Power to Forgive

By Sharon L. Gilbert <sgilbert@ddyne.com>

Rated PG-13

Submitted April 1999

Summary: When Clark returns to Earth after being on New Krypton for a year, how will he adjust to being back? How can he cope with the demons that haunt him? This excellent story explores themes of violence, but never forgets that Lois and Clark have a love which makes them stronger together than when alone.

This is only my 2nd attempt at putting a story "out there", so please be kind. These characters, of course, are not mine. I just enjoy thinking about them and what I'd like to see them do.

The set up for this story is different from what occurred in the show. Clark has been away on New Krypton for about a year. During that time, Lois has spent more time with the Kents. I apologize in advance to any fanfic writers who may recognize elements of their stories in this one. I have read so many great stories on the different sites that I fear I've blurred the line between what is mine and what I read. If I have copied you, please consider that imitation is the highest form of flattery and not that I was attempting to plagiarize.

The story and songs quoted are enclosed by asterisks and credited at the end of the story.

And now, please to begin.


Martha and Jonathan Kent sat on the front porch, swaying slightly in the swing. It was a comforting way to bring the day to an end, sitting close and listening to the sounds of the night in the country. The peace was disrupted by the barking of the farm's dog. Jonathan looked towards the barn. Into the circle of light cast from the porch, a shadow of a man appeared. He was thin, almost painfully so. His hair was cut very close to his head and he limped slowly forward, bearing much of his weight on a cane. The image reminded Jonathan of newsreels he had seen of survivors of war camps. The tensing of Jonathan's body alerted Martha, and she too, looked out into the yard. What she saw was her adopted son, Clark Kent. She wanted to call to him, but her breath caught in her throat and she could only whisper his name. At that, both parents leapt to their feet in a race to greet their son.

Martha wholeheartedly embraced her son while Jonathan stood close by, patting his son on the back. She relinquished Clark briefly to allow his father a chance to greet him properly. Clark mustered a smile for his parents and drew a shaky breath. "Mom? Where's Lois?"

At that moment, Lois Lane walked out of the house drying her hands, oblivious to the drama unfolding in the yard.

"Dishes are done," she directed towards the swing, where she expected to see Martha and Jonathan. When she saw that it was empty, her eyes were drawn to the yard.

Martha and Jonathan moved aside, allowing Clark and Lois to see each other for the first time in almost a year. Clark stood frozen to the spot, his knees shaking and threatening to not hold him upright. Uncertainty was evidenced in his body language. It seemed to Clark that Lois stood and stared at him for an eternity. She took in his gaunt figure, a shadow of the vibrant man he used to be.

For Lois' part, the only struggle she was experiencing was to reconcile within herself the reality that Clark was actually here in the flesh, not just haunting her dreams. The dish towel slipped from her hand as she raced from the porch, across the yard, to throw her arms around Clark's neck.

The reality of having Lois close caused Clark to hesitate before wrapping his arms around her. He could not deny his body's automatic response. All his senses became alert to her scent, the sounds she made, the whole feel of her. Having her body pressed against his was sweet torture. He squeezed her tightly and then pulled her away from him so that he could see her, face to face. Clark swallowed to move the lump down his throat and asked in a small voice, "Do you still love me?"

Lois couldn't believe the question and that it had come from Clark.

She said simply, "Yes." And before she could reassure him more, Clark pulled her to him again, holding onto her as if she were his life itself. Lois sensed a desperation in Clark and she did her best to soothe him with her touch, stroking his hair, shoulders, any part of him she could reach.

Jonathan and Martha had moved into the house to warm dinner for Clark, and to give the other couple time alone. But now, their own desire to care for their son became too strong and Martha called to them to come in to eat. Lois and Clark released one another and Lois moved to take Clark's hand and lead him into the house.

Clark hesitated, "Wait. I need.." and he hesitated to verbalize his need for his cane, merely looking from Lois to the cane on the ground beside him. Lois hesitated for only a second before retrieving the cane and placing Clark's other arm around her shoulder.

"You have me to help you now."


Clark sat down to a full plate of pot roast with potatoes and carrots and obviously homemade bread. After his first few bites, Clark commented, "I've really missed your cooking, Mom."

Lois and Martha shared a smile. "I didn't make this, Clark. It was Lois' turn to cook tonight."

Clark was not at all successful in hiding his surprise at this revelation. Lois just smiled, happy that her cooking had passed muster.

The family made small talk as Clark ate, with most of the conversation directed at catching Clark up on what had been happening during the time he had been away on New Krypton. Clark seemed to purposely avoid any discussion of what he had done during his time away. Martha got up to cut Clark a slice of apple pie. Lois moved to the refrigerator to pour a glass of buttermilk and Jonathan moved Clark's dirty dishes to the sink. Martha placed the pie in front of Clark, resting her other hand on his shoulder. Clark stared intently at his mother's hand on his plate.

Clasping her small hand in both of his larger ones, Clark brought his mother's hand to his cheek and said in a small voice, like a lost child found, "It's good to be home."

Martha held Clark to her breast and rocked him. Lois saw and heard this exchange take place and had to look away, not wanting Clark to see her cry so easily. Jonathan was fighting tears himself and placed his arm around Lois, even as she placed her head on his shoulder.

Clark seemed to gather some control and was able to release Martha's hand. She straightened and said something about checking the wash, wiping her eyes as she left the room. Lois gave Clark his glass of buttermilk and sat down to enjoy his company. Jonathan left the room to check on his wife.


It was decided that Lois would give up the bed for Clark and take the couch. Lois knew Clark had to be exhausted. The gaunt, sunken look to his face was not something she was accustomed to seeing in Clark and she wanted to do all she could to speed his recovery.

She visited Clark in his old room wanting to see him one more time before being separated by sleep. Clark was under the covers but smiled and held his arms out to Lois when she entered the room. Lois immediately moved to his bedside and stretched out on top of the covers beside him, resting her head on his shoulder and wrapping an arm around his waist.

"Are you cold?" she asked, talking note of the long sleeve t-shirt he was wearing.

Clark hesitated, in a way that seemed familiar to Lois, and said, "Yeah, I guess I need to get accustomed to the cool nights again."

"Here I was, hoping to see more of you." Lois teased, raising up on her elbow to be able to see Clark. She wiggled her eyebrows to add to her teasing remark. To her surprise, Clark didn't respond as she expected to her comment. In fact, his mood seemed to darken.

"Clark? What's wrong? What's bothering you?"

