospital? Sawyer wanted her to get a full night’s rest, not just a few hours.
The worry coupled with exhaustion woke an old craving in Lois, one she hadn’t indulged for months. At the moment, it sounded like a good idea, so she put on one of her warmer nightgowns and a robe, and walked barefoot out onto the dock.
Lois let the lapping water and the view of the river calm her, releasing a heavy sigh. She’d seen the patrol car parked out front through the window, and felt reasonably safe here. Lois was just absolutely wrung out by everything that had happened over the past few days. Jason and Kala had been kidnapped, her own life had been threatened, and now Kal-El was in a coma. Not to mention, she and Richard had unofficially ended their relationship of the past three years … and she had no idea where he and the twins were at the moment.
The rest of the world can take care of itself for a little while, she told herself, taking the pack of cigarettes out of her pocket. They were probably stale, but Lois didn’t care. I just need this, I need a chance to relax and think.
Even though she told herself for the millionth time that she had mostly quit for the past six-and-a-half years, her hands remembered all of the old routines without the slightest hesitation, Lois’ eyes never leaving the sky. Tap the pack, shake a cigarette out, slip it between her lips, flick the lighter…
Staring at the flame, Lois hesitated. She waited a moment, then a moment longer, and then flicked the lighter off with a short chuckle. Idiot. Hoping he’ll turn up to tell me not to smoke. Hoping this would bring him back, if nothing else did. Good Lord. She brought the lighter close to the tip of the cigarette again, paused again, and gave up with a sigh. “Forget it,” Lois muttered. “I don’t need a smoke anyway.”
Just as she dropped the pack of cigarettes and the lighter back into her pocket with a disgust sigh, Lois felt a sudden breeze stir her hair. It might be starting to get cold out, but it wasn’t this windy a minute ago. Maybe the storm front moving through? Or it could be part of–  She had only a second to turn around as the wind increased quite suddenly before she was swept off her feet and into the twilit sky…
Richard rubbed his eyes, fighting against the yawns that wanted to overwhelm him. He’d heard from Lieutenant Sawyer a couple of hours ago, letting him know that Lois was home. He’d tried calling the house, but no one answered; Lois was probably asleep. She had police protection, so Richard decided to let her sleep and left no message on the answering machine.
The twins were still snoozing as well. They’d woken up briefly when Ella left, hugging their grandmother before she went to Lucy’s house to break the news. But the events of the past several days had left them both perfectly content to sleep on the couch in Lois’ office.
His cell phone rang, and he answered it automatically. “Richard White,” he said into the receiver, his voice betraying his weariness.
“Richard!” It was Lana, breathless and excited. “Richard, he’s awake! We just saw him fly out of S.T.A.R. Labs!”
Suddenly, exhaustion didn’t matter. “He’s all right?”
Clear, delighted laughter met the question. “If you call flying at about the speed of sound all right. Richard, I think everything’s going to be okay.”
“Thank God,” he replied, sighing as the anxiety left him. It was one thing to worry over the fate of a hero, another to fear for a friend. “Lana…”
“You’d better call Lois and tell her,” Lana reminded him gently. “I’ll … I’ll see you tomorrow sometime, okay?”
“Sure,” Richard said, then dropped his voice. “Listen, I told Perry that rescue workers had found Clark, and I’d given him a few days off. So if you see him, let him know he doesn’t have to come in, okay?”
“Will do,” Lana replied. “And if you see him, let him know his mother’s in town, please. She’s staying with me at the Centennial Hotel.”
“I will,” Richard said. “I’ll pass that on to Lois, too. Thanks, Lana.”
“You’re welcome,” she said, and he heard her hesitate a moment before hanging up the phone.
