By Dawn <email@example.com>
Submitted July 1999
Summary: What if Krypton had never blown up? And Kal-El never went to Earth? Would he ever meet his soulmate?
First, I would like to thank all of the talented fanfic writers, whose works have encouraged me to try my hand at it. I would also like to thank my editors, Irene and Carolyn, whose input and guidance have taken this story to the next level, and Wendy for her assistance in helping me get this story posted to the fanfic archive. This piece is rated PG-13.
I wanted to explain a few things about this story. I have really enjoyed writing it, but it is nothing like I originally thought it would be. It seemed to have a mind of its own. I had always been fascinated by the telepathic connection of Lois and Clark in "Big Girls Don't Fly", so I wanted to explore that. From the title, "What If I Never Left Krypton", I had intended for Kal not to leave Krypton, but he really wanted to be with Lois :). I had also not intended to use quotes from the show or musical interludes, but I heard these songs while I was working on the story and they seemed to just work. I had also intended for this to be a short story. I think I missed that by a few pages.
I started this in August 1998. The idea came from the scene in "Through A Glass, Darkly" when Clark is looking for his "fake bug on a hook" and they are talking about his parents, and Lois says "What if you'd never left Kansas?" and Clark replies "Kansas, what if I never left Krypton?". This is my take on what might have happened. Usual disclaimers about who belongs to whom. The original story is nfic, and if you would like this version, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the usual disclaimers. Also, please do not redistribute in either version without my permission. I borrowed some alien culture ideas from Star Trek, and a few great lines from the show, but the rest is mine. Constructive comments welcome. Please be gentle; this is my first posted fic. I hope you enjoy.
August 10, 1998-April 5, 1999
The training room was nearly empty. The only sounds that could be heard were two fighting sticks making contact with each other, and the occasional grunts and heavy breathing of the Dre opponents. Two muscular young men, both in their mid to late twenties, parried and sparred in the tradition of the masters of their sport. Both wore the traditional black jump suits, which hugged their bodies and revealed the muscles developed from years of practice. Both were covered in a thin sheen of sweat, the result of nearly an hour of testing their opponent's skills.
Pausing to catch his breath, one of the fighters removed his tunic, leaving him only in the skin-tight pants. His hair, soaked with his sweat, was plastered to his head. His well-sculpted chest, glistening with perspiration, shone with the rise and fall of his laboured breathing. Resuming his stance, he faced his rival.
"Your skills are improving, Kai," he managed to say as he ducked to avoid a swing from his opponent's weapon.
"I have not had the time to practice that you have, Kal. Scientists aren't considered to need these skills as much as nobles."
"Still, you are the best opponent I have found, as well as the best friend. So, when do you leave on your next mission?" Kal stopped to look at his friend.
"Soon. I am not sure where I will be going yet. Shall we continue? You may as well practice while you can." Kai smiled at Kal and assumed the ready position.
Twenty minutes later the two friends left the training room and headed for the showers.
"Kai, I have been thinking." Kal turned to his friend as they walked from the shower room together and started towards Kal's chambers. "One day I will be ruler over Krypton and, as much as I would like to explore the galaxy with you, I know that I am not permitted. I still have training to complete. But I would like to learn about these other worlds. They may visit us, and I need to improve my diplomatic skills. I must be able to welcome them with understanding. Would you bring me something back from each world, so that I can learn about them? It will be the next best thing to going."
"Certainly, Kal. I wish that you could go as well. This next mission will last longer than the others. I have learned we will be visiting three different worlds. But I will do as you ask, and bring you what I can."
"Thank you, my friend." They had reached Kal's chamber. "Shall we practice tomorrow? Same time?"
"I will see you there."
3 months later…
The large oval docking pad reflected the red Kryptonian sun. Kal watched from the window in his suite for his friend's ship to return. Communications had been received that the mission had been a success, and much useful information was being brought back to Krypton. The data collected would give valuable information to the leaders to help protect the people of Krypton from possibly hostile worlds, as well as provide cultural information about other races.
Finally Kal spotted the ship on the horizon, first as a tiny metal dot. Then he watched it grow larger as it approached the planet. The ship landed, and he could just make out the crew and scientists disembarking. He was looking forward to receiving the data Kai was bringing him. He had wanted so badly to go on this trip, but as the son of a diplomat and as the future ruler of Krypton, it wasn't allowed. Sometimes he felt confined in his birth role, as he often wrote in his journals. To be able to explore different worlds, meet new species, and learn about their way of life appealed to him more than what fate had handed him. His musings were interrupted by a knock on his door. He crossed the room to the door and let his friend in.
"Kai, welcome home. How was your mission?" Kal stepped aside to let his friend enter.
"Very successful." He reached inside his tunic and withdrew five data disks and handed them to his friend. He pointed to each disk as he explained the cultures contained on them. "The Bolians were interesting, a quiet and peaceful race, the Vulcans very intellectual much like ourselves, with mental discipline and space exploration abilities." He paused as he pointed to the remaining three disks. "The Terrans are a violent race with minimal space exploration abilities. They have managed to place a few satellites and stations near their planet and they have visited the moon orbiting it. I have loaded their various forms of communication onto these data disks. There are video files from televised informational programs that Terrans refer to as 'news', and data files from printed mediums. One you may find of interest is from what the Terrans call a 'newspaper' from one of their largest cities; a newspaper called "The Daily Planet". It contains information about the entire planet and specifically this city, Metropolis, located on what Terrans refer to as the North American continent. There are maps included so you can see what I am referring to." He paused, giving his friend a moment to absorb this information. "Kal, I do not need to remind you to exercise caution. I have obtained these at great risk and were the Council of Elders to discover you received unauthorized information …" his voice trailed off as Kal nodded his agreement
"I appreciate the risk you are taking, my friend, and I assure you I will be cautious. Sounds like these Terrans made quite an impression on you."
"As violent and chaotic as this world is, I did find it to have an excitement and intensity that our world lacks. But you will understand more when you read the data files. Shall we meet later for practice?"
"Yes, I would welcome that. I have missed our sessions. Thank you, again, my friend."
Kal closed his door behind his friend. Looking at the disks in his hand, he walked over to a chair beside the window and sat down. He set the disks containing the Bolian and Vulcan files on the table. He had known as soon as Kai had told him about the Terrans that that was where he wanted to start. Setting the other two Terran disks in his lap, he began to scan the first disk of information, scrolling through the files. These Terrans were a violent race. Kal read and re-read several articles, trying to understand this world that was so unlike his own. Murder, drugs, government corruption — even their recreational activities were violent. He skimmed through several articles, one in particular catching his eye. It was a story exposing illegal arms sales. The writing was detailed and precise, as if the writer had been very close to the story. He read the credits. Lois Lane, Daily Planet Staff Writer. He skimmed through the disk for other stories by Lois Lane. They were all similar in nature. Whether it concerned global issues or the paper's base, Metropolis, the stories were concise and descriptive. He picked up the second disk. The first had contained an Earth year's worth of issues of the paper. It appeared the second did as well. He skimmed for more articles by Lois Lane. There was one article referencing government corruption in one of the nation's ruling bodies, the Congress, and another article about gun running in the Congo, a nation located on another continent, according to a map he had seen elsewhere in the files. Near the end of the data files on this disk, another article caught his attention, proclaiming that Lois Lane had won a prestigious award, a Kerth, for journalistic achievement. The article stated that Lois Lane was being recognized for her in-depth exposure of gun running operations. Her. Lois Lane was a female. He would not have guessed it. Based on what he had seen in the files, Earth seemed to be a male dominated species in many of the disciplines, including writing. He had known she was good. Reading her work and comparing it to others, he could tell she was very good at what she did. She seemed determined and dedicated to her work. A knock at his door startled him out of his musings.
"Kal, I have been waiting in the training room."
"Kai, I apologize. I was so caught up in these files, I lost track of the time. How long have you been waiting?"
"About an hour."
"I have been reading these files for over three hours! I was so intent I did not realize how much time had passed. Give me a moment to gather my equipment."
The two friends soon headed to the training room. Kai noticed his friend's silence. "Kal, is there a problem?"
"No, forgive me. I am preoccupied with the data files. The information was fascinating."
"Be careful, or Zara will be able to sense your mood."
Zara, his birth wife. The ceremony was not for a few years yet, but they had grown up together and had become friends. Their marriage would be political, arranged since birth. And as much as Kal wanted to feel about Zara as he knew his father felt for his mother, it just wasn't there. He was comfortable with her, and she would be a fine co-leader by his side. He had resigned himself long ago that there was no other alternative. He had to marry Zara. Thoughts of Lois Lane then entered his mind. He knew little about her, yet he felt he did know her. What he had learned about her through her writing intrigued him. He was preoccupied with a woman he would never meet, never know. He gave himself a mental shake. Kai was right. He took a deep breath and concentrated on his mental exercises of suppressing all thoughts of Lois Lane and Earth.
Kal returned to his rooms after practicing his Dre skills with Kai. His eyes fell on the cabinet that hid the data disks and his thoughts immediately went to Lois Lane. He hadn't thought of her in the few hours he'd been with Kai, but he suddenly needed to find out more about her. He retrieved the third data disk from the cabinet he had hidden them in, and settling in his chair scanned for more files from "The Daily Planet". There were several other stories by Lois Lane including one about a car theft ring that she helped to expose. This woman was amazing, and the difference she was making in her world through her work was inspiring. He read through more files when another headline caught his eye: "Planet Reporter Receives Second Honor". Lois Lane had received her second Kerth award for her journalistic work. This time a picture accompanied the article. Even from the small black and white photo, he could tell she was stunning. She had dark hair that had been swept up with a few loose strands framing her delicate face. He could just make out the dark gown that draped off her shoulders at the edge of the photo. This angelic looking creature had written those stories?! The danger she must have put herself in to get that information. His respect for her and her abilities increased even more.