Clark swallowed and shifted his gaze from the ceiling to Lois' face. Finally seeing her again, having her close, seeing such hope in her eyes — Clark began to hope, too. He framed her face with his hands, brushing her brow, her cheeks and lips with his fingers. Lois' response encouraged him and he drew her face to his to brush his lips along the same lines his fingers had just touched.

Lois' body tingled at Clark's touch. Her dreams had been haunted by his image and her body tortured by the memory of his touch. To have him here now and to be lying in bed with him made it hard to remember all the reasons they needed to go slow. They had agreed to wait until they WERE married. Clark was obviously weakened from his experiences on New Krypton. So much had happened in their time apart that they needed to discuss. However, none of that seemed as important as how she felt at the moment and she threw herself into the kiss, exploring Clark's mouth and roaming kisses across his face and neck.

When she realized how heavily she was breathing and the effect she was also having on Clark, she snuggled into the crook of Clark's neck and shoulder and took a deep breath. Clark also breathed deeply and squeezed Lois.

"Maybe it's a good thing you're wearing that t-shirt. I might have a hard time resisting that body of yours." Lois teased.

Lois could sense a difference in Clark, a slight change in the way he held her.

"Yeah. I'm really pretty tired. Maybe we should say good night."

Lois knew something was not right but, after a year apart, she questioned her own ability to read Clark. His time away and the things he had seen on New Krypton had changed Clark and, thus far, they'd not had time to discuss it. It would take time and she was grateful they'd have plenty of that here on the farm. Lois sat up. She pulled Clark's covers up and kissed him on the cheek.

With her mouth close to his ear, she whispered, "I love you, Clark Kent."

Clark placed his hand on top of Lois' resting on his chest. He said in a quiet, small voice, "I love you, too."


Lois was having trouble getting any sleep on the couch. It wasn't that the couch was uncomfortable. She had taken many naps on it. Lois was restless and she couldn't place her finger on the reason. Was it the fact that Clark was finally home? Was it because she was separated from him when all she wanted was to be beside him? She decided if she looked in on him, she could put her mind at ease and get some sleep.

She slipped upstairs and could hear a low sound coming from Clark's room. She hurried to the door and looked in. What she saw broke her heart. Clark was sitting up with his knees hugged to his chest. He was rocking slightly, banging his back against the headboard. His covers were tangled and pushed off the bed. He was sweating and mumbling something, which had a chant-like cadence to it. Lois chastised herself for not responding sooner to her feeling of unease, for not sensing a problem.

She rushed across the room and crawled into his bed, wrapping herself around Clark and holding him to her. She rubbed his back vigorously and wiped the sweat and tears from Clark's face, holding his head to her chest. Clark didn't immediately respond and Lois began whispering nonsense to Clark, a desperation rising in her as she realize he wasn't waking up from whatever dream had him in its grip. She continued rocking with him, even as he maintained his chant under his breath. Lois could not hear what he was saying well enough to understand him.

Martha stuck her head in the door, also having been awakened by the sounds of Clark struggling in his sleep. When she saw that Lois was there for Clark, she slipped out unnoticed.

Sometime during the early morning hours, Clark calmed and he and Lois settled to sleep. He never seemed to waken fully to acknowledge Lois' presence. However, at some level, she had reached him and he was able to sleep. They lay together, their bodies intertwined, each comforting the other.

Clark woke first, smiling to himself at the familiar smells - breakfast cooking downstairs, cows and hay outside, Lois beside him. That last smell had him opening his eyes to look at the small woman holding him close to her breast in almost a protective way. He wondered at what point she had come to him and if she had been witness to his recurring nightmare.

Lois began to stir and Clark moved onto his elbows to watch her wake up.

"Morning, Gorgeous."

"Hi ya', Handsome." At that response, a shadow passed over Clark's face.

"I think I'll jump in the shower before going down for breakfast. We'd better not lay around. Mom doesn't like to serve a cold breakfast." And Clark was up and gone.

Lois was surprised by how quickly Clark's mood changed at her comment. His mood had also changed last night when she had teased him about his long-sleeved t-shirt. And to top it off, Clark had not mentioned his nightmare and had run off before she could bring it up. What was the common denominator to her observations? What happened to Clark on New Krypton? What hell did Clark live through that had marked him, body and soul? Lois had noticed the scar above his eye and the one on the back of his head and the limp, necessitating the use of a cane. Clark had never had his hair this short before so there was some story behind that, as well. It didn't take Lois holding Clark for her to notice how terribly thin he was. All of those things alarmed Lois greatly but she felt Clark needed some time to decompress before he could talk about it.

Clark had a hearty breakfast and spent the morning around the farm with his father. Lois forced herself to let Jonathan have time alone with Clark, although her heart's desire was to glue herself to Clark's side and never leave him alone ever again. However, she did want some time to discuss with Martha her concerns regarding her observations of Clark and she knew his parents needed time alone with him, as well.

Everyone was anxious for a stretch of warm weather to allow Clark time to soak up some sun to speed his recovery. It was unclear how much time he would need under the Earth's sun before his powers returned and the physical scars faded. Unfortunately, it was the gray area between the end of winter and the start of spring and the days remained cloudy, cold, and wet. Martha did her best to provide Clark's favorite meals to help him get back all the weight he had lost. Soon, his face lost some of its gauntness but there was still a guardedness to him that his loved ones were unaccustomed to seeing. He did not talk about his experiences on New Krypton, only to say that his responsibilities as a noble were met and he was home now. Jonathan hoped his time with Clark would build up Clark's endurance and the physical labor might free Clark's mind so that he could talk. Clark had reduced his reliance on the cane and was left with only a slight limp now but Clark avoided the topic of his year's experience and continued to carry his ghosts alone. Lois knew the ghosts were real because she spent time comforting Clark each night from two in the morning, when the ghosts would come, to dawn, when the coming of light seemed to chase them from Clark's room. He continued to struggle in his sleep with the dream, maintaining the chant, which Lois still could not decipher.


After two weeks of gray weather, a day came that was sunny and warm. Martha prepared a picnic lunch for Lois and Clark and sent them in the old truck to the back field where a grove of trees bordered a small lake. Even though it was warm and Lois was in short sleeves and jeans, Clark continued in his practice of wearing long sleeve shirts.

When they reached the lake, Clark suggested a walk and Lois went along. However, she was anxious for Clark to spend as much time as possible exposed to the sun.

"Okay, Kent, shed the clothes. Martha sent sun block so you don't have to worry about burning your sensitive skin." Lois hoped a light attitude would help Clark respond positively.

