By Carla Humbert (Beverly9@aol.com)
Summary: A look at what might have been, in an alternate reality, between Clark and Mrs. Kent.
I would like to make two quick statements, here, to you L&C fans-
1) Yes, another alternate reality story! (but it was between that and another revelation story!)
2) You guys are going to want to kill me for this! Be kind, I break easily. :)
I won't plagiarize more than I really have to from Rocky Horror. Sometimes when you are not looking, time takes just a jump to the left and then a step to the right, and because you weren't paying attention, it can take you with it. Sometimes these jumps are so small, you never notice. Other times the steps are so grande that you stand there shaking your head trying to figure out what is wrong. You know that only moments ago, things were not as they are now, but you can't say why or how. That feeling you walked into a room for some reason, but can't remember why, the unshakable knowing that you have forgotten something at home, seeing someone you are sure you know, but can't place from where, These are the signs that your body and mind are trying to equate themselves to the time zone they now inhabit. It is all a huge cosmic what-if. What if it never happened? Or what if it did?
Clark Kent stood in front of his mirror shaving. He was shaving with a razor and shaving gel. His hand shook a little as he ran the blade across his neck, even though he knew that if he pierced his skin he would not be hurt. He smiled slightly. He thought that with his great powers to do the superhuman, he couldn't even do a normal human ritual of getting ready in the morning without having to think through every step.
From behind him a woman approached and wrapped her arms around his waist. She ran her hands along his chest and kissed him softly on his back.
Clark jumped. "Hey! You might want to think twice before sneaking up on a man with a knife at his throat!"
"I'm sorry, did you nick yourself?" The concern in her voice was real, but not overboard. "I have never known you to get a cut yet."
"No, lucky for you. I don't want to think about what would have happened to you if I did."
"Are you threatening me, Mr. Kent?"
"Only warning you, Mrs. Kent, that bleeding men are rarely merciful to their assailants."
Now the concern was more motivated. "Please, let me see." She ran her hand along his jaw and down his neck to his collar bone. "I don't see a cut. You are the luckiest man I know." Now she graced the collar bone with a chain of soft kisses that gradually turned into nibbles.
"Lucky because I never get nicked, or because I am with you?" Clark wanted to know as the nibbles grew harder and he found himself wrapping his arms around her.
There was no answer to his question, only a kiss meeting his lips growing more heated as the seconds stood still in the steamy bathroom.
Suddenly the sound of a beeper echoed through the room.
"Damn! Yours or mine?"
Clark shook his head. "I think it's yours, dear, mine is in the bedroom with my clothes." He grinned nastily, "And speaking of clothes, make the call quick because I want you out of yours."
She was already out of the room and to the closest phone.
"Mayson Kent here, what do you need? Um hm, yeah, no, well all right, I'll be right there."
Clark sighed and resumed his shaving.
Mayson appeared in the mirror behind him. "I have to run."
Clark just nodded.
"Clark! Don't be mad. I didn't plan this. I have a job to do."
"You always do."
"Clark, I'm sorry it's your day off…"
"It was yours, also." Clark reminded her.
Mayson looked annoyed. "When a hot story came up, you used to drop everything for it."
He spun around brandishing the razor. "Yes, I used to but I gave that all up to be here for you!"
"I never asked you to give up field reporting, you wanted to. I have to go."
Clark again turned back to his mirror and he heard footsteps echoing down the hall and a door slamming. Once his wife was gone he dropped the razor and finished shaving by heat vision the way he preferred. Then he made his way into the kitchen to fry eggs in the same manner. Using his super-powers now were done covertly and usually only for trivial things. After breakfast he sat and stared at the ceiling and thought about his life. He couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong; that life was supposed to be different. Unfortunately, aside from feeling useless, this was his life as it was supposed to be.
"Hi Mom!" Clark snuck up behind his mother, picked her up, and spun her around.
"Clark! You scared the heck out of me, and I'm holding a paring knife. You should know better!" Martha scolded him. Then she smiled. "But I am always glad to see you."
Jonathan poked his head in from the next room. "I thought I heard you, Son."
Martha asked, "Wasn't this your big day off with Mayson?"
"It was." Clark answered coolly. "She had to go help out a client."
