By Carla Humbert (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: On New Krypton, Zara devises a way for Clark to communicate with Lois — by entering her dreams. A continuation of the episode "Big Girls Don't Fly."
Clark lay on his firm grey bunk and stared up at his grey ceiling. Through the skylight he could see a square of bleak grey sky, lit occasionally by the glowing red of a far off battle. This was his own room. It was small and depressing, but it was his private space, a luxury on a world where space was getting scarcer by the hour.
Everyday more buildings were turned to rubble and more families found themselves homeless, huddling in corners against the cold. Mothers tried to protect their children against the political battles that raged on, even though the joining of Kal-El and Zara had been established. Now the battle lines were clearer, but the battle continued. Thousands wanted to rally to Kal-El, but Lord Nor held them in fear. His defeat was not going as easily as planned. He had tasted victory and wasn't going to give up easily.
Every night, Clark stared out his skylight and shivered against the cold. He was cold, which meant he was vulnerable. He was scared.
In his head he composed one of many letters to his parents. It kept them alive in his mind and close in his heart.
-Dear Mom and Dad, I miss you so much I hurt from it. It sounds selfish, but I hate hurting and I hate being mortal. Cities die everyday that Superman could have saved. Children fight in the street while bombs go off in the sky. People are dying and I can't save them! The cold hurts. Every part of me hurts from trying to rebuild what has been destroyed, not with super-strength or super-speed, but with hard work. Getting down in the rubble and digging for hours. I feel like I haven't slept in weeks. Dad, I have a new respect for the work you do everyday on the farm. I want to do more here, but Zara is patiently waiting change as we grow stronger in number everyday. So I wait. I love you. Take care of each other and of my…wife.-
His letters to his parents, although they could never reach them, helped Clark organize his thoughts and feelings of being on New Krypton. He couldn't talk of such things with Zara and Ching (even though he had come to see them as friends) and he couldn't compose such thoughts to her…to the one he still held closest and dearest. The one whose ring he wore around his neck on a chain, his beautiful, breathtaking, tornado bride. To even think her name meant a new stab of vulnerability. Tears, not so far below the surface formed and he only wanted to curl up into a ball on his grey bunk in his grey room and curse this damn chunk of rock in this frozen expanse of space. So, her name stayed locked in his heart and in his mind.
Against his conscious will, sometimes, in the most silent stretches of night did the sound of her and the memory of her scent and touch come to him. The memory of her lips on his own, her hands under his clothes working his flesh as her mouth burned into his. The feeling of softest, most sensual folds of her body against his hands and the erotic silk of her hair against his face. Her soft voice begged him where he couldn't go and he woke cold and alone, with only Zara in the adjoining room to hear him crying. She never came to him to comfort him, knowing Clark didn't want her to. Nights were the worst.
During the day they were busy. They held meetings of supporters and rallied for the cause. The marriage of Jor- El's long-forgotten son to the lady Zara was the hope the population needed. Suddenly there was something to believe in and the possibility of victory. So, the fought and they planned and they tried to turn Nor's attacks back against him. They recruited members of Nor's force who weren't already completely brainwashed by the madman. Tiny bit by tiny bit, it looked like victory was in sight.
Clark started to believe he would be going home to Earth soon, but both Ching and Zara glared at him whenever he let his mind wander there.
Zara harbored no hope of Kal-El ever taking his place as her husband. She knew he would never, truly be bonded to her. He didn't have to. In the darkest of nights Ching came to her and sought her attention, which she eagerly gave. Together they realized the power Clark spoke of, this love, the joining with another person that makes your life complete.
To repay Clark, was the reason Zara came to him in the middle of that night. "Kal, are you asleep?"
"No, I don't sleep anymore."
"You sound old and bitter."
"Why are you here?"
"I want to show you something."
"I want to see nothing more of this place."
"Kal, please come with me, and trust me. I am your wife and I do care about you."
With that Clark pulled himself off of his bunk and followed Lady Zara. She led him through halls and doorways until she unlocked the door to a laboratory dusty from disuse.
"This is where we used to brain link the enemy and bend them to our will. Finally through it we saw the danger of repeated uses and discontinued it. Nor still uses a similar machine, but not one so precise as this."
"You want to brainwash our enemies?" Clark gaped in disbelief.
"No, I wanted to see the range on this machine and if there was any way you could…" Zara couldn't finish.
"Can this reach Earth?" Clark whispered.
Zara nodded. "It can now. I've been working on it for a week. I have made contact with Lois Lane."
"What have you done to her?" Clark stepped forward menacingly.
"Nothing, except prove the link was connected. I arranged the backdrop of her dreams, beaches, forest, peaceful settings with no life interaction. I think it can be done."
Clark couldn't breathe.