He had to stop thinking about her. What good would it do? He would never meet her, and even if he could, he was bound by Kryptonian law to Zara. And what would Lois Lane think of someone from another planet? Nothing he had seen in any of their communications indicated that Terrans had even met races from other worlds. Even though they had limited space exploration abilities, other races with the capability either had not visited Earth, or had also not made themselves known.
A voice interrupted his thoughts. 'Kal, shall we meet for the evening meal at the commissary?'
Zara. The noble houses of the Kryptonian ruling classes had cultivated their telepathic abilities. The lower classes had the ability to sense moods, but were not encouraged to develop their abilities as the nobles were for nonverbal communication.
'Zara, I shall meet you there shortly.' Kal took a deep breath and focused his mental energies on suppressing his thoughts and feelings about Lois Lane and Earth. This was getting to be a habit. As much as he wanted to, he couldn't completely put her out of his mind. He wanted to be alone with his thoughts and go over all he had learned about her. Had it only been a few hours that he even learned of her existence? Now he couldn't stop thinking of her. Didn't want to stop thinking about her. He would have to, at least while he was with Zara. He replaced the data disk in the cabinet and left to meet Zara.
Kal walked slowly toward the Commissary, for once dreading his meeting with Zara. This time would be no different than the previous ones. They would discuss how their respective training was progressing, new developments on Krypton, and recent alliances made with other worlds and how that would affect Krypton and their future as its rulers. Usually he looked forward to these meetings, and to his future. But that had changed now.
Kal returned to his rooms after the evening meal with Zara. With his practised mental abilities he had been able to suppress any thoughts of Lois Lane and Earth, but upon entering his room, his eyes fell on the chair where he had first discovered her, and thoughts of her came flooding into his mind. He sat in the chair and gazed out the window into the night sky. Could he see her planet from here? Where was she now? What was she doing? Was she putting herself in danger for a story? She had gotten along thus far without him worrying about her, but now he couldn't seem to stop thinking of her.
Suddenly a thought occurred to him. Could he contact her? His mental abilities were far superior to many of the other nobles. Could his thoughts reach her? Would she understand and be able to communicate with him? He had to try. He couldn't go on with her consuming his thoughts without trying to contact her. This was the only way. He would never be allowed to leave Krypton on an exploration mission. This was his only chance to let her know how she had affected him, how much of an impact her work had had on him, even from another planet. Maybe once he spoke with her, he could forget about her. Maybe she was nothing like what she seemed in her writing, and he wouldn't want to get to know her better. Somehow he doubted that. She seemed to pour herself into her writing. It was too passionate not to reflect her true nature.
So what would he do if he discovered he wanted to know her better? He was bound to Zara and Krypton. The best he could hope for was a new friend whom he could communicate with and respect. At least he could talk with her about her stories and make sure she was okay. That is if it worked. He needed to find that out first. And if she would even talk to him. Otherwise he would have to resign himself to just what he could discover about her through her stories and any new information Kai could gather on his next mission. He didn't want to wait that long.
He closed his eyes and focused his mental abilities on her. He felt his mind reach out to her. It was more difficult than he thought it would be. He was already beginning to feel the strain.
Metropolis 2:00 a.m.
Lois stirred in her sleep. She thought she had heard her name. It had to be a dream. It was a male voice whispering her name.
There it was again. She was dreaming, but she'd go along with it. Her reporter's curiosity had gotten the better of her. She would at least find out what the voice wanted. Maybe there was a story involved. In her dream? 'Get a grip, girl,' she thought. 'Does everything have to be about a story?'
'I would guess that was how you got to the great reporter you are.' There was the voice again, and he was answering her question! 'Always questioning, investigating.'
So he knew her work. "Thank you," she mumbled out loud. She heard her own voice. Had she spoken aloud? She knew she was asleep and dreaming. 'Just think it,' she mumbled to herself.
He didn't want to frighten her so he let her go on believing it was a dream. He would go along with that for as long as he could continue.
'I wanted to tell you I have enjoyed your writing and to congratulate you on your awards. They are well deserved. It is obvious from your work that you are very dedicated and hard working.'
He could tell all that from her stories? 'Thank you again.' She wasn't sure where he was going with this, or if she could trust him, even if this was only a dream. She didn't trust men. Between her father, Claude, and the others, she had little use for them. Except Perry. He was like the father she wished she'd had. Perhaps it was because of or in spite of them that she was the reporter she was. She had worked hard to make it in a male dominated profession, to overcome the drawbacks of being a woman, and to prove to everyone that she could do it.
That was a lot for him to digest, but he didn't want her to know that she had shared all of that with him. He wanted her to trust him, and was afraid she wouldn't it she knew how much he could perceive. For some reason it was important to him that she trust him.
'I just wanted you to know that I enjoyed your work, Lois Lane.'
Lois frowned. Why was he calling her 'Lois Lane'? Why not Ms. Lane? Lois would be too forward, especially since she didn't know his name. What was she thinking! This was a dream! But she'd play along. See where her subconscious took her. 'You know my name, but I don't know yours.'
'It is Kal. May I call you Lois?'
'Cal.' Where did her dream mind come up with that name? She'd never known anyone named Cal. 'You can call me Lois, Cal.'
'I must go now, but may I call on you again?' He was beginning to tire, and he wanted to think over all she had told him.
'Yes, Cal. I'd like that. Thanks again for your compliments on my work.' He seemed sincere, and his praise meant a lot to her, though she wasn't really sure why. Why would a male figure in her dream mean anything to her? She had always sought male acceptance, though she didn't like to admit that to herself, first with her father, then Paul and Claude, and now Perry.
He was pleased that he had made an impression, even if she did only think of him as a dream. He would let her get more comfortable with him before he revealed who he really was. Who were all these men she mentioned? Was there a significant male in her life? For some reason it bothered him that there might be.
'Good night, Cal.'
Lois listened for a moment. The voice was gone. So, he liked her work. She liked his voice. He seemed honest and kind. Would she dream of him again? What had caused her to dream of him now? Maybe it was the late night pizza she'd had for dinner after a long day at the Planet. Maybe he was a culmination of the male acceptance she had sought finally coming through in her dreams. She'd just won her second Kerth, proving yet again that she could get the story as good as any man. Well, if she wanted acknowledgement from a male she couldn't have picked a more engaging voice.
Krypton, late evening
Kal relaxed, rubbing his temple. The exertion had tired him and given him an excruciating headache, but it had been worth it. He had not only made contact, but had left a good impression on her and she had agreed to let him return. He would tell her as soon as she was more comfortable with him that he wasn't a dream, but in the meantime he would get to know her better, get her to trust him. There were so many questions he wanted to ask her, so much he wanted to know about her. He thought about all she had told him. He knew she hadn't meant to, that she didn't know he could hear her thoughts. He would need to be careful about not revealing too much and risk losing her trust. She seemed to have a bad history with men. Maybe he could be an exception to that. Kal finally slept, his thoughts and dreams of Lois.
The following day Kai and Kal practice in training room.
"Kal, you are distracted. Are you thinking of her?" Kal had briefly mentioned Lois to Kai the last time they practised together, but even from that brief mention Kai sensed Lois already meant a great deal to his friend.
"Kai, I have never known anyone like her. She is brilliant, dedicated, beautiful, and she has been hurt. I just want to take her in my arms and make it all go away!"
"I have never seen you so emotional before. She made quite an impression on you. But did you get all that from reading her stories?"
"No, not entirely."
"I … visited her … telepathically."
"You what! Kal do you know what the Council will do if they discover that you made first contact before we were ready?"
"I know. I was drawn to her. I had to talk to her."
Kai sighed. He had never seen his friend quite like this before. "What is she like, to talk to?"
"She revealed, or thought, more than she meant to. I couldn't keep the connection for long. The strain was too great."
"Are you planning to contact her again?"
"Yes." Kal smiled at the memory. "I asked her if I could. She said she'd like that. I have been studying her stories in more depth. I will talk with her of those. I don't want to let on to her that she revealed personal information."
"Be careful, my friend. Do not let this Earth woman interfere with your duty here."
"I will, and I won't. But, Kai, I do not entirely understand what is happening. I have never felt like this about anything or anyone. I've never felt this alive before."
Kai sighed. It had finally happened. He had hoped it would be Zara, Kal's birth wife who would inspire him. It would have made Kal's future more fulfilling, like Kal's parents. But that wasn't to be. His friend was falling in love … with an Earth woman.
Lois sat back in her chair, pencil grasped between her teeth. She mulled over what she had just read. She hadn't had time to dig too deep into the other stories she was working on, but after last night's dream, she decided that since she was an investigative reporter, she would investigate. The gist of what little she'd had time to discover was that dreams were a manifestation of some unconscious desire brought to the forefront. Maybe she did really seek male approval, but just didn't want to admit it to herself.
'Oh, right. Next you'll be thinking you need to spend some time on the couch. That's not going to happen. You've made it on your own up till now and you don't need anyone's help. But why now? Maybe it's because the Kerths are coming up again. You've won twice. Is there more pressure for the third one? Well, what ever it is, you're not going to win that award unless you get it in gear and finish that story.'
Around 2:00 a.m.
There was the voice again. He *had* asked if he could return, but she had felt good about the way her story was progressing when she left the Planet. She'd thought that she had her fears under control, that she hadn't needed him to return. So why had he returned?
He wanted to put her at ease, talk about what was important to her. 'I have been studying your stories. May I ask how you are able to get such detailed information?'
Ah ha! That was it. Someone was probing her for trade secrets. Oh, get a grip! Now you're getting paranoid and all sci-fi.
Kal heard her thoughts and rushed on to explain, 'I am … a scientist. I study human behavior.' That wasn't entirely untrue, but it was too soon for the truth. 'You have won a prestigious award on two occasions, and have been nominated for a third. Your writing is in-depth and detailed. I am curious about this process.'
