By Anne Spear <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted June 1999
Summary: This "if only" story considers what might have happened if Mayson hadn't died from the car bomb (with one other twist!), thanks to some help from Superman.
It's finally happening. Clark is kissing Lois and she's kissing him back. Everything feels just right. Then he hears the ticking and somehow he just knows that it involves Mayson Drake, whom he and Lois are just on their way to see. Clark turns away from Lois and, even from this distance, he can see Mayson getting into her car. Then he x-rays the engine and sees the bomb counting down … 6 … 5 … 4. He runs at normal speed toward the car and yells Mayson's name, but he knows he'll be too late. He's just too visible to change into Superman. So he keeps to the ground and gets thrown back a step when the engine explodes. He runs around the car and rips the door off, no longer caring who sees. Now he hears Lois running after him. He gets Mayson out of the burning car and starts to lay her on the ground. He's surprised to realize that she's awake. She says his name and notices the front of his shirt is torn. She pulls it aside and sees the "S" symbol on his other suit.
"So that's what you've been hiding," she says quietly, then leans toward his ear and whispers "resurrection" before collapsing into his arms.
Clark hears Lois say "oh my God" behind him. He keeps his left arm around Mayson's shoulders and feels her neck for a pulse.
"She's still alive … barely," he thinks aloud, then shouts, "Somebody call 911, please!"
Lois crouches down behind him and places her hand on his shoulder. "Clark," she says quietly, "You know an ambulance will never get here in time. You'd better fly her to the hospital yourself. Quickly, before any more spectators arrive."
Clark twists his head to look at Lois. "What are you talking about?" he demands.
"We don't have time to play games, Clark. I know you're Superman and he's the only one who can save her now," Lois answers.
Clark lays Mayson gently on the sidewalk. There's a blur of red and blue before Superman lifts Mayson and flies off. Lois turns and finally manages to hail a cab. As she opens the door, she hears a familiar 'whoosh' behind her. Knowing that sound all too well, she leans into the cab and apologizes to the driver, explaining that she doesn't need a ride after all. She closes the door and turns to smile at Superman. "How's Mayson?" she asks.
"The ER doctor said that I got her there just in time. Can I give you a lift?" he asks. She just nods so he lifts her in his arms and flies off toward her apartment. As they get closer to her building, Lois lets Superman know that the window is unlocked. He floats into her living room and removes his arm from under her knees, letting her slide slowly to her feet. He brings his free arm up to join the other around her shoulders. She remains within his embrace with her palms resting on his chest. They gaze at each other for a moment until she looks away and breaks from his arms.
"Would you like some tea?" she asks, heading for the kitchen. "I still have some of the oolong that Clark, I mean, you gave me. You know, you were right. It really is good and so relaxing … "
"Lois," Clark interrupts her, "or should I call you 'Brooke?'"
"Why would you call me 'Brooke?'" she asks, reaching for the tea kettle.
"Because you're babbling again," he answers.
"Well, I guess I do that when I'm nervous," Lois replies, "but you already knew that."
Clark walks into the kitchen and takes the kettle from her, putting it on the counter. "How long have you known?" he asks.
Lois takes a deep breath. "Long enough to calm down and realize why you've been lying to me all this time," she replies. "At first, I was so angry. Then, I was hurt that you didn't trust me … "
"No, Lois, I … "
"Please, let me finish," she interrupts him. "Finally, I came to realize that you only wanted to protect me. If anyone ever found out that I knew, I'd be in danger."
"Exactly," Clark agrees. "But why didn't you say something before now?"
"I was waiting to see when you felt the time was right to tell me. You were going to tell me, right?"
"Of course. I just wanted to make sure that you love me for who I am, not for what I can do," he answers, quickly.
"Well, now I do know and there's no way to change that. So, where do we go from here?" she asks.
"First, come sit down," Clark requests. He takes her hand and leads her to the sofa. She sits and he takes a step back. He spins in place and changes back into his business suit with the torn shirt. He reaches into his pocket and kneels down in front of Lois. "I was waiting to get up enough nerve to give this to you, but … " He stops when Lois starts to giggle. "What's so funny?" he asks.
"I can't picture Superman needing to work up the courage to do anything," she answers.
"Well, this is different," he replies. He opens the small jewelry case to display a diamond ring and asks, "Lois Lane, will you marry me?"
"As if you really had to ask," she says, holding her left hand out, palm down and fingers spread out toward Clark. He takes the hint and places the ring on her finger. She brings her hand up, pointing her fingers toward the ceiling, and stares at the ring as if she can't believe it's real. "I have to call my mother," she announces.
"Later," Clark says. He sits on the sofa and takes Lois into his arms.
The next day, Lois and Clark go to the hospital to see how Mayson is doing. When they find her room, Clark turns to Lois. "Do you mind if I talk to her alone for a minute?" he asks her.
"Of course not," she answers. "I'll go call the office and check in."
Clark stands for a moment and watches Lois leave. He turns and opens the door to Mayson's room slowly and sticks his head inside. Mayson, wearing a hospital gown, is sitting up in bed. There are files scattered on and around her lap. "Up for a visitor?" Clark asks her.
"Sure," she answers.
Clark enters and sits in the chair next to the bed. "You look good for someone who was nearly blown up," he comments with a smile. Mayson smiles, but she seems to be avoiding eye contact. <OK, humor's not good,> Clark thinks. "Mayson, we need to talk … "
"Wait, Clark," she interrupts him. "Let me say something. I've been trying to tell you how I felt for some time now. I really thought I was in love with you. But you also know how I dislike Superman and what he does. I feel like I never knew you, and I can't have feelings for someone who can keep that kind of secret so well. I'd always wonder what else you were hiding. I am so sorry, but I never want to see you again." With that, she turns her face away from Clark, completely dismissing him.
Clark is shocked. Here he is trying to figure out a painless way to let Mayson down and she breaks up with him. Not that they were ever really seeing each other, but he knows he has to tell her of his and Lois's engagement before she hears it from someone else. Now, that doesn't seen to matter anymore. When Mayson still hasn't heard him leave, she adds, "Don't worry. I won't tell anyone your secret."
Clark realizes that this conversation is really over and gets up. "Goodbye, Mayson," he says quietly and leaves. Mayson continues to stare out the window as a tear runs down her cheek.
When Lois returns, Clark is outside of Mayson's room, leaning against the wall with his arms folded across his chest. He doesn't notice her arrive because he's staring at the floor. Lois places her hand on his arm and asks, "Are you all right?"
Clark looks up at Lois and smiles. "I am now," he answers, puts his arm around her shoulders, and steers her toward the exit.
*Author's note: In this version, Mayson is alive to investigate the Resurrection drug herself and it is she that Agent Scardino falls for, which is something we'd all like to see! I hope you enjoyed this trip into "if only". As always, comments and criticisms are appreciated.*