Zara began adjusting vials of liquid and turning dials. "The fact that she is so far away, makes it slightly unstable. But, it should work." She nudged some more dials. "I think I have contact."
Clark stared at the white screen. "How can you tell?"
"The brainwaves are the same, brainwaves I had recorded when she was on the ship."
"What do I do?"
Zara gestured behind them, to a long metal bed with wires and probes coming out of every direction.
"You need to connect me to that?"
Zara smiled, "It won't hurt, and I won't leave. I'll stay and monitor."
Clark nervously lay down on the table and Zara expertly adjusted the controls.
"Close your eyes."
Clark did so. He felt probes being attached to his head and torso. Hot, pin sensations went through his body. If even the slimmest chance of contacting Lois was possible, he had to do it.
Zara's voice seemed very far away. "Relax, and let your mind float to Lois."
Suddenly Clark was standing on a large expanse of gold. It could have easily been a wheat field in Kansas. He breathed in the familiar scent of sun warmed grain and smiled in the brash sunlight. New Krypton was so cold and so lifeless, this was a complete turnaround. A comfortable home feeling.
Then he saw Lois, she was dressed in full farmer's gear down to a tattered straw hat that Clark recognized as his own. She was sweaty and dusty and to Clark had never looked more beautiful. "Lois!" he screamed and ran towards her.
Lois looked up and waved.
Clark didn't have super-speed but he was at her side in seconds. He hugged her and held her hard for a long minute.
Lois broke free and returned the passion with a kiss, a sweet tender kiss that made his pulse race and all his thought disappear. Lois was in his arms again, he was holding Lois, and that was all that mattered. "I missed you so much. I hate to be without you!"
"Clark? What are you doing here?"
Clark laughed loudly, "Does it really matter? I am here, in your dream but I am very real."
Lois broke away, a reporter at all costs. "You are always in my dreams. Every night since you flew away, you come to me in my dreams."
"And you are in mine, too, Lois. This is different."
"You feel more real, your kisses have substance."
Clark pulled her closer and demonstrated what she had said. They kissed, standing in the warm wheat field with the sun shining down on them. They kept kissing passionately and running their hands up and down each other's bodies, as if to establish it was real. Bits of a song filtered through Clark's thoughts.
"This looks familiar, vaguely familiar. Almost unreal, yet, it's too soon to feel yet. Close to my soul and yet, so far away. I'm going to go back there someday."
Lois sighed deeply and smiled. "If it's a dream. Will there be others?"
Clark shook his head, "I don't know. Zara set this up."
Lois' eyes darkened. "Are you and your wife happy together?"
"No, Zara and I do nothing together that could be considered marriage. You are my wife, Lois. I have loved you from the beginning."
"And I will love you to the end. When can you come back to me?"
"The very second possible."
They stared into each other's eyes. The love held there crossed all planes of time and space.
Lois sighed, "My dreams have felt so different lately. So clear and sharp in detail, the most amazing places, but no people. I knew something was up."
"That was Zara, establishing contact with you. She didn't tell me what she was doing until tonight."
Then they just held each other for a long while without talking. Just listening to each other breathe was helping ease the loneliness.
Clark felt a raw tingling inside his head and gasped. Lois jumped.
Clark shook his head both in answer and in pain. "I think the link may be breaking up, I may have to go."
Lois clung tightly to her love. "No! Not yet!"
Clark smiled that brilliant smile he saved for her. "I'll be back, I'll be back for you."
The scene began to blur and suddenly it was dark and all Clark could hear was Lois asking "Why am I dressed like a farmer?"
He couldn't answer. He closed his eyes and heard the song in his head again.
"Sun rises, night falls, sometimes the sky calls. Is that a song there? And do I belong there? I've never been there, but I know the way. I'm going to go back there someday."
And he opened his eyes to look at Zara. She looked concerned.
Clark slowly stood up and nodded. "It worked, thank you."
"I had to cut it short, I was worried about the fluctuations in your brainwaves."
"Can we try again tomorrow night?"
Zara nodded. "Let me do some more work on it. Please don't tell Ching, yet."
"Are you saying Ching wouldn't approve?"
"He may want to use the device on experiments. It hasn't been used in decades."
Zara steered Kal-El out into the hall and back to his room. They said good-night, and for the first time, Zara thought Kal looked something close to happy.
Lois woke with a smile on her face. This dream didn't fade with the morning light, it remained in detail and Lois went through it again and again as she got ready for work. Her body tingled remembering his touch and his kisses. While one part of her wanted to cry because Clark was still gone, the other part of her rejoiced, knowing if Clark said he would be back, he would. He was OK, he was alive and he loved her. "But why was I dressed like a farmer?"
The next day was a blur and Kal-El and their ever growing band of support rallied against Nor. A large number of Nor's followers defected to Kal-El and that was the greatest victory yet. Nor's own were turning against him. The end really was in sight.