Both parents just nodded, neither looked surprised.
Martha asked casually, "Any word on grandchildren?"
"Martha, don't" Jonathan warned.
Clark said through clenched teeth, "You know she doesn't want to have children, Mom. She isn't going to just change her mind just like that. We have our careers. We want to be able to travel and do things just for ourselves right now." He said that speech as if he had said it many times before. "Can't I just visit you two, without getting the third degree about my wife?"
"Of course you can, Clark." Jonathan said warmly. "In fact, I have some fencing that needs repairing out north and I sure would welcome the help."
"Gladly." Clark reached for the coat he had just discarded.
Martha shook her head. "You don't have to pretend for us that you get cold."
Clark said nothing as he threw the coat back on the table and followed his father out to the field. He was so in the habit of pretending he was mortal every second of every day that it was hard not to do it.
For a long time they worked side by side in silence. Clark felt great using his amazing strength and speed after so long.
"I miss Superman." He said simply.
"So does Metropolis, I would think." Jonathan sympathized.
"There was no way I could be with Mayson and keep up being Superman. I had to make the choice."
"I know you did, Clark."
"Mom thinks I made the wrong one."
"Give your mother some time, she is still adjusting to you and Mayson."
"It's been almost two years."
"Give her another two. She feels Mayson doesn't approve of your Kansas background."
"That isn't true! Mayson has just never been exposed to this way of life, she thinks it's quaint." Clark sounded embarrassed.
"Will you two be coming for Christmas?" Jonathan knew the answer to this already.
"No, we are doing the Metropolis party circuit. Mayson needs the contacts. I can speed out for some of it though." Clark felt awful that he had to sneak away from his wife to visit his parents. He had once had dreams of him and his wife and the kids all visiting Grandma and Grandpa for the holidays. Happy, snowy days that were full of laughter and fun. These dreams were long gone. Sometimes, when he was with Mayson, he felt more like a farmboy hick than he ever had with Lois Lane. Even thinking her name hurt. So he stopped.
"Sometimes," Jonathan said softly, "life doesn't turn out to be like you planned. You still have to live that life. You are a good husband, Clark. I'm proud of you. You gave up your job, both as Clark and as Superman to take care of Mayson."
"She almost died in that explosion!" Clark justified, to himself mostly. "I was the only one who was there to take care of her. No friends or family had shown up! She lost a good chunk of memory in that accident along with some skin due to burns."
"I know, Son. You were wonderful for her. You are the reason she recovered as wholly as she did. You kept her going."
They went back to work, leaving Clark to his memories. He held Mayson in his arms after pulling her from the fiery car. She saw his Superman emblem under his shirt. She gasped out a word, "Resurrection." They were able to revive her in the hospital and from there it was many hours sitting at her bedside. Sometimes Lois came to check on her and see how he was doing, but after a while, she stopped coming. Mayson coming to and seeing Clark. Mayson not being able to remember the accident or anything surrounding it. All she did remember was Clark saving her. Then it was Clark who helped her through physical therapy, forcing her to do it every day. Clark who stayed in her home while she recovered. Clark who could never refuse when she begged him to stay one more day. He couldn't refuse when she only wanted a little courthouse wedding with no ceremony and no guests (much to the dismay of his Mother). He never refused her anything. Somewhere along the way he lost himself. Somehow, she had recovered and resumed her life as it was before and Clark was left with the changes.
"Dad, I have to go."
"We're about done here, thanks for the help. Whatever you decide to do, your mother and I support you."
Clark just smiled and took off flying.
He stepped off the elevator and looked around. Just being in this building was therapeutic. The Daily Planet in full swing of activity was just what he needed to distract him. Clark still worked for the paper. He was now a member of the editing staff. Out of habit he occasionally took the elevator to the newsroom. Usually Clark gave the reason as wanting to visit Perry, which was true enough.
"CK!" Jimmy stopped what he was doing to run over and shake his hand. "How are you?"
"Fine, Jimmy. How's the news?"
"I wouldn't know." Jimmy smiled, "The Chief doesn't give me a story of my own."
"Yes, but you assist Lois and she gets all the best stories." Clark reassured him.
"True, she's off now covering your wife. Something hit so fast at the courthouse Lois forgot to take me along."