Richard wasn’t entirely sure how he felt about calling Lois with this news. A part of him still wanted to be jealous, still had proprietary feelings for Lois. But most of him knew that this was how it had to be – Lois had never been his, and he deeply admired the man she truly loved. Not to mention the beautiful redhead who had just called him moments ago…
“Get over yourself,” Richard muttered, dialing Lois’ cell. The phone rang straight through to voicemail, and Richard belatedly realized that the phone had been crushed. Knowing what I know now, I’m not surprised, he thought. Next he tried the house phone, but it just rang for several minutes.
Richard replaced the receiver gently. He should’ve been worried, but somehow, he wasn’t. If he’s been awake more than a few minutes, he may have already found her. And if she’s just in the house asleep and can’t hear the ringing, well, she’s going to get one heck of a surprise.
When his eyes finally opened, Kal-El’s first and only conscious thought was, I have to find Lois. He quickly removed all of the equipment attached to him, put his suit on, and flew out of the open skylight, much to the consternation of the soldiers on the roof.
The hero was still a little out of sorts, his mind still fuzzy from his long sleep. His one overriding desire was to reach Lois; Kal-El couldn’t remember precisely what she had been saying to him, but he remembered how it had made him feel. Sorrow, regret, awe, anger, love, joy, wonder … his reactions ran the gamut of emotions. At that moment, he needed her – needed to see Lois alive and unharmed, to hold her in his arms, to be certain that the soft voice whispering in his dreams was real. So much had happened in the past few days… Why had she left him? He could remember her kissing him, telling him she loved him, and then she was gone. Had it all been a dream to comfort him while his exhausted, pain-wracked body healed?
Kal-El rose above the cloud layer, the last gleam of the sun’s rays striking him, and he closed his eyes to savor the strength flowing into him. At last… For the first time since setting foot on that damned kryptonite island, he felt whole.
Eyes still closed, Kal-El searched for the heartbeat he knew best. The steady, strong rhythm he could find no matter what background noise obscured it … zeroing in on Lois’ heart, he turned and dove back down through the clouds toward her.
She was standing on the dock, her back to him, the white satin of her robe gleaming in the gathering darkness, her raven hair rumpled by the breeze from the river. His chest tightened at the sight of her, so full of conflicting emotion that he couldn’t speak. Kal-El slowed to a safer speed and Lois turned, those hazel eyes he loved going wide with surprise. In the next instant, he had swept her into his arms and was soaring up into the night.
Lois only gasped before she flung her arms around his neck with a startled, glad cry, hugging him as hard as she could. Kal-El held her tightly, burying his face in her hair. The pair of them spiraled upward, holding on as though they would die if they let go. Lois’ breath caught, not quite a sob, and she pulled back from him slightly with tears of relief shining in her eyes.
“Lois,” Kal-El said softly, his voice hoarse, his throat tight. Lois touched his cheek in a way that made it clear that she wasn’t quite sure he was truly here, trying to smile, too emotional to speak.
At last she choked out, “I was so scared. Oh, thank God you’re all right,” and kissed him soundly. Laughing, he kissed her back, tasting the salt of her tears, and slowed his flight until they were revolving in midair. The first stars seemed to sparkle with delight at their reunion.
Running her fingers into his hair, Lois kissed him for everything that had happened all those years ago, for everything he had done in the last few days, and for the future she was still uncertain about. She tilted her head and opened her mouth to him, suddenly glad she hadn’t been smoking.
With that kiss, his arms around her waist and her lips on his, Kal-El realized that this wasn’t the aloof, conflicted woman he’d dealt with the past three months. This was his Lois, her whole heart and mind and body and soul flung into the kiss, nothing held back, nothing kept secret. Not any longer. All he could do was deepen the kiss and hold her tighter; his love for her had never changed, and now he knew that her love for him remained just as strong.
A long, long moment later, Lois drew back gasping for breath, a strange fey light in her eyes. At first she smiled to look at him, and then her brows drew together in a scowl, and Lois punched him in the chest. “Goddammit, why do you have to be such a frikkin’ hero?! Fly right the hell up to Lex and make a huge freakin’ target of yourself, you big dumb alien! God! I thought you were supposed to be the one saving me, not the other way around! Jesus, Kal-El!” She punctuated every sentence with another punch to his chest, but Lois couldn’t hide the tears in her eyes or the traitorous smile lurking on her lips. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you went into that coma just to keep me from strangling you!”