Again though, Clark froze like a frightened rabbit. Lois decided she had danced around this enough.

"Clark, what's wrong? You're scaring me."

Clark responded quickly to the panic in Lois' voice. "That's the last thing I want to do, Lois. But I am afraid I'll scare you."

"Honey, nothing about you frightens me except living without you. You can tell me anything but don't tell me nothing." Lois placed her hands on Clark's chest and moved in close. "I love you, Clark." She sensed a need in him to be reassured of that fact and vowed to tell him as often as she could. "You can tell me anything."

He cupped her face with his hands and sweetly kissed her lips. "I love you, too." And then he took a deep breath, as if to fortify himself for what was to come. "Things happened to me on New Krypton. Things that changed me."

Lois reached up to outline the scar above Clark's right eye. "You mean more than just physical scars, don't you?"

"Yes. Things I'm not sure what to do with or how to handle."

"We can handle them together, Clark. You are not alone in this. You don't ever have to be alone again."

That comment made Clark attempt a smile but his lips were quivering and his try only pulled up one corner of his mouth. Clark reached for the top buttons to begin taking off his shirt.

"Let me do it?" Lois asked as she reached for his buttons.

Clark relinquished the task and rested his hands at Lois' waist, watching her face as more of his chest was revealed. Lois unbuttoned Clark's shirt and pushed it open at the shoulders, revealing a circular scar on his right shoulder. With a shaky finger, she touched the indentation. Clark could see the tears building in her eyes and he hastened to reassure her.

"It doesn't hurt any more and it'll fade after I spend some time in the sun."

The way Clark hesitated on that last statement made something click in Lois' brain and she looked into his face. Instead of the guarded look he had had on the previous occasions she had teased about his body, there was a hopefulness there and Lois seized the moment. This was uncharted territory for Lois. Clark had never seemed the least bit self-conscious about his body. After all, he wore the red and blue suit. Lois felt like she'd never been particularly successful in hiding her appreciation for Clark's body and, since they'd become engaged, she had taken advantage of any opportunity to familiarize herself with the feel of Clark. But now, she realized, Clark was afraid of her response to the changes in his body brought about by his experiences on New Krypton.

"Clark, while I adore your body," and she had to smile at herself and the slight embarrassment she felt at the admission, "it's your heart and soul and spirit and mind that I love with all my heart. That will never change. Even if the package does."

This seemed to reassure Clark, even though Lois felt she would need to remind him of this fact. She continued to push Clark's shirt free of his chest and she noticed a jagged, slashing scar across his abdomen and on his right side.

"It was an ice blade fight." he said simply.

Lois traced the scar across his stomach and felt the muscles clench and quiver. She placed both hands on Clark's upper chest and pressed her cheek to his sternum.

Breathing deeply of Clark's scent, she sighed, "It feels so good to be this close to you again."

Clark reached behind Lois to unbutton his cuffs and hugged Lois to him. "Yes, it does. But there's more."

He released his hold on Lois and shrugged out of his shirt. When he did, he placed his hands on top of Lois', still resting on his chest. It was then that she noticed the scars circling both of his wrists. Lois moved her hands to trace the newly revealed scars, wondering what else Clark had to reveal.

She looked up, a question in her eyes and Clark responded, "I was captured by Lord Nor's men and whipped." With that, he turned his back to Lois.

Lois could not catch the sob that escaped, even as her hand flew to her mouth. She detected the droop in Clark's shoulders and she moved immediately to reassure him. Clark's back was criss-crossed with numerous scars, some thin and long, some thick and jagged, many over lapping, as if he had been whipped on more than one occasion. The scars seemed to extend below the waistband of his sweat pants and Lois wondered if he'd been subjected to the further indignity of being stripped naked before receiving the beatings. Lois stroked Clark's back, gently caressing the scars and brushing them with her lips. She wrapped her arms around him, pressing herself to his back, and he grasped her hands in the front.

They stood that way for a time, each comforting the other, until Lois released Clark and wiped the tears from her cheeks and eyes. "I'd better put some sun screen on you. I don't want you to get your first sunburn since becoming an adult."

Clark stood still and willingly gave himself over to Lois' attentions. He watched her closely, attempting to gauge her mood. He had to admit that it felt wonderful to have Lois' hands ministering to him.

When she had finished, Lois said, "Okay, off with your pants."

Clark smiled and teased, "All right, but that's as far as I'm going unless you take something off, too."

Lois giggled at his remark, thankful to hear Clark finally tease her. "No, I think I'll wait and surprise you."

Clark couldn't hide the blush that spread from his chest to his face. He, too, had always had a potent response to Lois' body and had explored as much as he felt proper on the occasions they'd spent together on the couch.

He removed his pants and gave a very limited description of the scars on his legs, explaining the limp was the result of a piercing blow delivered during hand to hand combat.

Lois and Clark spent the rest of the morning walking the fields and woods or dangling their toes in the lake. The lunch Martha had made was delicious and they rested under the trees, napping during the afternoon. Clark rested his head in Lois' lap and she used the time he was asleep to refamiliarize herself with the contours of his face. She also examined some of his scars. Lois wondered at the horrors he had experienced and how deeply the wounds cut.

By early afternoon, a chill was returning and they packed up and headed home. Clark went upstairs to shower and Lois went to the kitchen to ask Martha how she could help with dinner. Martha sent Lois out to the chicken house for eggs.


Since Lois had been with Clark all day, she had avoided thinking too much about what she had learned. Clark had finally opened up somewhat and shared with her some of his experiences on New Krypton. However, she couldn't help but feel he was still holding back. She didn't need her reporter's instinct to tell her that much. Her love for Clark and desire to know him at his very core told her that he was still guarding something. Was he protecting her from the revelation or was he protecting himself from having to relive it or deal with it?

She mulled these things over as she gathered the eggs and placed them in the basket. Holding a still warm egg in her hand, she was reminded of an experiment from elementary school. She closed her fingers around the egg and squeezed. Placing equal pressure on the fragile shell protected the egg and she couldn't crack it. It was only when she exerted pressure on a specific spot that the shell gave way. Lois desperately hoped that Clark had been protected. Was his heart still intact? Could he face his demons and move past them?