"She forgot? Hm, I seem to remember me being 'forgotten' a couple of times myself by her."
The two laughed together and the sound brought Perry out of his office. "What in the name of Graceland is so funny out here?" Then he saw Clark. "Aren't you on the wrong floor, Son?"
Clark walked over to Perry. "I got lost and stopped for directions."
"Am I going to believe that a man stopped for directions? I don't think so. Please tell me you came for your job back."
"I have a job, Perry. You should think editing is important."
"Not for the best reporter I ever had. Say the word Clark and I'll chase Jimmy out of your desk so fast he'll think he's on fire. We need you."
Clark shook his head. "We both know it would be a conflict of interest to be a reporter married to a DA."
"You are grasping at straws." Perry said sternly. "There is no breach of ethics there. You belong here."
"I made my choices, Perry, and I am living a different life now."
"In a different world. Without you to write the news and without Superman to create it, there isn't that much to report anyway."
"I'm sure Lois misses Superman more than the stories." Clark said dryly.
"He isn't all she misses. She lost something, too. He partner, her friend and with it that spark of energy that made her who she is."
Clark protested. "I read her stories, she is still the best."
"Yes she is and always will be. But she did change."
"Tell her hello for me." Clark said turning around to go.
"Tell her yourself." Perry gestured to the opening elevator.
"Hold the door!" Clark shouted as he walked quickly towards the elevator.
Lois Lane turned to place one hand over the closing door before she recognized the voice. Then as he approached and boarded the elevator their eyes met. "Hi Clark."
He stood on the door frame to prevent the doors from closing. "Hi Lois."
"Fine. How's the field?"
"Great." Lois held up her notebook. "Your wife is going to be on the front page tomorrow, you won't believe what happened!"
Clark stopped her with a wave of his hand. "I think Mayson would like to tell me about it first."
"Oh, sure." The urge in Lois to spill everything to Clark was still strong. "Without you I have no one to ramble to, I guess it gets pent up."
"How's Jimmy doing?"
"He's, well, he's learning." Lois rolled her eyes.
"Give him a break, Lois, like you did for me once. He may surprise you."
Lois nodded. "You sure did. What have you got planned today?"
"Mayson and I finally got a day off together and we planned a day around Metropolis."
Lois looked confused. "I can't help but notice that you are here, and she is at the courthouse making news."
"That's why you are the best reporter, Lois, you are so observant."
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be insensitive. If you are free for lunch I could put this on hold for half an hour."
"Thank you, but I'm going to go catch up on some work and go home. Did Mayson give any clue to when she'd be done?"
Lois shook her head. "She looked pretty mobbed when I left, it'll be a while."
"Well, I'll be seeing you, Lois."
"Right. Say, Clark, do you ever hear from Superman?"
"Can't make it through a conversation without mentioning him?" Clark regretted right away that he said that when he saw the look in Lois's eyes. "I'm sorry. No, I never see him."
"I wonder where he could have gotten to. One day he just made a public statement that he was needed other places more and he was going to relocate. I loved his warning to any planning criminals that he would always have his eye on Metropolis!"
"I was there, Lois, I remember."
"You were there? I don't remember seeing you."
"I was …with Mayson."
"Right, over in the cheering section."
"That was low."
"I'm sorry, Clark. How is she doing?"
"Better and better each day."
"Thanks to you. You do make a great friend and from what I can see, a wonderful husband." She met his eyes and saw something in there she didn't recognize, fatigue, defeat, maybe a little anger. "Take care of yourself. You look a little…tired."
"Right, nice seeing you again."
"Don't be a stranger, you are always welcome up here." In her mind she echoed thoughts from many times before. I miss you, Clark. I need you, Clark. Please be my partner again. I don't feel complete without you.
If Clark picked up any of those thoughts, he gave no sign. He just gave a general wave to the newsroom and was gone. Lois sighed and walked to her desk.
It was many hours later when Mayson came through her front door. Clark was waiting by a table full of flowers, candles and steaming hot Chinese food.
"Oh, Clark! It looks wonderful, I'm famished!"
"Then sit down and eat before it gets cold." Actually, it had gotten cold several times already, but it was nothing a little heat vision wouldn't fix. Exit Superman, enter Microwave- Man!