Kal-El tipped his head back and laughed the rich, deep laugh Lois had missed for years. Yup, this is my Lois, all right. “I love you, Lois,” he told her, still chuckling. “My God, how I love you.”
She grinned to hear it, but she was still trying to scold. “Why are you laughing? Huh? Only you with your warped-as-hell Kryptonian sense of humor would think this is funny! And let’s not even talk about picking up a whole motherlovin’ island made of kryptonite and pitching it out to bloody Saturn! For the love of God, Kal-El, what were you thinking?!
Still laughing, he kissed the bridge of her nose, making Lois growl at him. “I was thinking of you, beautiful,” Kal-El told her with utter sincerity. “Thinking of how I had to keep you and our twins safe. That’s why I did it, and that’s why it had to be done right then.”
Lois tried to glare irritably at him, then sighed, the anger leaving her. “Our twins. That’s going to take a long time to get used to, Kal-El.”
He smiled fondly at her. “We have the rest of our lives.”
Hazel eyes met his deep blue ones, Lois’ mouth trembling. A shudder ran through her, and her voice broke as she whispered, “You have absolutely no idea what you and the twins mean to me. What you’ve always meant.”
Kal-El just looked at her very seriously as he replied, “Actually, I think I do, now.”
“You … you remember…?”
Her exact words weren’t stored in his eidetic memory, but the sense of them was. Kal-El simply nodded, and that was when Lois started to shiver. He had only a moment to realize that this time around, she was the one who thought he’d forgotten, Lois was the one who had to confront him knowing more than she’d imagined. Then she buried her face into his shoulder and began to sob, holding on to him tightly. All Kal-El could do was hold her, stroke her hair, and whisper, “I love you, Lois, I love you. I’m here now, it’s all right…”
Maggie hadn’t been able to go home right away. A few more things needed to be dealt with around the city, which inevitably spawned a few more problems for her to solve. By the time she finally gave up, she was so weary she could barely keep her eyes open, and the sky above had turned a deep blue.
All she wanted to do was sleep … but walking up to her apartment, it looked as though she wasn’t going to be that lucky right away. Toby Raines was sitting on the threshold, her back against the front door. The doorknob was right over her head, which pretty much meant that Maggie would have to deal with her before she could get into her own home.
That didn’t mean she had to enjoy it, though. “You forget your keys again?” she asked, not bothering to hide her irritation. 
“Nope,” Toby replied. “I just didn’t want you to ignore me.”
“You’re sitting in front of the damn door, Toby, you have my freakin’ attention,” Maggie shot back. “In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m still pissed.”
“Yeah, I had guessed,” Toby said laconically. She reached under her jacket and pulled out a bottle of Glenmorangie scotch, setting it down beside her.
“Peace offering?” Maggie asked, leaning against the other side of the door and sliding down to sit on the front step. Toby just grinned as she picked up the bottle, and her eyebrows went up. “Hmm, the port-finished one. You are apologetic.”
“Cat had a different source for the story about S.T.A.R. Labs,” Toby said. “A hospital electrician who said he’d heard someone talking about it. If he talked to Cat, you know other people talked to the press, too. So you’re not personally responsible for the media circus, Mags.”
The lieutenant didn’t reply, opening the scotch and taking a deep breath of its potent fumes. “It’s almost a crime to drink this out of the bottle,” she said, setting it down again.
Grinning, Toby took it from her and knocked back a quick sip. “So arrest me,” she joked.
Maggie glared at her, taking the bottle back and raising it for a long draught. The reporter’s eyebrows rose, waiting for Maggie to splutter or cough; it was smooth scotch, but even the smoothest still had quite a kick. After a moment, Sawyer put the bottle down, letting the warmth of the liquor ease the tension of the past several days.