Lois' heart was full of anguish and fear and she had held it in all day, making her own effort to protect the one she loved. As she approached the house in the twilight of the day, the smell of dinner cooking and the warm lights of the porch made her hesitate. Everything seemed in its place on the outside but she knew that turmoil lurked in the shadows, waiting to claim Clark under the covering of night. And now, for her, some of the demons had faces. She stopped. Lois pulled back around the corner of the well house and leaned against the cool stucco. A heartwrenching sob welled up in her and such sadness gripped her that it felt like her heart was in a vice. All day, she had been brave for Clark, not wanting him to see how much she hurt for him but now, she had to let some of that out or she wouldn't be able to face him. He couldn't see her cry. Not now. She needed to be strong to comfort him and hold him.

Her tears overwhelmed her and she pressed the back of her hand to her mouth to keep the sobs from escaping. She slid down the wall to a sitting position and the basket of eggs slipped from her hand and spilled onto the ground. Lois pulled her knees close and continued to try to stifle her cries, hoping to get a grip on her emotions.

In the kitchen, Martha came to the point in her cooking where she needed the eggs she had sent Lois for. A sufficient amount of time had passed for Lois to accomplish the task and Martha wondered if the rooster had cornered her again. When Lois had first been out to the chicken house, she had trouble rousting the setting hens from their nests and had had an unfortunate run-in with the rooster. The rooster had backed her into the feed room and, fortunately, Martha had come and shown her how to make the rooster back down. Martha wondered if the same thing had not happened again so she turned off the burners under dinner and headed out the back door.

As Martha's eyes adjusted to the dark, she noticed some eggs lying on the lawn. She walked briskly to the corner of the well house and stopped in her tracks when she saw Lois, obviously distraught, curled up next to the wall. Dropping to her knees beside Lois, she placed a hand on the younger woman's back. Lois started at the touch, so consumed was she by her grief that she had not heard Martha approach.

"Lois, Dear, has something happened?"

"Oh, Martha!" and with that, Lois fell against Martha and Martha comforted Lois by stroking her hair and patting her back.

When Lois felt like she could speak without breaking down again, she wiped her face and squared her shoulders. "Oh, Martha. I saw it today. I mean, Clark showed me and I can't get the images out of my head."

Martha was confused by Lois' admission but knew that Lois must have been rattled by the experience and would explain when she could. However, Martha was concerned that this had everything to do with her son and wanted to know more. "What happened today, dear? Did something happen to Clark? Is he all right?"

"It's not what happened today, Martha. It's what happened to Clark while he was on New Krypton. He was.." and Lois hesitated, realizing how hard it must have been for Clark to make the admission. "He was beaten."

Martha covered her mouth with her hand and tears welled up in her eyes.

"Martha, the things Clark must have endured and been subjected to. I cannot even fathom how such a gentle, sweet man could face such atrocities and go on." Lois knew Martha needed to know more and so she explained. "Clark showed me his wrists where he had been bound, and his back, where he had been beaten. He said Lord Nor's men did this to him when he was captured. He has scars from fights, as well. Martha, Clark has never purposely hurt another person in his life, even though he is the strongest man alive. And now, he carries the scars from battles and attacks and my heart is breaking because I know how tender his heart is. How can he endure?" and with that Martha pulled Lois into a hug and each woman cried for a man they loved.

Martha pulled away first and took a tissue from the pocket of her apron to wipe the tears, first from Lois' eyes and then from her own.

"Yes, Clark is gentle and tender but he has a strength that has nothing to do with his super powers. And he has us to help love him through this."

"I do love him, Martha. But my heart is breaking and I don't want Clark to know."

"Maybe he should know, Lois. It's one way to demonstrate your love for him, that you hurt when he does and you rejoice when he is glad. Don't hide from him, Lois. Be honest with him and give him the freedom to do the same. The fact that he kept this from us by not talking about it and trying to hide the scars is his way of protecting us. Help him to see that you aren't afraid of what he still has to reveal because I think he is hiding more and it may be worse than what he's already shown you."

Lois took in all that Martha had to say. She knew the older woman was wise in the ways of her son and in matters of the heart and Lois would do anything to help Clark be whole again.


The evening passed uneventfully and soon it was time for bed. Lois made her way to Clark's room to say goodnight, as was her evening ritual. She had thought a lot about Martha's advice and how she could implement it. These thoughts were on her mind as she sat beside Clark, who was reclining in bed. The couple did not speak immediately, each enjoying just being together.

"It's been quite a day, hasn't it?" he began.

"Yes, it has. Clark, thank you for being honest with me today. For showing me what you did." Even now, Lois had trouble putting what she had seen into words. "I know it must have been very hard for you to do but I won't ever turn away from you even when it hurts."

Clark tensed at Lois' last comment. "I'm sorry, Lois. I never meant to hurt you."

Lois hastened to reassure him. "No! Don't be afraid to tell me when it hurts. I want to be there. And if that means hurting with you then I'm not afraid. I'm not here just for the good times."

Clark remembered her family's approach to problems, the way they avoided talking about them till the problems drove them apart. Then he thought about his own family, how his parents talked about everything, even when it hurt.

"How did this happen? How is it you face problems head on when your parents ran from them and I try to hide my problems when my parents taught me to stand up to them?"

"I don't know. I just know I want us to be open about how we're feeling. I don't want to hide and keep secrets." Lois said.

Clark smiled. "Thank you for that gift."

Lois leaned down to brush her lips to Clark's and then sat back up.

"I thought I'd read you a bedtime story tonight."

"Feeling motherly toward me, are you?" Clark teased.

"Anything but, Buster, so you be a good boy." Lois reached behind her for the book.

"This story is Guess How Much I Love You." Lois laid down in the crook of Clark's arm and began to read.

"'He wanted to be sure that Big Nutbrown Hare was listening.

'Guess how much I love you,' he said.

'Oh, I don't' think I could guess that,' said Big Nutbrown Hare.

'This much,' said Little Nutbrown Hare, stretching out his arms as wide as they could go.

Big Nutbrown Hare had even longer arms.

'But I love you this much,' he said.

Hmm, that is a lot, thought Little Nutbrown Hare.

'I love you as high as I can reach,' said Little Nutbrown Hare.

'I love you as high as I can reach,' said Big Nutbrown Hare. That is very high, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I had arms like that.

Then Little Nutbrown Hare had a good idea. He tumbled upside down and reached up the tree trunk with his feet.

'I love you all the way up to my toes!' he said.

'And I love you all the way to your toes,' said Big Nutbrown Hare, swinging him up over his head.

'I love you as high as I can hop!' laughed Little Nutbrown Hare, bouncing up and down.

