Lois paid for her early Thursday by going into the office Saturday morning. She put the weekend editions together, terrorized the International department in her husband’s absence, and then headed home. The dining schedule had gotten switched around over the years; Saturday night used to be dinner out for her and Kal-El, but it was now the most convenient time for either twin to visit, so Sunday had become date night and Saturday was the as-often-as-possible family dinner.
Her phone rang as soon as she got back, with the ringtone Kala had set last time she was home: the Godzilla roar from the Japanese films. “Hello, Jason,” Lois answered, wondering what she should change it to. The last thing she needed was for her purse to start roaring during a board meeting at work. Her left brow raising a little, she smirked at the thought. Then again, it’d liven things up a little.
“Hi, Mom,” he said, and as always, Lois grinned at the sound of her son’s voice. She never would have suspected when she was younger just how much she would miss the sound of her kids’ voices, most especially when they were teenager. Most especially. “So, I was wondering if I could bring a friend to dinner.”
“Sure,” the answer was automatic. Now that was a new one, too. Both twins had been bringing friends over the year, undeterred by their family legacy in the least. They obviously got that from her. “Who’s coming down from college with you?”
“Oh, um, it’s not a college friend. This is an … extracurricular friend. From the club.” Jason sounded bashful; they hadn’t quite worked out code for bringing home friends from the Titans. It wouldn’t be a good idea to use their real names or their code names on an unencrypted line, either.
“Oh, okay. That’s fine. Hope they can live with Italian. Your dad’s making lasagna.” Lois couldn’t ask over the phone when Bruce had lifted the curfew on Gotham; it was probably Tim coming over to get some breathing room from that whole situation. No one was keeping Lois informed, probably because once they’d told her Tim had been attacked and had to be hospitalized, she was perfectly ready to put a couple bullets in the Red Hood. Oh, she wouldn’t kill him, knowing who he was, but he could work out all his goddamn daddy issues from a hospital bed instead of running around killing off Gotham’s gangsters.
The last she’d heard, Bruce still hadn’t pulled his head out of his ass and was trying to keep everyone else—even Kal-El and Diana—out of his city. She shook her head; the Bat didn’t want her going over there to read him the riot act. Lois liked Bruce, respected him, but if she was willing to tell Superman off then setting the Bat straight was no big thing. Especially over those boys. There were days…
Taking everything into consideration, she decided to bake a pie for dessert, not that she had any levels of domesticity to prove or any chance of competing with Alfred, but just because. Tim was known to have a little bit of a sweet tooth, especially when you got he and Jason together, and she knew a way to maybe make the visit a little more special. Lucy had put in a vegetable garden at the Riverside house, and she’d sent over some fresh rhubarb and some homemade strawberry jam. Lois figured between the two she could whip up a strawberry-rhubarb pie, another one of the Kansas recipes in her deck and one of Kal-El’s favorites. Not something he was likely to get at home.
By the time the doorbell rang, Lois was prepared to delicately interview a traumatized Tim Drake and figure out exactly where things in Gotham stood. God knew that everything had to be off-kilter with the family dynamics warped all to hell. But when she opened the apartment door, she found herself facing Wonder Girl instead.
Lois blinked, and Cassie Sandsmark smiled rather nervously. Jason, of course, stepped in without hesitation and hugged his mom. Laughing as she always did when he picked her entirely, she didn’t fight it and simply hugged him back. He’d first done it by accident when he was about fourteen, startling them both, and had been doing it ever since. By the time he put her down, she’d recovered her equilibrium. She knew perfectly well that the junior Trinity hung out together, and with Tim locked up in Gotham, of course these two would be hanging out. And of course her son would bring another metahuman appetite to freeload on their food. At least Kala wasn’t there this week, or they’d have had to double the lasagna.
Poor girl looked a little off-kilter and kept glancing at her son, who was acting like nothing was up. Lois got the feeling that maybe this had to do with having had a death in the family and maybe that was why she was unsure. Looked like she was going to have to jump in here and even things out. “Hi, Cassie,” Lois said, taking her hand and bringing her in with a smile. “Nice to see you. I hope you like lasagna; Clark’s really proud of his recipe.”
“Dad’s lasagna is the awesome,” Jason cut in.
“Even if I didn’t like lasagna, I’d be happy. Who else gets Superman to cook for them?” Cassie said with a little laugh. Intimidated. That’s what this is. Poor kid. I get this feeling this is why they’ve stuck to civilians. It’s easier to play off famous reporter parents than someone knowing who your dad is. No wonder she’s freaked; it’s not like the older ones that see him all the time. The second generation are still in total awe.