“While you’re communing with the scotch, I’d like to mention that I forced Mank to pass up a great photo of Lois leaving S.T.A.R. Labs,” Toby said. “Nobody else was there. I stopped him because the kids were with her, and then we got screwed out of decent shot of Lois alone. I’ll hear about this in the bullpen tomorrow.”
“Fine,” Maggie sighed. “I forgive you. This time.” Before Toby could do more than grin impishly, Maggie’s cell phone rang. She answered wearily, “Lieutenant Sawyer… He’s whatWhen? You’re serious?!”
“What?” Toby whispered. “C’mon, Mags!”
The blonde lieutenant wasn’t paying attention to her, listening to the voice on the other end of the phone with an expression of increasing wonder on her face. “Thank God,” she finally sighed. “And yes, sir, thank you for telling me. I do appreciate it.”
Well?” Toby asked impatiently.
Sawyer grinned at her as she stood up. “Move it, Raines. Let’s get inside, get a couple of glasses, and celebrate this properly.”
“Celebrate what?” Toby asked irritably, holding her hand out. Getting up in heels wasn’t exactly easy.
Maggie caught Toby’s hand and pulled her to her feet. “Superman’s awake. He took off from S.T.A.R. Labs ten minutes ago.”
The neighbors three doors down heard Toby’s whoop of delight.
Lois got herself under control, rubbing the last of the tears from her eyes. Kal-El held her patiently, still smiling that strange, luminous smile.  “And why are you grinning at me after I yelled at you and punched you – my hand still hurts, dammit – and cried all over you?” she demanded testily.
“I love you,” he said, and fresh tears blurred her vision.
“Stop it,” she muttered, trying not to sniffle as she tucked a few loose waves behind her ear. “Good God, I’m acting like some idiotic little fluff-brained romance-novel heroine.”
Kal-El kissed the bridge of her nose. “Lois. After everything we’ve been through, I think even you are allowed some tears.”
“Yeah, right,” was her murmured reply, and swiftly changed the topic. “So you … you remember everything I said to you?”
“Not exactly,” he replied, and explained as best he could the difference between his usual perfect recall and his memories of the past day. Lois began to blush as the implications dawned on her; he remembered every single word, every inflection, every nuance of that first interview, when she had been such a flighty moron. Perhaps it was best that he didn’t remember her long soliloquies in the hospital so well; he had the gist of everything she’d said, but not every little pause, every embarrassing revelation.
“I … I guess there’s only one thing I can say,” Lois said softly.
“What’s that?”
After a long moment, a small grin started to tease her lips, hazel eyes brightening as a true smile finally broke through. “I’m cashing in that rain check from a few months ago. I do believe you owe me a flight, mister.”
Kal-El laughed, kissing her forehead again. God, it meant so much to him just to be able to kiss her – and suddenly Lois grabbed his chin and pulled him down, kissing his mouth, making him almost forget to keep them aloft. “Well,” he said when she let him go, “I suppose if you put it that way… I can hardly refuse you a flight, Ms. Lane.” 
Lois gave him a mischievous look at that so familiar term, her smile only strengthening as he linked her arm through his and straightened them out into level flight. It took the reporter only a moment to remember how to keep her balance beside him. The rushing wind buoyed her up as they soared over Metropolis and westward across the country, Kal-El wisely heading toward the daylight just over the horizon.
The scenery whirling by beneath them was spectacular, but nowhere near as fascinating as the man beside her. Lois turned to look at him, grinning brightly, and slipped her arm out of his, just her hand in the crook of his elbow holding her aloft. Automatically, he brought his free hand over to cover hers, looking worried for a moment. “Are you sure you’re okay doing this?” he asked her.
Lois laughed and flung her free arm out, glorying in their speed. “Just don’t let go this time,” she replied, and the words echoed to more than this flight.