Maybe she did need some couch time. She was creating shrinks in her dreams! Well, if her subconscious needed to talk about it to allay her fears of this upcoming award, what better way than with a sexy voice in a dream? But just in case, she wouldn't give away too much.
'I don't let anyone get there first and I get involved with my stories, maybe more than I should, but I think that's what makes me the reporter I am. I don't accept anything less than perfection.'
'Does this have anything to do with your father?' It slipped out before Kal could suppress the thought.
'What?!' Wait a minute. Shrinks were always blaming things on some boring childhood trauma. 'That's possible' she was willing to concede.
'I apologize. I did not mean to upset you. I must go now, but I would like to return, with your permission.'
He sounded so formal. 'Yes, Cal. I obviously still need you' was her sarcastic reply.
It bothered him to mislead her. He would tell her the truth soon.
'Good night, Cal.'
Lois replayed the dream in her mind. She had become more alert when he'd asked her about her stories. Could she have been dreaming while she was awake? Was she so stressed over this award that she was having daydreams about talking to a therapist? What other explanation could there be? The mind probe idea was just too out there. She'd been watching too much science fiction lately. That new Star Trek movie, "First Contact," had just come out and she was mixing Vulcan mind probes with her award anxiety. Little did she know how close to reality that really was. But that's all it was, she tried to convince herself. She was pushing herself hard to get this third award to prove to herself and everyone else that she was the best reporter. That settled, she fell back asleep.
The long conversation had tired Kal and given him another headache, but he had learned more about her, which only made him want to learn more. She was a perfectionist who got involved in her stories. And she thought he was a "shrink" in her dreams. He recalled seeing an article on dreams on one of the data disks, but he was unsure what a shrink was. Must have to do with studying behavior. He wanted to tell her the truth. He wanted her to trust him, to share her life and work with him, and he wanted to share his with her. He needed someone to talk to who would understand what he felt and not constantly remind him of his duty. Somehow he knew she'd understand.
He thought of her all day. How could he tell her the truth? 'Hi, Lois. I'm an alien from another planet and this is our first contact with your people. Lois, I haven't been entirely truthful with you. I do study behavior, to help me to become a better ruler. Where, you ask? On a planet about a million miles from yours. Lois, I'm…'
This was more difficult then he thought. How could he tell her the truth and not risk losing her? She would need evidence. She had thought he was a dream, just a means to work out her anxieties. How could he convince her otherwise? What proof could he offer? Kai. Kai had been to their planet. He might have some ideas.
Zara's voice invaded his thoughts. 'I await your presence at the Commissary.'
He had forgotten all about meeting Zara for the evening meal. 'I shall be there as soon as I complete some business.' He mentally disconnected from Zara, then concentrated on contacting Kai, requesting he come to Kal's quarters within two hours.
2 hours later
Kal led Kai into his rooms and to the chair opposite the one where he had first discovered Lois. Kai looked around the familiar surrounds. It always amazed him that someone of Kal's social standing chose to live so simply. The rooms were larger than most, but sparsely decorated. The main room contained a cabinet, where Kai knew Kal kept the information he had brought back from Earth for him. Two high-back chairs of simple design were placed near the room's only window, separated by a small wooden table, with several datapads that Kal had been studying lying on top. Kai turned his attention to his friend as he began to speak.
"Kai, I need you to tell me everything you learned about Terrans during your mission."
"This has to do with that Earth woman." It was a statement of fact. At his friend's expression of confirmation he continued, "Kal, I have never seen you like this. Pardon me for asking, my lord, but why is this so important to you?" One reason Kal enjoyed having Kai as a friend was that he seldom referred to Kal's position in Kryptonian society. That he was doing so now reaffirmed to Kal that Kai didn't think what he was doing was wise, but did not feel that he, even as a friend, should challenge him.
"Kai, I do not know if I can really explain it myself, but there is something about this woman that draws me to her. We are like kindred spirits. I know we will never meet, but I want to continue to communicate with her. I need someone I can talk to, and I think she will understand. Kai, you are my best friend, but there are things I can not share with you, or even Zara. That she is from another world will give me an outside perspective on challenges I face. She is intelligent and insightful, and I think she will be a great asset to me. But I can not go on being dishonest with her. I need to tell her who I really am. Only then can I ask her to help me."
Kai listened as his friend spoke. He understood about Kal not being able to share things with himself or even Zara, and that an outsider looking in could be a great help to his future leader. "I will help you with your quest."
Kal sighed his relief. "Thank you, my friend. She thinks I am a dream. How can I convince her of the truth without frightening her?"
"That will be a challenge. As a whole her race does not subscribe to the possibility of other worlds. There are a few small sects that believe in the existence of other races. Some even believe their government is hiding the information from the people."
Kal rose from his chair and began to pace. "She did mention something about 'sci fi.'"
"Science Fiction. It is a form of entertainment."
"That may make it more difficult. When is the next mission?"
"Are you thinking we could make contact? There are more studies to conduct and Terrans do not seem ready for contact. Our scientists are projecting it will be years before they are ready."
"Only with her. I think I can convince the Council to proceed with her as a test case and convince them to let me make the first contact."
"How will you do that, when you are not even supposed to know of her existence?" Much less be allowed to participate in a mission, he thought but felt unnecessary to add.
"I have been briefed on the general nature of the missions and the races encountered for political and diplomatic information that I will need to have as our future leader. I think I can convince the Council that a test case should be contacted and monitored, and as the future ruler of Krypton, it would be diplomatically appropriate for me to make that contact. They need not know a test subject has been chosen, and once on Earth I will be able to make that choice."
Kai did not feel he could challenge his friend. "A return mission to Earth was planned within the next few weeks. As you know, contact has already been made with the Bolians and Vulcans and ambassadors are negotiating trade contracts. These races had already encountered other species so first contact was not difficult. Terrans, for the most part, have not. We are returning to gather more information and determine the best course of action and time line for first contact."
"Then I will have to convince the Council before that mission."
2 weeks later
Cal had not contacted her since she had told him that she was a perfectionist and got too involved with her stories. She hadn't really told him anything of value, and since she had won her third Kerth last week she figured she hadn't needed her dream therapist any more. She had a whole year to concentrate on the next Kerth, maybe work toward that Pulitzer. Now that she had won three Kerths she was taken more seriously as a female journalist. She still felt that she needed to prove herself, but she had those three awards to back her up. Still, she missed that voice.
It had taken Kal several days to convince the Council that he should be the diplomatic contact and that the time had come to approach one Terran. The Council requested him to observe for who he felt was the most receptive and make contact. The Council didn't need to know that he had already selected the person to make this important first contact with. He had put all of his energies into convincing the Council of this mission and had not been able to contact Lois again. The next time he spoke with her, he wanted to be able to tell her the truth. All of it. Now, as the ship travelled to Earth, he outlined his plan for approaching her, and how he would convince her he was from another planet.
Upon entering Earth's orbit, the team, consisting of Kal, Kai, and four other scientists, reviewed protocol. As before, they would dress as Terrans so they would be able to observe unobtrusively. Physical appearance being similar would not pose a concern, and the language had been learned prior to the mission by the other team members. Kal had studied the languages of other races as part of his education and had brushed up on his English when he studied the data disks. The ship would remain in orbit while team members transported to the surface in small groups to observe. Kal arranged for Kai to accompany him on his trips. The mission for each team was to gather more information. Kal was to observe and then choose a Terran for first contact. He already knew who that would be. Finding her would be one thing, and convincing her would be more difficult.
Kal and Kai landed in the alley behind the Daily Planet. Finding the historical landmark had been easy, and somehow he knew this was where she would be. They entered the building and asked the guard at the front desk for the floor on which they would find Lois Lane. They were told she would be in the City Room, on the fifth floor. They entered the elevator and pushed the appropriate button. When the door opened at their destination, Kal looked around the busy room. The elevators were slightly raised from the rest of the room so he had a good view of all the activities. Desks and half walls filled the room and people were either hurrying here and there or busily working at their desks. He heard her just before he saw her. He would know that voice anywhere.
"Jimmy! How are you coming on that research?" she yelled.
She was more beautiful than her picture and looked even more fragile. How could this frail creature have gotten those stories?
He heard a bellow coming a short distance away from her desk from the large office on the corner wall. "Lois! I need your copy!"
"Working on it, Chief. Jimmy!"
A young man hurried up to her desk and handed her some papers. Kal could not quite make out what he was saying from this distance, so he carefully moved along the wall to get closer to her. He was fascinated while he watched her work.
He was almost behind her desk when her phone rang.
"Lois Lane … Are you sure? … Yes, I can be there in (she looked at her watch) ten minutes. Thanks." She hung up the phone and yelled in the direction of the office "Chief, I have to go get this quote for this story. I'll be right back."
'Chief' poked his head out of his door "Okay, honey, but hurry back. I need that story in by deadline!"
"Will do." Lois grabbed her coat and briefcase and hurried toward the elevator, unaware that she was being followed.
Lois Lane walked briskly toward her destination, cutting down a back alley to approach the meeting place. A man was standing in the shadows of the building.
"Yes. You have some information for me?"
Suddenly she heard a shot ring out and heard someone yell, "Lois!". Before she realized what had happened, a man had tackled her to the ground and a bullet had lodged in the wall near where her informant had been. The informant and the gunman were both gone. She shoved at the man on top of her, yelling indignantly "What do you think you are doing!?"
He couldn't believe it. She was yelling at him for saving her life. He wanted to shake some sense into her, yell back at her. She had been reckless and nearly gotten herself hurt or could have even been killed. What if he had not been here?
But he was Kryptonian, and Kryptonians did not get emotional. Like the Vulcans they had learned to suppress their emotions. But this woman, this Earth woman, just brought it out in him. "What was *I* doing? What were *you* doing? Did you check this situation out before you blindly walked into it? You could have gotten hurt or killed!" he yelled at her.
"I've taken care of myself just fine without you so far. Who do you think you are coming in here and trying to protect me like … like some knight in shining armor? I don't need protecting!" she yelled back.