Lois smirked. “Who gets Superman to cook for them? Me. Every chance I get, especially on my night to cook. But don’t get it into your head that he’s perfect. Clark’s capable of burning a pot roast or two.”
Jason rolled his eyes. “Mom. He got called away, that wasn’t his fault.”
“Doesn’t matter, it still counts.”
Kal-El himself wasn’t in at the moment; he’d put the lasagna together and started baking it, but had heard an extreme amount of shots fired and sirens heading up to Magnus Labs about fifteen minutes ago. With his luck, it would be another ten or so before he made it back in. In the meantime, Lois was listening for the oven timer and trying to figure out exactly what seemed hinky about this situation. Couldn’t just be feeling overwhelmed. Something else was up here.
Jason elbowed Cassie lightly. “Hey, relax. It’s just my parents. You don’t even have to deal with Elvira. They’re just really goofy most of the time. Not like we’re having dinner with your dad.”
“Oh yeah, ‘cause I have all kinda quality time with the high god of the Greek pantheon,” Cassie muttered. Lois smiled slightly to herself, snagging chips and dip to occupy the two teens so they didn’t start eyeing her fridge and the pie. What a world she lived in, that there was a demigoddess sitting on her couch snarking at her son.
Not that that impressed her or anything. She was, after all, Lois Lane. With all that she had seen over the years, that was pretty much a normal state of affairs. And from what she could tell, Cassie was a fairly normal girl in spite of all the weird shit in her life. Had to be a hell of a thing to deal with, too, only finding out that you’re part of that kind of lineage in the midst of teenage storms. What a time to drop that kind of bomb on a kid.
Much the same thing could be said for her sister-in-arms Donna, although she had known what her deal was from the start. However, immortal witch hell-bent on driving you crazy? Diana’s kid sister had a lot more bad shit happening to her than most, most especially that horrible accident the other year. But she had gotten up, with a little help from her best friend, and had made herself keep going. In the last couple of years, she and Diana had finally gotten of all their issues straightened out. Lois had to admit, short of the fact that Diana had thrown in her lot with Bruce for the last little while, the Wonders pretty much had their heads screwed on right.
And then she walked back into the living room and right into a conversation she really hadn’t expected to hear. “…and meeting the parents is so not third-date material, Jason,” Cassie was saying.
Her sweet boy just looked perplexed, which Lois had to admit, he frequently did when dealing with girls. Oh God, how had she not known? “Huh? This isn’t really a date, I mean, it’s family dinner night and I brought you along as my friend. If it was a date we’d go to the movies after or something.”
Lois set down the chips and dips and then stood up, looking at her son with her arms crossed. “Date? Really? This is news to me. Jason, you have something to tell me?”
“Oh my gods,” Cassie groaned, sinking down in her corner of the sofa. “You didn’t tell them?!”
“I kinda didn’t have a chance without using real names on an open phone line,” he replied defensively, then rounded on his mother. “Before you start scolding, Mom, you kept telling me to see other girls. Repeatedly. And Cassie’s a really good friend. Also ridiculously gorgeous.”
The narrow-eyed look Jason was getting told her that that had been the puzzle piece she had been missing. “You’re not saving this,” Cassie whispered.
Lois sighed. Oh, for the love of… “Jason, honey, if she’s your girlfriend, this is a date. You know how all of this works. It’s not like you never dated before. What was she supposed to think?”
“Yeah, but … I’m losing this argument no matter what, aren’t I?” He looked sheepishly up at her.
Taking a seat across from them, Lois smirked. “I know. You dated your sister’s friends, but never your friends, and that makes it different. You don’t get to switch back to friend-mode unless you break up. God, no wonder Cassie’s been a live-wire.” Her gaze flicked over to the girl, who gave what looked like a relieved little laugh. “Sorry, Cassie, I swear I taught him better than this. He gets the gormy-around-girls gene from his father.”
That at least got a sunny smile from the blonde. “Don’t worry, I’ll get him trained. And I like the adorable goofiness.”
“Good, because it never goes away. Luckily it grows on you over time.” Lois smiled at them. As much as it had startled her, she was genuinely happy to see her son actually dating someone he hadn’t known from the age of fourteen, and everything she heard about Wonder Girl was positive. Nothing she should be really worried about with this one and it gave Jason a chance to see what being with another hero was like. It was also the end of an era.
If she was honest, she hated not having Elise around. Now that she knew the secret she’d always be part of the family, and for a few years she’d practically been another of Lois’ kids. It had been nice to have an ally against the rest of this family of crazies. But the larger situation would work itself out. Elise could still come back into the fold as something else equally important. The kids were still only teenagers. They had plenty of time decide what they wanted with their lives.