Ching kept watching Kal with new interest. Kal was energetic and motivated as usual, but seemed almost happy. He questioned Zara. "What got into him? Did you and he…"
Zara glared. "You forget yourself. I am faithful to you. Victory is at hand, why shouldn't he be happy?" She never really answered his question. Ching smiled at the woman he loved. He forgot what else he wanted to stay.
That night Clark waited for Zara. She attached him again. "If you feel the pulling, it means I'll start to disconnect. It should go longer this time."
"Thank you." Clark said simply as he closed his eyes.
This time the scenario was in a huge ballroom. Music swelled and Lois was breathtaking in a long white evening gown. "Who costumes these events?"
Clark let out a whistle. "You look amazing! You look…"
Lois ran to his arms. "I knew you'd be back tonight, I could hardly get through my day, waiting."
Clark took her hand and led her to a tiny velvet loveseat. He sat down and pulled her next to him. "I couldn't wait either. Moments without you are hours."
"How goes the war?" Lois asked lightly, but with a deeper meaning.
"Better. Lots of suffering, lots of fighting, but we are winning. The family alliance is drawing in all the faction families. We can win and then I will come back to you."
"I wish I could write the story for the Planet. A definite Kerth-winner."
"And just how would you explain having the exclusive?" Clark teased.
Lois just smiled. "I have my ways." Then she slyly kissed him on his neck.
Clark withheld a groan and moved so his mouth met hers and they kissed. They kissed forever it seemed in this magical room. Clark couldn't keep his hands off Lois in her fabulous formal gown.
"We should dance." Clark said, through a kiss.
"We should do this." Lois responded.
Clark stood and pulled her to her feet against protest.
"Just because I'm wearing the gown and we have a ballroom and music and…"
Clark just put his arms around her and began dancing, she soon followed. Their bodies melted together in time to the music. He wished he could take Lois back with him, just to share his world. Or maybe they could just find some unused planet between the two and make their own world, away from everyone.
"Come and go with me. It's more fun to share. We'll both be completely at home in mid-air. We're flying, not walking on featherless wings. We can hold on to love like invisible strings."
Clark's head began to pound. "Lois."
Lois stopped dancing, but didn't let go of Clark.
"I have to go." He pushed Lois away and took a long look at her as it faded gently away. "But I will be back."
Clark did go back. Again and again. He and Lois experienced Zara's full range of scenes. They picnicked in Africa, walked on the Great Wall of China, swam in the Mediterranean, but for all the couple cared they could have been in the North Pole as long as they were together and they could touch each other and kiss and talk. They talked for hours, and kissed for even more hours. It was all so very real. Too real. Then, one night. One terrible black night when Clark wished he had never seen the machine or what it could do. One night when his life seemed to stop, again.
The lab door was locked, Zara always kept it locked. Except now it was Zara pounding on the door from the outside. "Kal, you can't use the device alone! It's too dangerous! Kal!"
Clark stood behind her. "Zara?"
She spun around. "Who is in the lab?"
"Yes," Ching asked coming around a corner, "who is in the lab?"
Zara pounded some more. "Open the door!"
Clark joined her in attacking the door with frantic knocks that were muffled on the steel door.
"Up until last night, when I saw you two leaving, I would have said no one had been in the lab for years." Ching said smugly. "What experiments have you been running without my knowledge?"
"Shut up, Ching!" Clark snarled. "Open the door!"
Ching didn't respond, he just turned and in a minute returned with a key. He opened the door and was pushed aside by Clark sprinting by and Zara closely following.
"Kal-El, your behavior is becoming very violent and unacceptable." Ching's voice trailed off as he saw who lay on the table.
Zara just let out a surprised little cry. "Nor!"
It was Lord Nor. Oblivious to them. He was hooked up to the device at full strength. His huge body spread out before them and Ching walked forward and grabbed a handful of wires.
"No!" Zara shrieked.
"Stop!" Clark yelled.
Ching paused. "Are you two insane? Disconnect and he will die, how could he put himself in such a vulnerable position? It is too easy. The chance is ours!"
"Zara, bring him out of there." Clark said.
Zara just shook her head in horror. "I don't know what he's done, the connections are so different, he's hooked up in ways I can't follow, or control."
"Who is he hooked up to?" Ching asked.
Zara met Clark's eyes in misery. "I only established one link on this machine."
Clark's eyes mirrored the terror in his soul.
Lois was in the dreamworld again, she smiled. "Clark?"
It was dark and damp there, cold and for some reason scary.
"Clark? Bad choice of setting. Definitely a step down from Rome."
Lois was becoming nervous.
"Clark? Please answer me."
It got colder and from somewhere a wind blew in.
"Lois? He's in there with Lois?"