Kal opened his mouth to retort when Kai slipped up quietly beside him. "My lord, this display of emotion is not advantageous to our mission."
Kal sighed, calming down. "You are right, Kai." He turned to Lois. "Lois, I do apologize for interfering. I believed your life to be in danger and thus acted accordingly."
Lois opened her mouth, closed it, then tried again. "Thank you for your concern." Lois took a moment to digest the situation. Had the other one said 'my lord'? And did he …? "Wait a minute, how did you know my name?"
Kal had to think fast. "Your friend in the shadows called you by name."
"No, he called me 'Lane'. Try again."
"I have read your work and when your friend called you 'Lane', I assumed you were Lois Lane."
"Okay, I'll buy that. Now why were you following me."
"I … just happened to be nearby."
"Uh uh. Try again."
"I have read your work and I wanted to talk with you."
That registered. "Wait a minute. Now I know where I've heard your voice. You're…" the voice from my dream, she finished in her thoughts. That's insane! Maybe it all *was* some sort of trick and he really was trying to steal her story.
So she did recognise him. 'Yes, Lois. It is I. And I assure you I am not trying to steal your story.'
Lois stared just at him. He had heard her. She had heard him speak, but his lips hadn't moved. And what lips they were! She took a moment to really look at him for the first time. He was tall, with short dark hair, and if a man could be beautiful, this one was. His eyes were a deep chocolate, her favorite indulgence. His jaw was strong and square, his lips full and inviting. He was wearing jeans, a white shirt and a black leather jacket which fit his build perfectly. Even with all this, she could tell he was well built. His shoulders were broad, and through his shirt she could just make out well-developed pecs. His jeans fit well also, and she could tell he had strong, muscular thighs. She swallowed, hard. "You need to stop doing that, however you're doing it. A person is entitled to private thoughts."
"As you wish."
She decided to test him. 'You are the most magnificent figure of a man I have ever seen.' She stared at him for a few moments, watching for a reaction. There was none that she could tell so she plowed ahead. "Okay, so tell me, how *are* you able to do it?"
Kal drew on all of his inner strength and training not to react to her last thought. He somehow knew she would test him, and his curiosity had gotten the better of him as to what she would do. Did she mean it? Was she as physically attracted to him as he was to her? He would watch for any external sign, but he would also honor her wish to not read her thoughts … at least as much as he could.
"It is complicated."
She crossed her arms and looked at him with a questioning look on her face, eyebrows raised.
"Is there some place less public where we could discuss this?"
Lois looked around at their surroundings. They were still in the alley, where any passer-by could observe them. If her dream was going to manifest itself, she didn't want everyone in on it. She also noticed that Kai — wasn't that what he had called him? — was standing patiently nearby. For some reason she knew she could trust him. She didn't know why. After all, here was her dream, talking to her in an alley, and very much real. Why should she trust him? Lois Lane didn't trust anyone, especially men. But now she was curious as to what he really wanted and why he was here. "The 'Daily Planet' is a short walk away. We can talk in the conference room there."
Lois led the way, lost in her thoughts. So this was the voice from her dreams? And he had a face and body to go with it. Who was he? She hadn't thought that in her wildest dreams she could have come up with someone who looked like that. Had she had a premonition that she would meet him? He certainly was real, at least he felt real when he was lying on top of her. But who was he, and why had he been following her? Was there a story here? The ding of the elevator on the city room floor brought her out of her musings.
Kal had followed behind her, trying not to invade her thoughts. She seemed preoccupied with her musings, but she also seemed to know her way back to the Planet. To occupy his mind he studied her. She was smaller than he would have imagined. Much shorter than himself, he imagined he could safely wrap her in his arms, and she would fit just perfectly there. Her hair was dark and shoulder length and matched her spunky personality. She had beautiful, big brown eyes and the face of an angel. She wore a brown business pantsuit that matched her hair and eyes perfectly. He could tell she had a small waist which only seemed to accent the swell of her breasts just visible through her open jacket. He had never felt this way before. He was not only physically attracted to her, but no one had stimulated him mentally like this. He sighed at what could never be. But he hoped at least, after she learned the truth, that he could continue to contact her from Krypton, to have her for a friend and confidant. He absently followed her into the conference room, coming out of his musings when she closed the door. Kai, who had been following his friend, stopped inside the door. Her voice broke the silence.
"Okay, let's have it."
"I think you had better sit down."
She raised her eyebrows at him again but moved to a chair on one side of the table. He sat across from her so he could watch her reactions. Kai remained standing by the door, as if on guard.
"What is he doing?" She indicated her head toward Kai.
"Uh huh. So tell me how you do these non-verbal conversations in my head, and how did you get into my dreams?!"
"First I must have your assurance that you will tell no one."
"Afraid I'm going to give away your secrets?"
"In a manner of speaking."
She gave him a confused look. Was he some kind of a psychic? And why had he come to her?
"Do I have your word?" he continued.
"Yes." For now, she thought.
Kal glanced at Kai, then began. "We have been observing your world for quite some time now. Many of my people do not believe your world is ready for first contact yet, but after reading your work I believed you would be open to the idea. Our mission for now is to gather more information about your world. As to the non-verbal conversations, as you call them, it is how some of my people communicate."
Was he crazy?! That was it. He was just some looney-toon who had developed psychic powers, had seen her work and stalked her. Or he was some over zealous Star Trek fan trying to get her to buy his story. Except that it didn't explain the non-verbal communication. There was still that. She sat back in her chair, arms crossed, a 'just-how-gullible-do-you-think-I-am' look on her face.
Kai spoke from his position at the door. "I do not think she believes you, my lord."
Lois stood up forcefully. "You're right. I don't believe you. And I don't appreciate you wasting my time. I have a very important story to work on." She started for the door when Kal's voiced stopped her.
"What can I do to prove to you I am telling the truth?"
She turned back to him, it registering that Kai had called him 'my lord'. "Take me to your leader," she said sarcastically.
"I am their leader," he replied calmly.
Oh, great! This guy was even further around the bend then she thought! But he seemed so serious and had piqued her curiosity. For some reason, she knew she could trust him. Still, what was all this "your world" and "first contact" stuff? "Okay. Take me to your ship," she challenged.
Kal looked at Kai. He had known this would be difficult. He was reluctant to take her to the ship, especially since she was a reporter. He did not want to expose her to new technology, but he knew of no other way to convince her. "As you wish."
She looked at him in astonishment. He was serious. If any of this were true and she could get some hard evidence, it would make quite a story. Were these really aliens from another planet? Maybe there really was a government cover up! He had said they'd been here observing Earth for awhile. She could expose the whole conspiracy.
"Lois, you can tell no one of this." He had tuned in to hear her thoughts on taking her to his ship.
"You did it again! You have to stop that." Or did he listen to her thoughts? Could he guess that she would want to tell this story?
"Shall we go?" He chose to ignore her accusation. He would try not to read her thoughts again, but that was something he could not promise. She did not completely share her thoughts out loud with him and he was very curious as to what she was thinking.
"What, are we just going to disappear? In front of the entire newsroom?" Though the conference room door was closed, the blinds were open, revealing them to the hustle and bustle of the newsroom and making them visible to anyone who walked by.
"No. We will leave from the location where we entered, an alley behind this building."
She motioned toward the door with her hand. "Lead the way."
As they left the conference room Perry yelled from his office door. "Lois, where is that story?"
"I'm working on it, Chief. I just need to get this … interview." She glanced at Kal, hoping he understood she had to tell her editor something that sounded feasible.
"Okay, as long as you don't miss deadline."
"Sure, Perry." Her story was almost done, and since she had missed the quote from earlier in the day, it would only take her a few minutes to finish it up — if she got back in time from where ever it was she was going. She certainly didn't want to rush that. She turned to Kal. "Can you give me a few minutes? I need to finish this story."
Kal nodded and indicated the chair beside her desk. "May I watch you work?"
That would be a bit awkward, but she only needed to change a few lines. "Sure. Have a seat. This won't take long." She pulled up her story, read through it again to make sure it sounded the way she wanted, edited a few lines, then LAN'd it to Perry. "Let me just go tell him it's done, then we'll go." She stood up and walked over to Perry's office. Poking her head in she said "Chief, I just LAN'd you that story. I'm heading out to get this interview. I'm not sure how long it will take."
"Oh, okay, honey, thanks. I hope it's a good one."
"It's shaping up to be."
Lois walked back to her desk. "Okay. Let's go." As she reached for her coat, the young man she had called Jimmy dropped some papers on her desk.
"Here ya go, Lois, all you ever wanted to know about LexCorp, that I could get so far. You still think there's something fishy going on there? Oh, hi," he acknowledged the two men at Lois's desk. The two men nodded in response.
"Thanks, Jimmy. I'll look this over when I get back. Keep digging," she said as she grabbed her coat and briefcase and headed toward to elevator.
"Sure thing," he said to her retreating back.
The group walked in silence to the alleyway behind the Daily Planet. Kai looked around to make sure they were not seen, then gave the command to the ship to transport them aboard. Lois closed her eyes, not really sure what to expect. When she opened them, she was looking at something that could have come out of Star Trek. There was technology that she had never seen before, even in science fiction movies, and things she couldn't even begin to describe. Through a large view screen she could see the earth below, a large green and blue mass. It couldn't be a trick. This was too much trouble for someone to go to just to fool her. It had to be real! She reached out to touch the nearest panel. It wasn't an illusion. It was definitely solid, a metal of some kind.
"I am sure you must be overwhelmed. There is a room we can go to speak in private."
For once, Lois was speechless. She allowed Kal to lead her out of the room and down the short corridor to another room that contained a table and a few chairs. He indicated a chair for her to sit in. He took the chair beside her and moved it so he could face her.
"I am sure this must be a lot for you to take in."
"I'm actually … stunned. This is really happening, isn't it? Are… are you … Vulcans?" She grabbed on to anything that seemed likely that could help her to put this into terms she could understand.