She added with a chuckle, “Just be glad your sister’s out in California. She’d give you hell.”
Jason sighed. “She’s gonna give me hell anyway, it’s what she does. It’s not like she can’t hear anything if she wants to. If I know her, she knows already, has known for weeks.” This was followed by his eyes raised to the ceiling. However, a though a moment later had one eyebrow up and his blue eyes shining. This was going to be a good one, from the looks of things. “Oh, speaking of which, she broke up with Alan.”
Lois couldn’t resist a sigh of relief. “Hallelujah,” she said, and leaned across to high-five her son. “Your dad’ll be thrilled.” That one had been bad news from the start, she had known it. Having heard from Kala what the sniveling little creep had said when she had prepared to head out for Martha’s funeral, it had only been a matter of time. That was another way Kala took after her: not so good with choosing relationships. She was young and having fun, but had yet to find anything but trouble in all but one of her relationships since high school, not that anyone had been comfortable with Kala’s idea of a high-school boyfriend.
“Even better? Guess who’s decided to go out there and join her on tour?” Jason said with a grin. “Dustin. Cassie, you’ve heard about Dustin, my best friend from Smallville. So yeah, Kala and Dustin are back together. Keep your fingers crossed that it works out this time.”
That made Lois smile. Dustin and Kala were completely adorable. And he was the only one of her boyfriends that every one of the guys in her life—her father, Sebast, and Jason—approved of. It was an odd pairing to just look at, both of them from different worlds. That said, look how things had turned out for she and Kal-El. But she couldn’t resist picking on her son a little. “Wait a sec, you’re rooting for him now? I remember you picking him up by the coat and shaking him because he kissed her.”
Jason scoffed. “Mom. That was when we were all sixteen. He wasn’t ready to be kissing Kala yet.”
Cassie chuckled, snagging a chip. “You’re kind of an overprotective brother, aren’t you?” she asked.
Lois cut in before Jason could deny it. “The worst kind. Then again, she chased off all his girlfriends except one, and he’s loomed over all of her boyfriends.”
Jason stuck his tongue out at her. “What she’s not telling you is that at sixteen, Kala decided it’d be a good idea to date a college boy. She should have a warning label or something.”
Grinning at Cassie, Lois added, “She’s my daughter. Someone ought to make a public service announcement.”
“I kinda got that,” Cassie admitted. “I mean, we don’t see her much, but she strikes me as a real firebrand.”
“That’s my baby,” Lois said smugly.
At the latest venue, Sebast dropped his bag onto one of the beds and sighed heavily. Having Dustin here was great, and it did his heart good to see Kala happy again, but it messed up his life in all kinds of ways.
Most notably, his living arrangements. He and Kala had shared a bed for years, but right now Dustin was snuggling up to her next door. And Sebast was staring at a double bed that looked way too big for just him.
“Get over it,” Morgan advised, flopping onto the other bed. Ned and Robb were in the next room over, and they could hear them sorting out who was going to sleep where and who got the first shower. When Sebast only looked miserable, Morgan sighed at him. “He’s her boyfriend, Sebast. Of course he’s sharing a room with her.”
“I know, I just … I got used to having her with me. How am I gonna sleep without her trying to push me off the bed every fifteen minutes?” He dropped onto his own bed and stared up at the generic art print above it, some still life with flowers and fruit that looked like a Stalmaster student could’ve done it in their sleep. Only in their sleep, come to think of it. Stalmaster kids had more creativity.
“Look, you want me to come over there in the middle of the night and kick you a couple times just so you feel at home?” Morgan asked, trying not to laugh.
Sebast turned to him with his most pathetic, pleading expression. “Could you? I mean, Morgan, she’s my best friend. You should really take advantage of me in my moment of weakness.”
Morgan sighed and rolled his eyes. “You’re a huge perv. Stay over there, Sebast. If I wake up with you cuddling up to me, I’m gonna punch you. Just so you know.”
“You’re no fun, you homophobe.”
“Yeah, whatever. It’s not that I have issues with you being gay, I have issues with you trying to climb down my pants.” They both laughed a little at that; Sebast’s flirting had become more of a running joke than serious solicitation.
Sebast sighed again. All of a sudden he had too many empty hours in his day to go with the empty space in his bed. Maybe he’d let himself get a little too codependent on his bestie. And maybe Morgan was right, and he should just get over it already. It wasn’t like she was gone or anything, she was right nearby, and he’d always have her in rehearsal and onstage.
Speaking of stage, they were on it tonight, and he’d better grab an afternoon nap while he could to rest from the long road trip. Thinking that, he let his eyes drift shut.