'But I love you as high as I can hop,' smiled Big Nutbrown Hare — and he hopped so high that his ears touched the branches above. That's good hopping, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I could hop like that.

'I love you all the way down the lane as far as the river,' cried Little Nutbrown Hare.

'I love you across the river and over the hills,' said Big Nutbrown Hare.

That's very far, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. He was almost too sleepy to think anymore. Then he looked beyond the thornbushes, out into the big dark

night. Nothing could be farther than the sky.

'I love you right up to the moon,' he said, and closed his eyes.

'Oh, that's far,' said Big Nutbrown Hare. 'That is very, very far.' Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves."

Lois sat up and placed a hand on Clark's chest.

"'He leaned over and kissed him good night.'"

Which she did.

"'Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile,'" and Lois set the book aside and said, "'I love you right up to the moon — and back.'"

Lois drew aimless patterns on Clark's chest through his t-shirt.

"Do you think you could take this off tonight? I mean, unless you're really cold."

Clark shook his head and smiled. "I'm definitely not cold." And with that, he sat up and reached behind his head to grab the neck of the shirt. He pulled it off in one motion to toss it on the floor. When he lay down again, Lois went back to stroking Clark's chest. The soft touch of Lois' fingers and the way she bit on her bottom lip in concentration was undoing Clark's resolve. When Lois leaned down to brush her lips across a nipple, he couldn't keep a moan from escaping.

Lois looked up at the sound and said, "Is this okay?"

"Yes," Clark breathed and Lois continued her assault.

She kissed her way to his abdomen and trailed kisses specifically along the scar across his stomach. Clark arched into her touch and she began to work her way back up to his other nipple, all the while stroking Clark's sides. Clark entwined his fingers in Lois' hair and massaged her neck, encouraging her to continue. She reached the scar at his shoulder and placed light kisses there before moving on to his neck. She wasn't so gentle there as she licked and sucked her way to his earlobe. By this time, she was prostrate on top of Clark and he had moved his hands under her shirt to stroke her bare back. The sensation of Lois pressed against his reclining form, her mouth doing wonderful things to his neck, and the silky feel of her skin under his hands had Clark gasping. Clark's state of arousal finally registered to Lois. She, herself, had been lost in the same sensations and pulled away to take a deep breath.

She groaned. "When are you going to marry me, Kent, and make an honest woman of me?"

"What are you doing tonight?"

"Probably taking a cold shower, after this," she replied.

"Want some company?"

They both had to laugh at the situation they had gotten themselves in to and Lois sat up. "I think this is where I make my exit."

Clark cupped Lois' face in his hand and said, "'We love those who know the worst of us and don't turn their faces away.' Thank you for loving me, Lois."

Lois smiled and blinked back tears. "Sometimes I forget how different you are from other men I've known, Clark Kent. Good night." With that, she slipped from the room, not knowing the chain of events her comment would set into motion that night.


It had been 17 days since Clark's return and, from the first night, Lois had gone to him when the nightmares came. Tonight, she heard the rhythmic thumping and she quickened her step. Although her presence had yet to keep Clark from experiencing his recurring dream, she had wanted to arrive before he started his nightly rocking. She entered the room and was startled by what she saw. Clark wasn't in bed. In fact, the bed was practically dismantled. The mattress was off and leaning against the box springs. The sheets had been pulled off and were lying on the floor.

Lois zeroed in on the thumping sound in the dimly lit room and found Clark squeezed into the space between the wall and his old dresser. He was mumbling his chant and banging his head. Lois rushed to him and was shocked to see that his head was bleeding over his right eye from where he was hitting his head against the dresser. Lois called to him as she pressed her hand to his head to stem the trickle of blood. Clark continued rocking but Lois' hand now took the brunt of the blows. In the back of her mind, Lois was thankful Clark's super powers had yet to return.

Lois grasped Clark's forearm and tried to pull him from his hiding place but he wouldn't budge. She was beginning to panic when she heard Martha enter the room.


"Martha! Help! I can't wake Clark up."

Jonathan entered the room with Martha and they set to work. Martha saw that Clark was bleeding and went for a wet washcloth and some ice. Jonathan leaned into the dresser and pushed it away from Clark. Then he moved to the bed to set it right.

Lois squeezed in beside Clark to hold him and he seemed to calm somewhat. Martha returned to clean Clark's cut. Once the blood was washed away, she was relieved to see it wasn't deep. She used two butterfly Band-Aids to close the cut. Jonathan came back to help Lois move Clark to the bed. Clark didn't fight their help and it was obvious he was not awake.

Martha pulled the covers back so that Lois and Jonathan could put Clark to bed. Lois lay down beside Clark and he snuggled in beside her. Martha placed a clean, dry cloth over his eye and gave Lois the ice pack. She leaned down to kiss Clark on the forehead, then did the same for Lois.

"We'll just be down the hall if you need anything."

Lois let out the breath she had been holding and mouthed, "thank you" before laying her cheek against the top of Clark's head.

Jonathan and Martha went to their bedroom and climbed into bed, moving to the middle so that they could lie together.

"Clark and I are going fishing tomorrow, Martha. It's time we had a talk."

Martha hugged Jonathan tighter and said a prayer of thanks for her husband.


Jonathan chose a secluded spot on the river for their morning of fishing. The weren't likely to catch much here but fishing was the last thing on Jonathan's mind. He knew his boy was hurting and he wanted to help. How he would do this was another matter.

Jonathan steered clear of discussing Clark's nightmare until midmorning, when they'd had time for the joy of fishing to do it's work of relaxing the mind and body. Never one to beat around the bush though, Jonathan jumped right in when he felt the time was right.

"Clark, we need to talk about what happened last night."

Clark looked somewhat sheepish. "You mean my dream?"

Jonathan couldn't help but smile at the understatement. "Yeah, but nightmare is more like it. You're obviously dealing with something that's got you spooked. What is it that's haunting you, Son? What is this nightmare about?"

Clark sighed in frustration. "That's just it, Dad. I don't know. I mean, I don't remember what the dream's about. I just wake up sore and tired and I don't remember anything."

"Nothing? You don't remember anything about the dream? Have you tried to think about what happens when you have this dream?" Jonathan couldn't help but think there was more.

"Don't you think I've tried to remember!" Clark was obviously upset. "I'm sorry, Dad. I know you just want to help but I honestly don't remember. I wish I could. It's so frustrating."

"Well, Lois has tried to wake you from the nightmare and, I know from last night, you can't be roused. We had you up and walking and your mother used a wet cloth on your face and that didn't wake you. Maybe we could get a counselor who could help you remember the dream and how to deal with it."