Kal laughed. She relaxed a little. It was a kind laugh, and he was nothing like the "aliens" she'd seen in the movies who were ugly and just wanted to take over. "We are actually very similar to the Vulcans in mental discipline and cultural practices."
"You mean they really do exist?!" she asked, surprised that there really was something she could grasp on to.
"Yes. Would you like me to explain it to you?"
She simply nodded, looking at him wide-eyed.
"We are from the planet Krypton, several light years from here. We have been observing your planet for several years now, hoping to establish a trade agreement and a diplomatic alliance. Your people are not as far advanced technologically as we had hoped, and we did not want to interrupt normal development, so we have not made contact. We are intending to continue to observe until the stage is reached when we feel you were are more receptive to other races, which we guess will would be a few years from now."
"So, why contact us, me, now?"
"You are the only one who has been contacted. On our last mission here Kai brought back for me some information from your world. It contained your newspaper, and after reading your stories I wanted to contact you. I can not fully explain it, but there was something about your writing that drew me to you."
"So, let me get this straight. You read my stories and then came all the way here to just talk to me? Why not talk to me mentally, like you were?"
"Telepathically. And would you have believed me? You thought I was a dream."
"How'd you…? Oh, you read my mind. You do have a point. Even with you here it took a bit of convincing."
"So … you believe me?"
"I have no reason not to. And I'm flattered. Of all the people you could have chosen, you chose me. It's quite a compliment that my work has galactic significance."
Kal smiled. "Yes, Lois, you would be surprised."
"So, tell me about yourself. You've told me you're their leader, but what else? What type of leader are you? What is your planet like? What do you do there? Do you have a girlfriend … a boyfriend?"
Kal's smile broadened as Lois ran out of steam. That smile was starting to do things to her. "Is that Lois Lane in reporter mode?"
"I'm sorry. I just want to know more about you… and your people."
"I understand there is an Earth custom that I would like to experience called a 'date'. We must return to Krypton tomorrow, but I would very much enjoy if we could have a date before I leave."
"Tomorrow? You're leaving so soon? Um, yes, a date would be nice. Do you like Italian?"
"Trust me on this. There's a great place not far from the Daily Planet. Can you drop me off at my apartment and then meet me in front of the Planet in about an hour?"
"That can be arranged."
They smiled at each other.
One hour later in front of the Daily Planet
Kal was waiting when Lois arrived. It was warm enough to walk but too chilly without a coat.
"Hello, Lois. Lead the way."
They walked in companionable silence the short distance to the restaurant. The maitre de led them to the quiet table in the corner that Lois indicated. She took off her coat and laid it on an extra chair as Kal held out her chair for her. He was mesmerized for a moment by how beautiful she was. She was wearing a simple but elegant black dress and a single strand of pearls. He remembered where he was and began to remove his own coat. Lois couldn't help but stare. He looked incredible in the charcoal gray suit jacket, white shirt and black pants he was wearing.
"I see you've studied enough about us that you knew what to wear tonight."
"I am acceptable then?" He looked down at his suit.
"You look … good, really good."
"Thank you. As do you."
"Thank you. Shall we order?"
"What do you recommend?"
"Guess you don't get too much pasta out your way." The waiter arrived and to his surprise Lois ordered angel pasta and red wine for both of them. He left to fill their order. "I'm sorry. I guess I should have asked you first about the wine."
"I've never had any, or pasta for that matter, so this will be a new experience for me."
"Me, too. I've never been out with a … alien" she smiled so he would know she didn't mean that as an insult. She had caught herself in time. She'd almost said gorgeous alien. She didn't want to take this too fast. Even though he was leaving tomorrow and she would probably never see him again, she'd hoped that he would continue to contact her, and she didn't want to scare him off.
"I'm glad you didn't bring your bodyguard along."
"Kai wanted to come, but I insisted I come alone. I assured him that you were harmless."
"Oh, you never can be too sure." Lois laughed. Kal smiled with her. He looked incredible when he smiled. Heck, he looked incredible all the time. Lois needed to focus on something else before she got herself into an awkward situation. "So, tell me about yourself?"
The food arrived before Kal could begin. "Is this location private?"
Lois nodded while she finished her bite of pasta. "That's why I asked for this table. Quiet and secluded. We could talk about anything and not be overheard. How is your food?"
"It is good. From what I have gathered, this is what a date is, exchanging of information."
"Yes, it is." Lois smiled.
"Tell me about Paul, Claude, and Perry."
"How'd … ?" She regarded him for a moment. He seemed almost … was it jealousy? How many of her thoughts had he read? "You first."
He hadn't meant for that to slip out. What was this woman doing to his concentration? But he needed to know. The thought of her with another male just did not sit well with him. But was that fair to her?
She watched as different emotions played across his handsome face. What was he thinking? How she wished she could read *his* thoughts! That would only be fair.
She was interested in knowing more about him, so he would exchange information with her. "I will attempt to answer some of your questions from earlier. I am the future leader of Krypton. I will become leader when all of my training and ceremonies are completed. Part of my training is to learn of other cultures and to establish diplomatic and trade alliances. That is one reason why I am here."
"Wow, ruler of the whole planet?! And my work interested you. I am flattered to say the least. So you contacted me for an … exchange of ideas?" At his nod she continued, "And to learn more about my people? Again I am flattered you chose me, but … why did you choose me? There are so many others to choose from?"
"We seemed to be kindred spirits. I knew from your work that I could talk to you. I desired someone who would be open and honest with me, not tell me what I wanted to hear just because I am their leader. I hope we can continue this exchange when I return to Krypton?"
"I would like that very much. So, what do you do on Krypton when you aren't training? Do you have a girlfriend?" It was too late to take it back now, and besides he had asked her about Paul and Claude, though she couldn't figure where Perry fit into that.
"I answered one of your questions. It is your turn."
"Okay" she laughed. "Perry is my editor, like a father to me. He has taught me everything I know about journalism, what I didn't learn in school, and gave me my first job at the Planet as a research assistant. He believed in me and has played a big part in helping me be the journalist I am."
That she had started with Perry told him that this was the most important of the three to her. Which meant there either wasn't a significant male in her life or her work meant more to her.
"I'm sure you are being modest. There are things in your writing that can not be taught."
Lois blushed. "Thank you. So," she hurried on. "What do you do for fun on Krypton?"
"There isn't much time for fun, but Kai and I do practice an ancient art of weaponry and skill. It's actually part of my training, but I do enjoy it."
Interesting. He hadn't mentioned a girl. "Sounds similar to martial arts that we have here. I'm studying a form called Tai Kwan Do."
"So we have something in common." He smiled again. That smile just turned her insides upside down.
"I guess we do." She smiled back. She was even more beautiful when she smiled, especially when it reached her eyes.
"So who are Paul and Claude?" The smile faded. "I apologize. I did not mean to upset you."
"It's okay. They are just two … people I would just as soon forget. It was a long time ago and I've learned my lessons. So how about you? Is there someone … special?" She wanted to know but she didn't.
"Yes, there is someone very special to me." His face lit up as he thought of Lois. Then as he remembered Zara, his expression changed to one of sadness. "Well, actually there is someone. We were betrothed to each other at birth. More of a political alliance between our two houses. She and I are friends. We have been since we were children."
So he was bound to one person but someone else held his heart. For such an advanced society they still had some old ways, she mused.
"So what does this political alliance mean?"
"We are scheduled to perform the ceremony in a few years. It is one of the last ceremonies I will complete before becoming leader."
He sounded so clinical about it. "What about love?" The sad look in his eyes made her want to bite her tongue, but it was out there now.
"With nobles that isn't a consideration. You are expected to do what is necessary for the people. Unless you are lucky, like my parents, Jor-el and Lara. They are in love. I had hoped for that kind of marriage, but I just do not feel that way about Zara. I know that sounds bad, but it is the truth. Actually, I think she has feelings for her bodyguard, Lieutenant Ching. But we both realize that is the way things have to be. And we have accepted it. I do like and respect Zara, and I know she will be a good leader by my side."
She felt so bad for him. His face had lit up when he spoke of the love between his parents, but had gotten serious again when he spoke of his intended. Maybe the wine was making her bolder, but now she was curious. Maybe if he didn't love this Zara she wouldn't have to think of them … together. Now where did that come from? Was she developing feelings for him already? She'd been down that road before. But he was different, or was he?
She plunged ahead. "What about children?"
"Zara and I will be expected to produce an heir. But Kryptonian children are born in reproduction centers. When it is time, the parents contribute the necessary materials and the child is monitored in a chamber. This practice has eliminated birth defects, miscarriages, and trauma to the mother and child."
He watched for her reaction as he described the procedure, expecting her to be appalled. He had learned some of how Terrans became parents and knew they still used the old fashioned methods, and actually frowned upon the scientific methods like those used on Krypton. To his surprise and delight, she actually looked relieved.
"Were you born this way? I'm sorry. I don't mean to be so forward and personal."
"It's okay. Actually, this practice has only come about in the past twenty years or so. My parents used the same means as are used here."
"Do your people still make love?" she heard herself whisper.
Kal looked at her, a sadness in his eyes. "Some do, like my parents. They are still so in love." His voice took on a wistful quality, as if he wanted the same thing. "But it is an ancient practice that is discouraged, especially among nobles. We strive to control our emotions."
"What about you … and Zara?"
"We are friends. We always have been for as long as I can remember. Our relationship will never be like that."
"But you'll be married?"
"As a political solution. I just do not feel that way about Zara."
"What about when you need … if you need … is there someone … What about Zara's needs?"
"She and I have an understanding. I know of her feelings for her lieutenant. I would never force her to change those. She knows, should the need arise, that she has Ching."
She had to know "What about you?"
"There are … professional caregivers on our world that accommodate nobles."
It sounded so cold, so void of love. So Zara had someone she could go to, but there was no one special he felt he could go to. Her heart went out to him. She could tell by the way he spoke of his parents that that was the type of relationship he wanted. But because of who he was that was not to be.