Kal-El smiled warmly and let her hand slip down his arm, just like that first flight so long ago. What could be more perfect than flying through the clouds, holding hands with the one you loved? Although this time around, their hold on each other was more secure. Kal-El caught her wrist, not letting her hand slide through his grip as he had on that fateful flight. One dizzying fall was enough for a lifetime. This time, they would both hold on a little tighter.
It was very late before the Daily Planet staff finished the next edition. Fortunately, the front-page story, Superman Lives, only needed a few additional details added. Not much else was known about his whereabouts or condition, other than the fact that he’d been able to fly out of S.T.A.R. Labs. Perry positively beamed as he clapped his nephew on the back and told him to go home. Richard was too worn out for anything more than a weary sense of relief. He was simply too tired to feel the jubilation everyone else was experiencing.
Of course, part of that might be because I have a pretty good idea where Superman is right now: with Lois. And I’m still not sure what to think of that. Richard woke the twins gently and shepherded them to his car. Jimmy had run down to the closest open Mexican restaurant to get them dinner, but they would probably want a snack before bedtime. He needed to get them home, and get himself home before he wound up snoozing on his desk.
The International editor didn’t know what might be waiting for him there. Clark – Superman – whatever you wanted to call the man, Richard hoped he wouldn’t be interrupting him in the midst of a serious conversation with Lois. For that matter, recent hospital stay notwithstanding, Richard really hoped he wouldn’t catch the pair in the midst of anything more serious than conversation.
They wouldn’t, he thought, stamping down on the jealous thought. She wouldn’t, and I know he wouldn’t. Not this soon, and not in my house. I’m just letting my imagination run away with me because I know I’m losing her. That thought made him chuckle softly. Losing her? Wake up, Richard, you never had her. Not all of her.
The problem had lurked at the back of his mind all day, and Richard had pretty much figured it out. Lois was in love with someone else. She had loved Clark before she ever met Richard, she’d still loved him in spite of her denials even while she and Richard were together, and she obviously loved him now. The three years Richard had spent with her weren’t wasted time, but that was over now. Lois’ true love had returned.
As for Clark, his love for Lois had never changed, never diminished. Richard had seen the way they looked at each other, sensed the deep and complicated connection they shared. He didn’t think he had a chance against that. If he fought to keep Lois, he was convinced he’d still lose her. But in the process he would cause everyone involved a lot of grief. Especially Jason and Kala, and they didn’t deserve the misery of watching their parents fight.
If, however, he let Lois go – if he ignored the gnawing ache in his heart and gave his blessing to her and Clark – the twins’ lives would be easier and Clark wouldn’t feel like a homewrecker. Richard himself would also have a chance to be part of the twins’ future; he’d miss them as much as Lois. Maybe more, if he were brutally honest with himself.
Not to mention Lana. That situation was hopelessly tangled; one minute she was hinting at a relationship between them, the next she seemed to deliberately mention Lois in an effort to drive Richard away. He didn’t know what she wanted or how she really felt about him, but those questions were worth exploring. Lois Lane would always own a piece of his heart – he’d never had a relationship this long or this intense before, in spite of his flings – but there was something about Lana that drew him irresistibly.
Richard waved to the officer in the patrol car, one of the same cops who had guarded their house right after Luthor’s threat at the Pulitzer ceremony. The twins didn’t wake up until he parked in the driveway, Jason opening bleary eyes to murmur, “We’re home?”
“Yes, sleepyhead,” Richard told him. “Wake up your sister and let’s get inside.”
“Is Mommy here?” Kala asked quietly, looking around as she woke.
Richard paused. “I don’t know, honey. We’ll see.” And he left it at that for the moment. Bundling both kids out of the car and up to the door, Richard quickly opened it and called out, “Lois? We’re home.”
No answer. Of all the things his possessive mind could conjure, an empty house hadn’t been on the list. Huh. Well, that’s interesting. I guess she’ll turn up here eventually.
Jason yawned hugely as he pattered into the living room. Kala cocked her head, her hazel eyes intent, and then looked at Richard with a frown. “Mommy’s not home.”