Mayson did just that. "Clark this is great, really. You are the best husband, ever."
Clark smiled back at her and chewed on an eggroll. "What happened at the courthouse?"
"Hm?" Mayson looked up from her meal. "Oh, nothing. Just the usual."
Clark snorted. "Fine, I'll just read about it on the front page in the morning with the rest of the city."
"You went to see Lois?" Mayson looked annoyed.
"No, I went to catch up on some work and I dropped by to see Perry. Lois was out covering the story." Clark once again had to defend himself to his wife.
"Yeah, I saw her there, we kept having to find people to throw her out. Tenacious, isn't she?"
"Oh yeah." Clark agreed.
"Clark, can you do the dishes, I really need to get some work done."
"I'd like to sit and talk for a minute, May. I got some nice wine."
"If I drink wine, I'll get sleepy. I have so much to do."
"Please, just for a little bit."
Mayson sighed and ran a hand through her blond curls. "What is it?"
"Nothing, I just never get you to myself, anymore. I miss when we used to light a fire and spend the night in each other's arms." Clark explained.
"Oh, Clark, that is so sweet! Maybe tomorrow night."
"I was thinking about flying out to see my folks this weekend."
"All weekend?" Mayson looked startled. "Just like that?"
"I have time off coming and it's been a long time." Almost eight hours.
Mayson chewed on her lower lip and looked worried. She got up from the table and went over to her desk. Sitting down she opened her briefcase and removed a stack of files.
"May? When are you going to do your exercises?"
Again she sighed. "I'll do two sets tomorrow."
"Wrong, dear, you have to do them every night."
"Clark, I don't need them any more, I'm totally recovered."
Clark stood staring at the back of her head and it bent over the files. Do you need me anymore? Now that you are totally recovered, do you still need me?
He stood and realized that he was a security blanket. He was someone to hold her when she had nightmares of the explosion. He was someone to take care of her so she had the confidence to return to the life that had almost gotten her killed. Mayson was afraid, still. She knew it and she told him on many occasions that she didn't know what she would do without him. He, however, felt bitter and he felt alone. Clark also felt a tad used. He truly loved his wife, but he no longer loved who he was. Clark Kent had become someone he felt very sorry for. It was an unpleasant feeling.
He felt a rubber band snap off his leg.
He looked up to see Lois aiming another rubber band.
He grinned and picked up one of his own to fire back at her.
Lois quickly dropped hers. "I surrender!" When Clark shot a rubber band, it hurt!
"Game point to Kent!" Clark hummed a little song of victory.
"Where were you? I was calling your name for five minutes!"
"Sorry, Lois, I was thinking about…" Suddenly he couldn't remember. He had that vaguely dizzy feeling one gets when one is trying to remember something but can't quite place it. "I was feeling very sorry for someone." Why couldn't he remember? He could almost reach the thought, but it hovered maddeningly out of his reach.
"Sorry for who? Are you okay? You looked sad when I was calling you."
"I was remembering, something." A clue came to him. "Something about Mayson Drake."
Lois looked sympathetic. "I know you miss her." She was always careful about that subject. Mayson died in such an awful way and Clark held her in his arms as she passed away. That would be enough to rattle anyone.
"I wish I could think of what it was."
"It'll come to you. Are you almost done with your part of the story?"
"I was done ten minutes ago, I'm waiting on your Superman interview."
"I'm done too. Let's call it a night."
"Would you like to go to dinner, Lois?"
Lois smiled and nodded.
Clark got up and walked over to her desk. He pulled out her chair for her and helped her on with her coat. Then he placed one arm around her shoulders in a friendly manner and steered her towards the elevator.
"Goodnight folks!" Perry yelled from his office.
"Bye, Chief." Lois called back.
As they entered the elevator, Clark had another jolting of deja vu'. Lois, the elevator, they were all a part of that feeling he couldn't shake but couldn't remember either.
Lois elbowed him in the ribs. "You are dreaming again."
"Sorry." Clark smiled and put a little more pressure on the arm around Lois's shoulders. He wished he could place his daydream. He knew it felt real and there was someone he should feel very sorry for. But that someone wasn't him. Clark Kent was happy with his life at the moment. Very happy, indeed.