"How, Dad? Superman's not back yet and Clark Kent never had the kind of experiences that would cause this sort of reaction." Clark shook his head. "No. It's been a year since I maintained two separate identities. I don't think I'm ready to do that again with someone who's a professional at getting to the bottom of things."

They both stared at the corks on their lines and tried to figure out a course of action.

Finally, Clark spoke. "Dad? Have you known men who've come back from war?"

"Sure." Jonathan wasn't certain what Clark wanted to know so he waited for him to ask more.

"What were they like when they came home? I mean, how did they deal with their wartime experiences?"

Jonathan thought a moment and replied, "There were some fellas that seemed to step right back into the life they had left but there were some guys who didn't. They really struggled."

Clark forged on. "What do you mean struggled?

"Well, they had a hard time relating to their families again and holding down any jobs."

"Why do you think there were some who made it and other who didn't?"

"Well, I suppose some of it had to do with the type of action they saw and how much of it they saw. Another big part of it was probably their personality. And I guess it seemed to help if they had someone or something to come home to." Jonathan hesitated and added, "But there were some that just never did seem to fit in again. It was like they didn't belong anymore."


Martha and Jonathan made their excuses and left for an overnight stay in Wichita. Both knew that Lois and Clark would enjoy the time alone and probably needed it. After all, they were adults used to living on their own, not with their parents.

Lois had insisted that Clark take a nap while she prepared dinner. She enjoyed surprising Clark with her emerging skills as a cook. Lois arranged the table with candlelight and china, hoping to set the mood for a relaxing yet romantic evening. Clark was duly impressed with her efforts and took every opportunity to shower her with sincere compliments. He commented on her cooking, choice of menu, ambience, and looks but mostly her thoughtfulness.

After they had finished dessert, Clark invited Lois into the den and, while she sat on the couch, he went to the bookcase to retrieve a thin book.

"I want to read you something from one of my favorite poets. Guess I was inspired when you read to me the other night."

Lois situated herself in the corner of the couch, waiting in anticipation. She always appreciated these glimpses into Clark's interests. Clark sat on the edge of the couch, resting his elbows on his knees.

"This guy had a local TV show in New Orleans. I caught it one summer when I worked down there. It was called 'Jim Metcalf's Journal'. He would introduce us to the local flavor by taking us to visit folks in south Louisiana- just ordinary people living extraordinary lives. He would start the show by saying 'And now, please to begin.' And he'd finish it with one of his poems. He really had such a way with words."

Lois raised her eyebrows, "Had?"

"Yeah, he died of cancer several years ago. I got Mom all four of his books. I knew she'd love his work, too."

Clark opened the thin book and began.

"The title of the poem is 'Some Other Time Around'"

*I think we must have loved



some other time around.

but I cannot recall

the setting

or the years.

I think the part I can remember

the part I'm calling now is but a page

a line or two, perhaps,

From a story that began

a long, long time ago;

when God was younger

and the world was newer

and we played other roles.

And when we turned to darkness,

when we no longer were,

the love we shared

somehow survived

and lived the centuries through.

Then we came back and claimed it

and thought that it was new.

We did not remember

that we had it for our own before.

We did not know

it had grown stronger

while we were away.

I look at you

and wonder

what other times

we've shared.

I might have seen your face

through midnight fog at Stonehenge.

Or seen the fires

when Rome burned,


in your eyes.

But I cannot recall.

I hope that if we meet again

Ten thousand years from now,

I will remember

how you look tonight

this moment

just before

I kiss you.*"

And Clark did just that.

Lois blinked back tears. "That's beautiful, Clark. It's almost like he knows us. Did you ever get to meet him?"

"He spoke at Tulane and he autographed a book for me. I really wish I'd had a chance to just sit and talk with him. A book signing is so impersonal." Clark closed the book and pushed back from the table. "Now, I'd like you to relax on the couch while I do the dishes."

Lois smiled. "Deal." She moved into the den and Clark called to her.

"Why don't you put some music on?"

Lois went to the stereo and found some Van Morrison. She cued up the CD to 'Moondance' and turned it up enough for Clark to hear in the kitchen. When the music started to play, she swayed to the music, dancing her way to the door into the kitchen. There, she stopped and leaned against the door jam, a smile spreading across her face. Clark was also swaying to the music, dancing as one always should — as if no one is looking. She continued to watch and was especially intrigued by the move Clark did with his hips. She was amazed again at how naturally sensual Clark was. The sexual tension was broken for her, though, when Clark finished putting the dishes away and used the whisk he was drying as a microphone, singing along.

*"And every.. time I touch you, you'll just tremble inside. I know.. how much you want me then. You can't hide. Can I just have one more moondance with you.. my love. Can I just make some more romance with you.. my love."

During the interlude, Lois went to Clark and wrapped her arms around his waist from behind. Clark grinned and turned around. They began dancing together. The tune was conducive to swing dancing and they twirled and swayed one another around the kitchen. Lois sang the last of the song to Clark and he finished the song by dipping Lois. It felt good to laugh together again and Clark pulled Lois into a hug. The next song on the CD began, 'Crazy Love', and Clark pulled back, "May I have this dance?"

Lois looked up at Clark, love showing in her eyes and said, "Yes."

Clark moved to take Lois' hand and they began to sway. They continued to gaze into one another's eyes, the lightness of the previous dance gone, replaced by a smoldering sensuality. Each played with the other's hand, stroking and intertwining their fingers.

*I can hear her heart beat for a thousand miles

And the heavens open every time she smiles

And when I come to her that's where I belong

Yet I'm running to her like a river's song

She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love

She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love

"I like this song," Clark whispered. He leaned in, brushing his cheek against Lois'. "It reminds me of you." He whispered.

**I'd remove the second 'He whispered' **

*She's got a fine sense of humor when I'm feeling low down

And when I come to her when the sun goes down

She takes away my trouble, take away my grief

Take away my heartache, I go right to sleep*

Clark's voice close to her ear, the rumble of his chest, the way he was holding her, the sweet message of the song — all these touched Lois. She stroked Clark's hair and the back of his neck, nuzzling his neck with her lips.

Clark released her hand, where it rested on his chest and moved to encircle her waist. He began drawing delicious patterns on her back, alternating firm strokes with feather light ones. He did not contain himself to her back but stroked her sides, making Lois shift. Part of it was ticklish but most of it was very erotic to her.