“Nope,” Richard said breezily, not wanting either of them to worry. “She’s probably with Superman.” He had woken them the moment he got the news, and both twins had been very excited to hear that the hero was okay.
Those eyes, so like her mother’s, went wide. “Really, Daddy?” Kala whispered.
Another suppressed twinge from his heart. “Really. I think he’d want to let your mom know he’s okay, since she was so worried about him.”
“Mommy was real scared,” Kala confided. “When we were in the hospital with … with Superman. I could tell.”
“I bet you could,” Richard said fondly. “You’re so smart, Kala, and you never miss anything. You’re your mother’s daughter, all right.”
The little girl wrinkled her nose at that familiar praise, but she hugged Richard and went to join her brother. Richard poured three tall glasses of milk, took some wheat-free cookies out of the jar, and carried the snack out to the couch. The sweets wouldn’t hurt the twins, and he could use some comfort food himself.
The trip around the world was spectacular, like traveling back through time – flying out of the evening into the sunset, and then into bright daylight over the west coast. California passed beneath them, Lois thinking of the kiss that nearly happened, Kal-El thinking of the one that had been so bittersweet, and held her more tightly. Further on, the tiny islands looked like little jewels cast haphazardly onto the blue Pacific Ocean. 
The sunlight invigorated Kal-El, and he took her through a series of breathtaking acrobatics, swooping low over the waves, then soaring high through the clouds. Lois yelped with surprise at the first seeming fall, then laughed for the pure freedom of it, the delicious sensation of sweeping through the sky on a whim. No one else had ever flown with Superman the way she had.
Sure, he rescued people and flew them to safety, but on those occasions he was merely using the quickest form of transport available. Only Lois had flown with him simply for fun, holding tight to his hands and laughing in delight. It was a little like the best roller coaster she could imagine, only far better; silent except for the rushing wind and their own voices, and almost as free as if she were the one doing the flying. Only Kal-El’s arms around her as he soared and dove and spiraled through the sky, Lois clutching tightly to him and closing her eyes whenever they dropped toward the sea.
After a while, their exuberance settled into simple enjoyment of each other’s company. Kal-El held her hand tightly, letting her float along at arm’s length as they continued westward. The pair met the dawn over Southeast Asia, and flew on into the night they’d left behind.
Most of the world below them was dark, only a few lights here and there. The moonlight revealed the remote mountains of Nepal and the vast tundra of Russia. Lois gasped in surprise as a snowflake struck her face. All around them, snow began to fall, and Lois hunched her shoulders with a little shiver. Only then did she realize she was only in her pajamas and robe, and she glanced at Kal-El with a look of shock and amusement on her face.
He chuckled, pulling her close and letting his body warm her as they flew through the brief snowstorm. Lois soon saw stars on the horizon … which weren’t stars, but the lights of Europe. They passed over cities that dazzled the eye with electric brightness after the wild beauty and isolation they’d left. Lois looked down at just the right moment to see the Eiffel Tower, lit up like a glowing reminder of her time in that city. For the first time since her pregnancy, the sight of it didn’t send a pang through her heart.
Then they were out over the Atlantic again, Kal-El slowing as they neared the Eastern Seaboard. Europe had been well-lighted, but the cities of the American coast were absolutely profligate with light. Compared to the darkness over the ocean, the brightness was stunning.
Lois felt like she should’ve had terrible jet-lag, flying through an entire day in just a couple of hours. But unlike plane travel, flying with Kal-El simply felt magical. He had his arm around her waist as they neared Metropolis, soaring past the Planet building. Lois had to do a double-take to recognize it, finally speaking for the first time in over an hour only to murmur in startled tones, “Where’s the freakin’ globe? What the hell did they do to my building?!”
Kal-El looked at her in surprise, remembering that she had been at sea while all of that happened. “Um, Lois … the globe fell. Earthquake, remember? Don’t worry, I caught it.”