"Have you …?" her voice trailed off. Somehow she wanted him not to have taken advantage of this outdated custom of his people. She had already made up her mind what she was going to do. She knew, even after this short time, that she loved him, and she wanted to show him. She wanted to show him what it would be like when you were loved, and not just doing a job. She knew she would never see him again, that he was leaving tomorrow. This was the perfect relationship for her. She could love him, knowing he probably didn't love her. Oh, she knew he respected and admired her, and that was enough. That was more than the others. She had no misconceptions going in, set no unreachable hopes, understood he was unattainable. But she didn't love him any less, couldn't love him any less. And she would be safe since she had given her heart away knowing the circumstances. She could continue to love him and not worry about being hurt again. She knew somehow that there would never be anyone else.
"I … have not." Nor could he, now. He had finally found what he had been looking for. She completed him. He knew he loved her. And he could be with no one else, even if it was detached and professional. And he was willing to love her, knowing they would never be together. At least he could contact her. That was something he could hang on to.
Had not what? she wondered, watching him for the answer. Used professionals or made love with a woman? Of course, what she had done couldn't be considered as making love. Oh, she had thought at the time she was in love with Claude, but it didn't take long to realize she wasn't, and he certainly didn't love her. And that had been obvious with how he had treated her, both in bed and out. She realized suddenly that she did love this strange visitor from another planet. She wanted, needed to show him. Now to convince him.
They had both become quiet and contemplative. He wished he knew what she was thinking. But he had promised her he would not invade her thoughts.
She broke the silence "How was your dinner?"
"It was good. I think I like pasta." There was that smile again. Lois felt her insides melt and a physical yearning to taste those lips.
Lois stood up to leave, signalling the waiter for the check and picked up her coat. He hadn't returned after leaving their meals. Each time he had started to approach their table to check on them, they had seemed intent on each other and their conversation. Lois paid the bill, giving the waiter a generous tip and a thank you.
They left the restaurant and began walking back toward the Planet. "Cal, when do you have to leave tomorrow?" It was nearly 10:00. Dinner had taken about two hours, and it had been the best time Lois had ever had. She had to work the next day, but she wouldn't be able to sleep now, and she hoped she wouldn't be sleeping alone.
Kal laughed softly. "They won't leave without me, but we do have several days' travel to reach home." He wanted to spend as much time with her as he could. "Probably early afternoon, local time." He smiled again.
She plowed ahead. "My apartment is a little way past the Planet. Would you like to come back with me and continue your study of Earth?"
He had read a little of Terran dating customs and when a woman invited a man back to her place that usually led to one thing. And sometimes it held meaning and sometimes it didn't. He would try to keep this unemotional so she would not guess his true feelings. Otherwise it would be unfair to her. But she was the only woman, on Earth or Krypton, he wanted to be with. This could be his one chance to experience making love, and God how he loved her.
"What did you have in mind?"
She took a deep breath. "Well, I don't want to you think there are any strings attached, because I'm well aware of your situation, and I know you are leaving and what your obligations are, and that I may never see you again, but …" her voice trailed off. She'd been babbling, like a brook. She never babbled! What was this man doing to her?!
"Lois, what are you suggesting?" Could she really mean it? He thought he knew her well enough to know that she would not make this suggestion lightly.
She looked up at him with those huge brown eyes. He could get lost in those eyes. He was already lost in those eyes.
"I … " she whispered. How could she make him understand? She loved him, knew she would never love anyone else. This was her one chance to make love with someone she really loved. It didn't matter that she would never see him again. He would contact her, that she knew. He had come this far to see her. She had to assure him that this was enough. "I … want to share an Earth custom with you. I'm sure you've read about this very common practice among my people, and your trip here wouldn't really be complete without it." 'Did that sound detached enough?' she wondered. If his situation had been different, if she didn't love him so completely she wouldn't be trying so desperately.
"I would like that, Lois, … to experience this Earth custom." He wanted this one time, with her, but he didn't want her to know of his emotional investment. It bothered him to know that there would be others, but it wouldn't be fair to her to ask her to make the same choice he had made tonight. He wanted her to go on with her life. In all honesty, he wanted her to love only him, but he knew it wouldn't be fair to ask her. He wanted her to be happy. And he would contact her from Krypton, he enjoyed talking with her, and he would need to know that she was happy.
They walked past the Planet and continued on to Lois's apartment, each lost in their own thoughts.
'Did Kryptonians make love differently from humans?' She hadn't thought of that. He looked like he had … all the parts of a man. He looked like any other Earth male. Well, actually, not like any other male she'd ever seen. He was incredibly handsome and from what he'd worn tonight and earlier today she could tell he was well built. Hopefully she was about to find out just how well built, unless they did that differently. She hoped not.
From what Kal had read Kryptonians and Terrans made love the same way. Both races were similar physically. The main differences seemed to be more cultural and traditional, and his planet had a red sun, this one a yellow, but those were the only major differences.
They walked up the steps of her building. Her apartment was on the first floor, number 105. She inserted each key in turn, unlocking the five locks that secured her door. As she reached for the knob she thought 'This is it, isn't it?' She could still change her mind. But she didn't want to. Somehow she had known from the first time that he had contacted her that he was going to be special to her. What a dream this had turned out to be!
She opened the door and motioned him inside. She followed him and turned to close the door, her back to him. When she turned around he was standing close to her, almost touching her. She sucked her breath in sharply, startled by his sudden closeness. The room was still dark, bathed only in the moonlight shining in the two windows across the room, the curtains still open the way she had left them when she'd gone out earlier, still in daylight. She could just make out his silhouette, the light reflecting gently off his back. He raised his arms slowly, placing his hands lightly on her shoulders. She watched him slowly lower his head to hers and closed her eyes just before he touched her, anticipating his kiss. His lips softly touched hers, and she felt a thrill shoot through her. He pulled back slightly then met her lips again, this time lingering longer and deepening the kiss. As he slid his hands down her arms to circle her waist, her arms moved up around his neck, pulling him closer. She parted her lips, inviting him to deepen the kiss even more. He gladly obliged her. She slipped her tongue out just enough to touch his lips, inviting his to join hers. He opened his mouth further, allowing her access. She explored his lips and mouth, memorizing every feature. His tongue met hers, then followed into her mouth to memorize hers. When he finally broke the kiss to allow them to breathe, Lois moaned softly at the loss of contact. Wow! If he made love anything like he kissed this was going to be incredible. Unless this was it?! Her eyes flew open. No, it couldn't be, unless this was how Kryptonians made babies, or at least used to. Now she was babbling to herself!
And he was watching her. He could just make out her expressions in the moonlight. She was so beautiful! What was going on behind those lovely brown eyes? He raised his right hand up to lay it gently on her cheek, stroking his thumb lightly below an expressive eye. She was so small his large hand nearly covered half of her beautiful face.
She watched him. There was such gentleness, such kindness in those eyes, she could only trust him completely. She turned her head slightly to kiss his palm, keeping her eyes locked with his. He let out a sigh at the gentle touch. She was driving him crazy wanting her, but he also wanted this night to last forever. He never wanted to leave her. He had never known how wonderful foreplay could be.
She watched him again as he lowered his head for another kiss, this one no less intense than the first. Their tongues met and danced in promise of what was to come. Kal moved his hands to the lapels of her coat, gently easing it open and back over her shoulders. She realized suddenly she was hot, but it wasn't because she'd still had her coat on. She shivered slightly at his touch as he moved his hands slowly down her back guiding the coat to drop on the floor behind her. She'd had to break her contact with him, and he'd stopped just above her waist where gravity had taken over the coat's fall. Only he could make taking off a coat sensuous!
His hands moved around to circle her waist as she reached for the lapels of his coat, removing it the same way he had removed hers, at least the best she could over his broad shoulders. He moved closer to her to give her better access and lowering his arms so his coat could join hers on the floor. He still had on his suit jacket so she moved her hands back to his lapels, but she wanted to watch this time, knowing it would be her first real look at his body. She reluctantly broke off the kiss, her eyes lowering to where her hands rested on his jacket. He watched her intently studying what she was doing, her eyes a deep brown, almost black with desire.
She eased the jacket over his shoulders to follow the path of his coat. The white shirt he wore fit him perfectly, accenting his broad shoulders and well developed pectorals, contrasting just right with his skin tone visible above his collar. She reached for his tie. He certainly knew enough about Earth to know how to dress, even if the tie was a bit colorful. But it seemed to suit him. Her hands moved to loosen his tie, lightly brushing his chest as she worked. Oh, God, it felt so right having her touch him. He struggled between wanting to close his eyes so he could focus on what she was doing and on watching her do it. His tie soon lay on the floor with their coats.
He let out the breath he had been holding only to suck it in again as her small fingers moved to the top button of his shirt. He could just feel her light touch as she slowly worked each button free.
Lois's hot gaze could not leave the path of skin her fingers were exposing with each button. As she undid the button at the base of his neck she could feel his pulse strong and fast. The next button gave a hint of the smooth, hard chest underneath. The next button confirmed it, revealing more of his bronzed skin. She lightly slid her hands over his pecs through his partly opened shirt as she proceeded to the next button, already half way through her current task. She wanted to make this last as long as she could, hoping to set him on fire with her touch as he had done to her, as she knew he would continue to do to her.
Kal watched her gaze lower, the thrill of her touch on his chest through his shirt almost too much for him to take. He wanted to hurry her, but was more curious to see what she would do next. The slow torture was causing the tension in him to rise higher than he ever thought it could.
The next button revealed the top of his flat, well-sculpted stomach. The rest was hidden, for now. The next two buttons were tucked into his well-fitting black pants. She grasped his shirt at his waist and gently tugged it free, then released the last of the buttons. His shirt now hung open, revealing half of his chest to her gaze. That suddenly wasn't enough. She wanted more.