"Lois Lane?" Ching demanded. "You've been using this device to establish contact with your girlfriend? Do you know what this machine can do? It is not a kissing booth!"
Clark ignored Ching. "Zara, can you get him apart from Lois?"
"No. I could kill him by cutting wires, but I have no idea what it would do to Lois. Chances are she would die also."
They could do nothing but stare down at the body of their enemy, inches away yet eons apart.
"Clark? Are you all right?"
In the cold and dark, Lois waited. She made a conscious effort to wake up, and for the first time since these dreams started, realized she could not leave them at will. She was scared of something she couldn't see.
"Kal-El is dead."
The voice was deep and startling.
"The Kryptonian you call Clark, Kal from the house of El is dead. The House of El is destroyed. The war is over, and he won't be coming back for you."
Lois began to cry. This was truly a nightmare. It was a textbook nightmare that she couldn't escape. "No." she whispered.
The voice was pure evil. "Yes, he and his family."
"Why are you here?"
"I am entitled to his belongings and his wife."
Lois was startled out of her tears. "What?"
"I am here to take what is rightfully mine."
"Here?" Lois had no idea who this was or what he wanted.
"Zara is not his wife, they never truly completed the union. You are the one he believes to be his mate. You are who I've come to claim."
Lois felt a very cold presence enter her very soul. She couldn't move to save her life.
Zara studied the make-up of wires and connectors. "I think I can release Lois. I'll have no idea what I'm doing to her from this end."
Ching and Clark nodded, watching.
"I don't know if she's already dead." Zara said.
"I'd know." Clark said putting one hand on his chest over the wedding ring he wore on a chain. "She's alive, I'd feel it here if she weren't."
Zara nodded and began to work. Ching leaned over her shoulder watching and offering occasional advice.
Clark kept one hand over the ring and silently pleaded. "Fight, Lois! Fight him!"
"Clark isn't dead." Lois suddenly knew that, as a fact in the very depth of her soul.
The cold didn't seem so cold.
And the dark lessened it's intensity.
Nor's iciness pressed down on Lois and it was very hard to breathe.
"Clark isn't dead."
Now Zara and Ching worked together.
Clark wanted to help, but didn't want to be in their way. He was completely grateful to them for working to save Lois. They could just have destroyed the machine and ended the war but they were fighting to save the woman he loved.
Ching glanced up at Kal-El. His eyes were closed and his face was tense. Ching knew what it was like, now, to be in love, and to have the woman you love in danger. He returned his attention to Zara and their work.
Lois didn't know if the voice was real or not. She could feel the dream fading.
Lois almost smiled. She knew Clark would save her. Always, somehow, he came to save her. "I love you, Clark." she said out loud.
"I could kill you." Nor whispered.
"I don't believe you." Lois said. If he could, why hadn't he?
The dream faded. Again, Lois was alone.
Ching looked up in time to see Nor awake and rip wires out from the connectors on his head. Nor sprinted for the door, but Ching and Clark tackled him and held him down.
"Kill me!" Nor demanded.
"Not so easy, Nor." Ching said with satisfaction. "You will pay for your deeds better than with your simple death. We want retribution."
"Why couldn't I kill that simple creature?" Nor demanded. "Why couldn't I destroy Kal-El?"
"You just don't know how to deal with Earth women." Zara said, smiling at Clark.
"You just have no idea how hard true love is to kill," said Clark, smiling in return.
Lois woke up in her own bed. Alone and alive. She had no idea when Clark would return to her, either in dream or in reality, but she knew he was alive. She looked out her window as if he'd be standing there. "Hurry back to me."
Clark lay on his grey bunk and stared up at his grey ceiling. Nor was in custody. He would never escape. The war was over. Without Nor to lead them, the enemy camp was disintegrating and surrendering.
Ching and Zara were going to be married and Kal-El was turning his house over to them.
After they had disconnected Lois from the dream and awakened Nor, he destroyed the machine in his attempt to escape. It couldn't be repaired. Clark would be home soon enough, he could hardly wait to hold Lois, again. He didn't know how Lois had held off Nor. He kept believing in the power of their love. Also, Lois could be so stubborn, Nor probably never had a chance.
After Ching and Zara's wedding Clark said his good- byes.
Zara gave him a hug. "Thank you for what you gave us."
Ching shook his hand heartily. "Have a safe trip back. Thank you, and thank Lois."
"I will. Best of luck to you two."
"Will you be glad to get your Superman powers back?" Ching asked.
"I'll be happier to get Lois back. Thank you for saving her." Clark said.
Zara sighed. "She doesn't even know you are coming home!"
Clark touched the wedding ring again. "She knows. She knows." "There's not a word yet for old friends, who've just met. Part heaven, part space or have I found my place? You can just visit but I plan to stay. I'm going to go back there, someday."