“Holy… Whoa.” She stared down, now seeing the sections of the city without power, the destruction Luthor had wrought, falling silent again. In spite of that sobering realization, a little part of her mind insisted on noting that the top of the Daily Planet building now looked as it had the last time she’d gone on a flight like this, so long ago.
They lingered slightly over the city, both of them overwhelmed by déjà vu. The concrete and steel canyons below them were still familiar, even though time and the upheaval of the past few days had changed them. Lois and Kal-El both felt a certain parallel in their own lives; circumstances had changed them both, but each one still recognized the person they’d fallen in love with in the other.
The river gleamed below them, and Kal-El came to a halt above the riverside house. Lois glanced down once, torn between the familiar gladness at arriving home and the nostalgic wish for this magic night to never end. She looked up into deep blue eyes as he spiraled them both down, his hands on her waist and her arms lightly around his shoulders. The pair could’ve been dancing, almost, if they were standing on something more substantial than air.
Lois’ bare toes touched the weathered wood of the dock, and reality crept stealthily into the surreal fantasy of their flight. He’d brought her home, and now he would leave, and would anything really change between them? Or was this just a night out of time, another stolen moment like so many others she’d had with him? Lois leaned toward him as they landed, and he bent his head down to hers, their foreheads touching.  Even as they stood so close, she had that familiar fear of his leaving her as he almost always had after a flight.  That feeling of a spell being broken. “Tell me this isn’t going to end now,” Lois whispered, trying to keep the pleading tone out of her voice.
He kissed her brow, so soft and fraught with meaning, and leaned back slightly to answer her. Before Kal-El could say a word, however, two young voices called out, “Mommy!” Lois and Kal-El both turned quickly, startled and still in each other’s arms, and saw the twins pelting toward them yelling gleefully.
Kala got there first, running full-tilt into Lois’ side and flinging her arms around Lois’ waist. For a moment, Kal-El was forgotten. With a relieved smile, she held the child close, kissing the top of her head and murmuring endearments.  Jason was right behind her, and with Kala hogging Mommy’s attention, he turned to Superman. “You’re okay now?” It was more question than statement.
“Yes, I’m fine,” he replied, and Jason hugged him impulsively. It was a bit of a shock for Kal-El. The twins knew precisely who he was, and they knew he was their father. That had been an intellectual fact, the answer to all his hopes, but the reality of it was still a surprise. He’d wanted this to be his family from the moment he saw the three of them in the newsroom, but Kal-El realized with an uncomfortable flicker of fear that he had no idea how to be a father.
In the meantime, he dropped to one knee and hugged his son, aware of just how much he’d missed. Kala pried herself off of Lois and pounced on him as well. “You’re better now!” she crowed happily. Kal-El couldn’t help chuckling as he ruffled her hair.
Lois didn’t even get a chance to get her breath back before Jason hugged her as well. “I missed you, Mommy,” he said plaintively as she picked him up.
“I missed you too, sweetheart,” Lois murmured, kissing his cheek, her smile matching his. “Both of you.”
She and Kal-El looked up at the same moment. The kids couldn’t have been home alone, and the light spilling out onto the back deck framed a man’s shadow.
Standing at the back door was Richard. Backlit, he was just a silhouette in the doorway, and neither Lois nor Kal-El could see his expression.
Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Reflected in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you
Think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

Once the world was new
Our bodies felt the morning dew
That greets the brand new day
We couldn't tear ourselves away
I wonder if you care
I wonder if you still remember
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays
And when the words are
Touched with sorrow
When the music plays
I hear the sound
I had to follow
Once upon a time
Once beneath the stars
The universe was ours
Love was all we knew
And all I knew was you
I wonder if you know
I wonder if you think about it
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays
And when the words are
Touched with sorrow
When the music plays
And when the music plays
I hear the sound
I had to follow
Once upon a time

Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Mirrored in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you
Think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams
In your wildest dreams
In your wildest dreams
~ The Moody Blues, In Your Wildest Dreams

Tags: little secrets post

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