She slid her hands beneath his shirt placing them flat over his pecs, and moving closer made her first contact with his skin. She paused a moment, enjoying the feel of his bare skin. She could feel his heart beating under her hand; if possible it was beating harder and faster. For the first time she noticed his scent. Had she not been breathing before? She couldn't remember. He smelled wonderful; so male, so musky.
She slid her hands up to his shoulders, marvelling at how well-defined he was. Her fingers lightly brushed his neck before moving down the broad length of his shoulders, easing his shirt off as she went. That move had exposed his entire chest to her hungry view. She groaned softly with anticipation of feeling that perfect, smooth skin next to hers. She continued to push the shirt down his arms, gently squeezing his large biceps as she passed, arms so strong that had touched her so gently before. She continued down his forearms and lingered at his hands as the shirt joined the growing pile on the floor.
Her gaze flowed unhindered over the exposed parts of his body. His broad shoulders, well-developed pecs, his strong arms, slender waist and flat stomach. He really was gorgeous, with a kind, gentle nature to match. From his head to his waist, what she could see was perfect. There was no reason to think the rest of him wouldn't be.
He watched her eyes rake over him, almost worshipfully. No one had ever looked at him that way before. There was raw hunger there, and something else. He wasn't quite sure what it was, but he was sure it was mirrored in his own eyes. Could it be love? He knew now he couldn't keep the love he felt for her separate from everything else he was feeling. She had to know, had to feel it too. It was so much a part of him now, consuming him. He raised his hand and placed his finger under her chin, gently raising her face until her gaze met his.
Suddenly, he needed to know. Was it like this for her before? Was this special for her? For some reason it seemed to matter now. He needed her to know how he felt.
"Lois," he whispered, looking deep into her eyes. She was sure he could see into her soul. The way he whispered her name was like a gentle caress that sent chills down her spine. "I … need to know: is this … special for you?"
"Oh, Cal, you will never know how different from other men you are," she whispered in reply. "For an alien you are the most romantic person I know." She looked at him almost pleadingly, wanting desperately for him to understand just how special this, and he, was to her. "There was only one other, and you have made love to me better so far then he could ever hope to."
"Lois, I know it's not fair to tell you this, but you need to know before we take the next step." He sighed and dropped his gaze. When he returned his gaze to hers, he had a troubled look in his beautiful brown eyes.
'Oh, no.' She felt a moment of panic. What could he possibly tell her that she would need to know before they went on? She was ready to take the next step, was aching for it. Maybe he needed to know that she was still sure, more sure than she had been about anything.
"Cal, there's something I need to tell you first."
"No, Lois, I *need* to tell you that … I've never … done … this before."
"Any … of this."
"Wow, for someone who's never done … this before you're … perfect so far."
"I have done a bit of reading, and actually, I think a lot of it has to do with … you."
"Lois, I know it isn't fair to tell you this under the circumstances, but I needed you to know that with you, this seems so natural, and I think it's because…"
She looked at him questioningly.
"Lois, I … love … you."
"Oh, Cal, I love you, too!" She paused, watching him for his reaction to her revelation, and letting him see hers to his. "And I realize our circumstances aren't ideal, but I want this one night with you. I need to show you how much I love you, and for us to share something perfect, something I can keep with me after you're gone."
"Lois, you are incredible. I do love you. With all my heart." He placed his hand on her cheek and lowered his head to kiss her again.
The kiss was intense and passionate, as if it were the last time he would be able to kiss her. It seemed to go on forever. She wished it would. She'd overheard in office gossip that you could tell how a man made love by the way he kissed. Experience or no, this one would be more than incredible. She could feel his love in the way he touched and kissed her, as if he were worshipping her, that he could be satisfied kissing her if that was all she wanted. She had never felt so desired, and so loved.
He could have continued kissing her like this until he had to leave, but he wanted more. The ache inside to be one with her was becoming more persistent. So this was what it felt like to really love someone. He broke off the kiss, ending with a light butterfly kiss on her lips, then moved to the corner of her mouth, kissing her lightly again. He moved down to her chin, trailing light kisses along her jaw in a slow trail as he followed his hand into her hair. He stopped to kiss and nibble on her ear, his warm breath sending chills down her spine. When he had thoroughly explored every part of her delicate ear, he moved down to her neck, again planting delicate kisses in the trail behind his hand. She tilted her head to give him better access, moaning softly at his touch. Her eyes were closed and all of her senses were focused on what he was doing and the fire he was stoking within her.
He slowly moved down her neck, pausing to concentrate on the hollow between her neck and shoulder. As his hand continued down her shoulder, he hooked his thumb in the thin strap of her dress, slowly pulling it off her shoulder to rest on her upper arm and covering it with his hand. He then resumed kissing her shoulder, stopping only when he got to its end.
He repositioned himself, bending lower so he could explore the skin that had been covered by the strap. He kissed slowly down her body until his lips came in contact with material. He pulled back slightly, watching as his hand eased her strap further down her arm, exposing the top swell of her breast. He resumed kissing every inch of skin available, moving lower as his hand continued to lower the strap down her arm. He could feel her heart beat under his lips stronger and faster and could feel the rise and fall of her breast in rhythm with her fast, shallow breaths. Her hands had moved onto his head, gently running her fingers through his hair in silent encouragement.
He paused to look at her. "Lois, you are so beautiful," he whispered.
As he continued his ministrations, his hands continued to slowly work her dress further down. Keeping his hands flat and hooking his thumbs in fabric that now gathered at her slender waist he gently pushed the fabric over her hips, brushing his hands along her hips and upper thighs. His palms brushed over the thin material of her lace panties and immediately back to the bare skin of her thigh, stopping when his hands came into contact with the top of her hose. Gravity took over from there as her dress fell around her feet.
As her dress landed on the floor, he stood back to memorize the way she looked at this moment, bathed in the moonlight. She wore only dark lace panties and dark hose, and as she took this moment to step out from her dress, he saw she was still wearing her dark high heeled shoes.
She watched him as his gaze caressed her, then she held out her hand to him. "I think one of us is slightly over dressed for this party" she said in a husky voice. She led him into her bedroom, guiding him to the edge of the bed. She sat down and positioned him in front of her.
She smiled up at him mischievously. "So far, what I've seen you wearing, or not wearing, today has looked incredible on you. But, I gotta know, do you prefer boxers or briefs?"
"Well, Ms. Lane, I can tell from reading your thoughts now that I made the right choice for tonight." His voice was thick with passion. She could make out his features clearly from the moonlight flooding the smaller room through the window, its curtains also left open from earlier in the day. No one had ever looked at her with such love and desire. She would carry that memory with her forever.
His look sent a new surge of passion through her and brought her back to the task at hand. With her first objective in sight she reached for his belt. 'I bet he would look great in suspenders too,' she thought as that picture flashed through her mind, along with an image of her taking them off him.
He smiled down at her. 'What other fantasies do you have?'
'Hmmm, we may get to some of those later. Right now I want to see those boxers.' She smiled impishly back at him, seeing a definite advantage in his ability to read her thoughts.
She continued her task of unhooking his belt to reveal a button underneath. Undoing the button exposed his navel and she could just make out a faint trail of dark hair at its base that disappeared from view into the top of his boxers. Grasping the zipper between her fingers she slowly lowered it. That done she grasped his pants, button in one hand, its hole in the other and opened the material to get a better look at the boxers. Her head was blocking the moonlight but she could tell they were dark, and she could feel they were silk. Hmmm. Now to get them off him.
He signalled with one finger for her to wait and he bent down and removed his shoes, then reached for hers, his hands lingering on her feet in a gentle caress. He then stood back up in front of her. She placed her hands along the waistband and gently began to pull his pants over his hips and powerful thighs. Gravity took them the rest of the way and he stepped back out of the pool of clothing. The move took him out of her shadow and gave her a better view of him in the moonlight, now wearing only boxers and socks. He bent to move the pants from out of in front of her and removed his socks.
He paused a moment to look at her. There she was. Competitive, get-the-story-at-all-costs, brilliant, award-winning, and the most beautiful woman he had even seen. She held out her arms to him, inviting him to join her in bed. He obliged. It felt so right to lie with her like this, feeling the length of her body against his. He placed his hands on either side of her face, kissing her deeply and enjoying the feel of her.
She welcomed his weight, putting her arms around his shoulders to pull him closer. They made love, coming together as if they had always been intended for each other.
They slowly returned to reality, their breathing and heart rate returning to normal. Kal felt Lois stir below him and raised his head from its position at her neck to look into her eyes. He smiled down at her, still enjoying the feel of her body under his.
"Wow," she whispered, smiling back at him. "That was …"
"I know." He swallowed her words in a kiss. Sliding his hands under her shoulders he rolled them over so she was lying on his chest. She laid her cheek on his chest over his heart, listening to the steady rhythm. She watched her hand as it played over the muscles of the other side of his chest, gently massaging his well-defined pectoral muscle.
She was suddenly more curious about him, remembering something he had said to her earlier. Had it only been a day since they had been together? One perfect day.
"So, tell me something" she said, continuing her ministrations. "With parents named Jorel and Lara, and friends named Zara and Ching, how did you get a name like Cal?"
He watched her fingers play over his skin, finding it difficult to concentrate on her words to form a coherent response.
"Um, …actually, it's …" he sighed, the reminder of his duty sobering him. "It's Lord Kal-El, son of Jor-El, of the House of El."
"K-a-l — E-l."
"Oh." She paused before adding, "That's a mouthful. No wonder you shortened it to Kal." The title reminded her that he would be leaving soon. She focused her attention again on her hand as it moved across his chest. They could talk about that later. Right now she was laying on top of the most beautiful man she had ever seen who had just made love to her like she never thought any man would. She wanted to make love with him again. She had been accused by her former lover of being frigid in bed. That had hurt her deeply. She had vowed to not let that happen again, immersing herself in her work. But after what had just happened she knew it wasn't her. It had been him and that not only did he not care about her, he didn't really know how to make love to her, to anticipate and know her needs. It took this man to make her feel like a woman. Too bad he was an alien. But that didn't matter right now. He was more male than any man she had ever known. And she wanted him again. Now. She smiled as she realized some of the advantages of being on top.