* Yes I need her in the daytime

Yes I need her in the night

Yes I want to throw my arms around her

Kiss her hug her kiss her hug her tight

And when I'm returning from so far away

She gives me some sweet lovin' brighten up my day

Yes it makes me feel righteous, yes it makes me feel whole

Yes it makes me feel mellow down to my soul

She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love

She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love

She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love

She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love*

Lois' hands were not still either. She stroked Clark's chest and then moved out to his arm, squeezing his biceps and then moving to his shoulder and back. She moved from kissing his neck to his face, feathering light kisses at the corner of his mouth and teasing his lips, pulling the bottom one into a kiss.

Clark leaned down to deepen the kiss, moving one of his hands up to tangle itself in her hair. His other hand moved lower, pressing her lower body into closer contact with his as they continued to sway to the music. Lois also moved to Clark's lower back and she slipped her hands into his back pockets, enjoying the movement of muscle and flesh. By now, their kissing had become quite passionate. When the music ended Clark pulled back, breathing heavily. He looked down at Lois' lips, inviting after the attention they had received, and said, "Maybe we should take a walk. It's pretty brisk outside."

Lois swallowed to regain some of her composure and backed away from Clark. "Yeah, brisk is nice."


The walk in the cool night air helped them end the evening on a more relaxed note. This time, Clark came downstairs to tuck Lois in and kiss her goodnight. He had not been able to convince her to take back his bed even though she insisted she was comfortable on the couch. Clark sat beside Lois and made sure the covers were pulled up tight. He was playing with the lock of hair that fell across her forehead.

He smiled and said, "Good night." And sweetly kissed her lips. "Sweet dreams." Another kiss. "I love you." **this might read better if it read: ' … smile, said "good night.." and sweetly..* The last kiss lingered.

Lois smiled back. "Good night. Sweet dreams. I love you, too." She remembered the first time Clark had said that to her, when he had been particularly tired from a long rescue as Superman and she had helped him to bed. Before turning over to fall asleep, he had mumbled, "Goo nigh, sweedreams, I loveyou." The next day, when they met for breakfast, Lois asked him what he had said before falling asleep the night before. She had to mimic what she thought she had heard and Clark laughed at her interpretation. Then he explained that, from the time he was a small child, he and his parents had always said goodnight to one another by saying, "Good night. Sweet dreams. I love you." In fact, they had said it each night for as long as he could remember so that they often said it as one long phrase. He guessed he must have done the same thing last night because he was so tired and the phrase was such an ingrained nightly ritual.

During the night, Lois woke as usual to go to Clark. She moved to the stairs and paused at the first step, trying to hone in on a unfamiliar sound. It wasn't coming from upstairs, as she would have expected, but seemed to be coming from outside. She called out Clark's name, not really expecting a response but feeling better having said it. She turned and headed towards the back door, grabbing her jacket on the way. Once on the porch, she could distinctly hear the sound of someone chopping wood and speaking in a loud voice. She recognized the voice as Clark's. Alarmed, she hurried to the grove of trees behind the washhouse where the woodpile was.

She pulled up when she saw Clark. He was dressed in sweats and was methodically picking up a piece of wood, placing it on the block, and splitting it with one forceful blow of the axe. As he struck the wood, he would say something. She moved closer, realizing Clark had not yet noticed her watching.

"My name is Clark KENT." And down came the axe.

"My PARENTS are Jonathan and Martha Kent!" With each sentence, he split another piece of wood.

"I was raised in Smallville, KANSAS!

I LIVE in Metropolis, New Troy!

I am a REPORTER for the Daily Planet!

I LOVE Lois Lane

and she's going to marry ME!"

He picked up a bigger piece of wood and reared back.

"I DO BELONG!" he roared to the night sky as he came down hard on the wood.

Lois' heart broke to see Clark in such a state, realizing this was the litany he had chanted each night he had been home.

She called to him, "Clark?"

Clark started at his name and he seemed to need a moment before he could focus on Lois. When he looked at her, Lois could see the tears streaming down his face. She held out her arms.

"Oh, Baby." she whispered.

Clark dropped the axe and stumbled towards her. Before he reached her though, he dropped to his knees and Lois closed the gap. Clark threw his arms around Lois' waist and deep, wracking sobs came from him. Lois held him with all her strength, stroking his hair and shoulders and speaking to him in a soft but firm voice.

"I'm right here, Clark. I love you. I love you so much. We're going to get through this." She continued reassuring him and rocking him as one would a child who's heart is breaking.

Clark began to speak through his tears. "I was wrong, Lois. I was so wrong. I made us suffer. Everyone I loved suffered because I was duped. I was a fool and we all had to pay. I'm so sorry."

Lois had no idea what Clark was talking about but she sensed he needed to pour his heart out and she didn't want to stop the flow.

Clark spoke passionately. "I went to New Krypton because I thought they were my people, a part of my parents. I thought Zara and Ching's cause was noble and that I had an obligation to my birth parents to live up to my responsibilities, my birthright." Clark cried out. "But what I gave up - what I asked you to give up — was more precious than their cause. Their cause was selfish and wrong. I went thinking they were a utopian society, advanced in their ways." Clark paused. "They weren't," he said with scorn. "New Krypton's society is backwards and built on privilege or servitude by virtue of your birth and not anything you've done. The nobles rule the land and keep a whole group of people as their slaves with no rights and no hope of every having anything better for themselves or their children, no matter how hard they work."

Clark leaned back on his heels and looked up into Lois' face. He struggled to get his emotions under control.

"They didn't see it was wrong. They didn't see that owning another man and trading his family as if they were goods and not people was wrong. Even Zara and Ching. They just wanted to maintain their status and they wanted me to help them accomplish this. They tried to convince me that everyone would suffer under Lord Nor's rule but at least some would prosper under their command. I didn't know what to do. I was so angry that I had been fooled. That I had torn myself from you and now I just wanted to come home. To wash my hands of the whole thing."

Lois held Clark's face in her hands and wiped the tears from his cheek's with her thumbs.

"You're no fool. You did what you thought was right based the information you had. I believed them, too."

Clark shook his head. "No, you don't understand what I did." Clark lowered his head, unable to look Lois in the eye. "I .." He swallowed and pursed his lips. "I killed Nor."

Lois pulled Clark to her again, holding him and trying to convey her love for him. She didn't know what to say — how to tell him all that was going through her mind and heart at that moment. That Clark had acted out of a desperate situation, she was sure. She knew he was gentle, even with his immense strength. Lois wondered at what must have happened to drive him to this point.

"I couldn't fight as Zara and the other nobles did, the Elite. They stayed in the safety of their palaces and sent the people they owned to do their fighting. They called them Expendables." At this admission, Clark shook his head in disgust. "Nor, even though he called himself a Lord, was not a true Elite and he made no pretense about hating war. I believed he loved it. He loved the blood. It was sport for him. He joined in with no fear that he would be killed. He had too many Expendables around him who would die first."

"I decided if I was bound by my birth to be a part of this fight, then fight, I would- right along side the Expendables. Zara and the others warned me of the danger of my actions. If I were captured by Nor's men, he could force an end to the war and be the victor. I was willing to take that chance." Clark stood and led Lois to a plain wooden bench situated against the washhouse.

They both sat down, Lois continuing to hold Clark's hands. "But you were captured," she said.

"Yes. I was taken before Nor. He saw this as a gift, an easy way to drive the ruling Elite to their knees in submission to his will. He planned to use me to force their surrender. He knew their ways, that they were willing to sacrifice Expendables but were squeamish when it came to their own." Clark paused as if to bolster himself for the next part of the story. Lois reached out to caress his neck and stroke his shoulders. This seemed to strengthen him and he continued.

"Hair is part of a noble's image so my head was shaved. I was stripped and hung by my wrists to receive my punishment."

Lois pulled Clark to her, resting her cheek against his. Who was comforting whom at this point was difficult to tell. Clark straightened up but didn't look Lois in the eye yet.

"The physical punishment I could take. It was when Nor came to me in the middle of the night. He would kick me 'til I woke up and stood at attention. Then he would shine a bright light in my eyes and begin his tirade." At this, Clark stood and began pacing, his voice changing to sound like one possessed with the cancer of evil. "'You are no man, Lord Kal-El. You are neither noble, nor Krytonian, nor Earthling. You are a mongrel, raised by a weak people with no stomach for battle or power or rule. Why do you persist in prolonging your suffering? Why must you make me go to such lengths? Give up your fight and be done! Maybe in death you will find a place to belong because you don't belong here. The Elite use you for their purposes. The Expendables will let you do their work. And the Earthlings, the Earthlings fear you for your differences. You are a creature alone in the vast universe. Give up, Kal-El, Clark Kent. Give up.'"

With that, Clark stopped his pacing and turned to face Lois. He had such a look of despair on his face but he continued.

"I began to recite all the things I knew were true about myself and home here. I had to hold on to that or he would win."

Lois reached out for Clark and he joined her again sitting at her feet and resting his head on her lap.

"Nor wanted me to publicly renounce my claim to nobility and kill myself. Then he could rightfully make his claim. He could not kill me. I had to do it myself, but I just wouldn't give up. Not when I thought about you and Mom and Dad and home."

"Oh, Clark." Lois was truly at a loss for words.

"Nor's punishments and speeches continued for 2 weeks. I was exhausted and began to plan in my heart how I would kill Nor. He became the target for my hatred of what I had become, what I had done — all the fighting and pain and suffering. It was the 17th day of my captivity that I made my move. Nor had become very lax in his approach to me. He was confident I would pose no threat to him physically so I lay in wait for him that night. I grabbed him from behind when he entered my cell and threw him to the ground. I went straight for his throat and began to squeeze." At this, Clark mimicked the behavior on the ground at Lois' feet. "Nor had a thick neck but my hands fit so well that it was easy to apply pressure and release it, watching his eyes grow wide and his mouth move with no sound."

Lois put her hand to her mouth, not wanting Clark to hear her cry. He relaxed and rested his hands on his thighs. "But I let him go. I couldn't do it. Not because I valued his life but because I was disgusted with myself. He would win if I killed him. The war would be over because he would be dead but I would be the loser for having been forced to do it. I didn't want to bring that home to you. But it doesn't seem like I've saved you from any of the suffering."

Lois reached out and pulled Clark to her. He rested his head on her lap again.

"How did Nor die, then?"

"It was that night that three Expendables came to free me. They came in the door as Nor was recovering. They didn't see him and he was able to kill one before I could warn them. I threw myself on Nor and we fought for his weapon. It went off and he was killed. I carried him out on my shoulders to show that the war was over. The rebel leader was dead. The ruling Elite were only too happy to let me come home."

Clark grew quiet then and Lois held him and stroked his back and head, attempting to communicate to him her love and acceptance of him, no matter what he had done. She knew he took full responsibility for his actions, no matter the circumstances that drove him to that place. But now, he had told her the whole story of what he'd done and seen and it was up to her to help him through it, to see that he was still loved and accepted and worthy of that place in her heart.

"I love you, Clark, and nothing you've told me tonight changes that. I know the man you are. I've seen your heart and your soul has touched mine. You went to New Krypton out of a sense of duty to a people you didn't know and, even there, you fought for those who needed your help. Not for those who would try to own you. Nor died because he put himself in that place. He made himself the rebel leader and he didn't want to free the Expendables. He wanted to enslave them and more. When he died at your hands, he was trying to kill the very people you were fighting for and you can't take the blame, just because in your heart you wanted to kill him and even tried."

At this, Lois took Clark's face in her hands so that she could look him in the eye.

"You let him go and now you have to let him go again. You have to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for being fooled by Zara and Ching. I was fooled by them. Forgive yourself for the part you played in Nor's death. You didn't kill him with malice in your heart. You killed him to save another's life." Then she paused to make sure she had Clark's full attention. "You haven't done anything to make me love you less. That something just doesn't exist. My love for you is forever just because it is."

Lois knew it would take time for Clark to work through everything but she was confident now that he would be all right. They would both be all right. The demons had faces now and had lost much of their power. When they could talk about it in the light, she knew he would be free and she would be there all along the way, helping him.

Clark stood and pulled Lois into his embrace, drawing life from her.

"I'm tired now." He said and then her attempted a smile. "I think I'd like to rest."

And Lois knew the healing had begun.


I'd like to thank the folks who volunteered to proofread for me. You guys were great. Don't even know ya' but you stepped right up and helped and I appreciate it.

Here are the references for the songs, story and poems from the fanfiction. Sorry, I don't know the dates on Van Morrison's music.

McBratney, S. (1994). Guess How Much I Love You. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.

Metcalf, J. (1975). In Some Quiet Place. Gretna, LA: Pelican.

Morrison, V. (19??). Moondance.

Morrison, V. (19??). Crazy Love.