He watched the emotions playing across her face, content to just watch her beautiful features and feel the lazy play of her hand on his chest and not try to read the thoughts that invoked them. He had known, after watching the loving expressions exchanged by his parents, that with the right woman it would be like this. And he had known for some time that Zara wasn't that woman. He had thought he'd never find her, and here she was, lying on top of him, her body perfectly molded to his. Could he be content with this? Would he be able to leave her later? He would have to, he knew, but for now he would enjoy being with her and leave them both something tangible to remember when he returned to Krypton, where he would have to be content with mental communications. At least they would have that, and their memories of this time spent together. And what an incredible time it had been! He had never imagined that it could be this good. And as painful as it would be to leave and never see her again, he would not have traded this time for anything in the universe. It had all been worth it to experience that one true love. Carrying her memory and love with him would be enough to sustain him through his duties to come.
She startled him out of his musing when she moved up to kiss him. They made love again, not wanting their time together to end.
Afterwards, she lay her head on his shoulder. "So it wasn't a fluke. You really are incredible," she teased.
"Guess so," he teased back.
She laughed. "You've been on Earth too long. You are starting to pick up some of our habits."
He regarded her seriously. "It's you. I can be myself with you. No expectations. I don't have to be "Lord Kal-El" with you. I can be just Kal. That's one of the reasons I love you."
"One? What are the others?"
"We don't have that much time." He smiled at her, trying to soften the reminder.
She sighed. She was suddenly sleepy, enjoying the feel of his warm body under her. "Well," she yawned. "You can get started, at least until I fall asleep."
He laughed softly and kissed the top of her head. "I'm getting pretty tired myself. You wore me out."
She smiled up at him and rose to kiss his lips. "Goodnight, Kal."
She settled back down on his chest, the sound of his steady heartbeat and breathing lulling her to sleep. He wrapped his arms more tightly around her and followed her into a deep, sated sleep.
BZZZZ, BZZZZ, BZZZZ
"Damn," Lois mumbled. The sound of the alarm clock woke her from her deep slumber. The sound stopped, but she didn't remembered reaching over to turn it off. She must be more out of it than usual. Then she realized where she was, or rather who she was on top of. So it hadn't been a dream? Last night had been real, and really incredible. She stretched lazily, the movement immediately awakening his body to the nearness of hers. "Hi." She smiled sexily down at him.
"Hi yourself." He reached up and grasped her head between his hands, bringing her down for a good morning kiss.
"Mmmmmmm," she sighed against his lips. While she could still get up she forced herself to break off the kiss and headed for the shower.
After Lois got out of the shower, Kal couldn't resist making love to her again, once more before he had to leave her. He didn't know when he would get another chance to be with her.
Coming to full awareness again she said, "How about we get some breakfast?"
"Breakfast. I think I can handle that."
She reached up to kiss him. "Thank you. For indulging me."
"Believe me, Lois, it wasn't that difficult."
She laughed. "Oh, I should warn you. I only know how to make four things."
"I'm sure we'll manage."
"We better get up or we'll be here all day."
"I can think of worse things to do."
She playfully slapped his arm. "Very funny. I don't know about you but I'm hungry, and I need coffee, oh, and I better call Perry to let him know I'll be in later today."
"Coffee. Now there's one Terran habit I haven't tried yet."
"Well, you are in for a treat. That I can make."
Getting up they began to dress. He walked over to where he had left part of his clothes last night as she went to her dresser to pull out panties and a bra.
She realized what he was doing and turned around, pulling the panties up then putting on her bra. "I don't have anything I can give you to wear, sorry."
"That's okay, Lois. I don't think I'd look as good in your lace panties as you do."
"Oh, I bet you would look good." She grinned back at him.
"These will be fine. I didn't wear them that long last night anyway," he said grinning at her mischievously.
Eyes dancing with laughter and love she acquiesced, turning to her closet to determine what she was going to wear today. She was enjoying this friendly banter with him. She hadn't thought she was the type that would, never thought she would meet a man that would satisfy her physically and be her intellectual equal. Choosing a comfortable navy blue pant suit and a white blouse, she got dressed, then turned around to find him watching her, dressed only in his shoes, socks and pants, hands in his pants pockets. He hadn't wanted to leave her to get his shirt. Her gaze paused at his naked chest, then she forced her eyes up to meet his shining at her with love.
Walking just beyond him to the nightstand she reached for the phone, dialling the number for Perry's office at the Planet. He answered on the second ring.
"Perry, this is Lois. I'm …" she glanced at Kal "still working on that story. I'll be in a bit later."
"Okay, honey. We'll see you later."
She hung up the phone, shrugging her shoulders. "I had to tell him something. Besides, if you guys do decide to make this public, it's only fair that I get the exclusive since I saw you first."
He threw his head back and laughed, pulling her into his embrace. "That's my Lois. Ever the reporter."
My Lois. She liked the sound of that. She never thought she'd want to be anybody's anything. She'd buried her feelings and desires to be loved as deep as she could after being hurt and had let her work consume her. He had brought those feelings to the surface and it felt so great. Lightly patting his chest she said, "Let's go get some breakfast."
He followed her out of the bedroom, moving to the door to retrieve his shirt while she went to the kitchen beside the living room. He put his shirt on, leaving the tie and jacket on the floor for now, while she started water for coffee.
"Oatmeal okay with you? It doesn't take long."
"Um, I'm not sure what that is."
"That is one of the few things I can make that doesn't have chocolate in it."
"Oh, well, in that case…" He finished putting on his shirt, leaving the shirt tail out and the top two buttons undone. Moving to the kitchen counter he watched her work. She took two cups out of the cabinet and poured the hot liquid into them, then set one in front of him.
"Try it this way first."
He looked down at the uninviting, mud-brown liquid. "How do you drink yours?"
"With non-calorie sweetener."
"I'll try that." She put two packets of sweetener in his cup. She watched as he raised it to his lips and took a sip, making a slight face.
"Some people like it with cream." She turned to retrieve the milk out of the fridge and poured a little into his cup.
He took another sip. "I think it needs more." She poured, he sipped. "More." She poured more, he sipped again. "I think that's got it"
She raised an eyebrow at him. "Have some coffee with your milk."
Smiling at her over the edge of his cup he countered, "is that oatmeal ready yet?"
She lifted the spoon, tilting it so the runny liquid poured back into the pot. "How about Pop Tarts?"
He laughed again. "I certainly don't love you for your culinary skills, even though the coffee is good."
"How can you even taste the coffee?"
"You did say some people like it with milk."
"*Some* milk, not half a cup!"
He let her have the last word on that subject. He got the impression that was how she was, always having to have the last word. "So," he switched gears. "I have to go back to the ship to change into my uniform. Would you like to come?"
"Can I see more of the ship, and your quarters?" The reporter in her had kicked in. Curiosity about the ship, as well as wanting to see where he lived piqued her interest. He knew how she lived, and now she wanted to learn more about him. And since she wouldn't be going to Krypton, she wanted to see the ship that had brought him to her.
"I think that can be arranged." He smiled at her enthusiasm.
She beamed back at him. "Okay. Just let me grab my case." She dropped two Pop Tarts in the toaster and went to retrieve her briefcase from her desk. When she returned, the Pop Tarts had finished toasting. She gingerly pulled one out and placed it on a small plate, handing it to him. "We'll finish breakfast first. Careful. It's hot." She retrieved the other Pop Tart for herself and smiled at him as they enjoyed their breakfast together.
"I can get use to this … um … gourmet breakfast and coffee."
"Watch it, Spaceman." She smiled in spite of herself at his teasing. "What you are drinking there can not be construed as coffee."
He laughed at her deliberate avoidance of the "meal". He could definitely get used to this. Spending time with her, doing ordinary couple activities, laughing and enjoying each other's company. He would have to try contacting her at various times so he could be involved in all aspects of her life.
"Ready?" he asked and held out his hand to her. She nodded, taking his hand in hers. He pulled her into his embrace, then closed his eyes.
She looked up at him. "What are you doing?"
He opened his eyes to look at her. "Contacting the ship telepathically, requesting transport to my quarters."
"It's okay. You trust me?"
"Then close your eyes," he said gently.
She put her arms around his waist, closing her eyes and tightening her grip on him. She felt a strange tingling sensation. When it stopped she looked up into his eyes, looking down at her with loving amusement. He gave her a brief squeeze. "We're here." He released her to walk into an adjoining room. "Make yourself comfortable. I'm going to change. I'll be right back.."
Lois nodded at his retreating back and looked around at her surroundings. She was standing in the middle of a small room that looked like something out of Star Trek. There were windows along one wall with a long couch underneath. The adjoining wall contained a desk and chair, with various electronic equipment and a computer set-up like nothing she'd ever seen. The wall behind contained only the door leading, she presumed, out of the room. The last wall contained the door Kal had just disappeared through and a small table and chair. There were what looked like electronic pads on the table. Lois turned to look through the door to the adjoining room hoping to get a glimpse of what was in there when the doorway was suddenly filled by Kal. She swallowed, hard, and let her eyes roam over him from toe to head. He wore black boots with a patch of blue on the tips and a black spandex-type outfit with blue trim on the wrists that hugged his body like a second skin. She slowly raised her eyes, enjoying the way the outfit molded to his thighs, hips, and chest. On his chest was a large blue shield with what looked like an S filling it. She finally made it to his eyes, and noticed he was blushing slightly. 'And I thought he looked good in Earth clothes.' She watched his color deepen. 'Serves you right for eavesdropping.' She smiled.
"So," he began, clasping his hands in front of him.
Lois pointed to his chest. "What does the 'S' stand for?"
Kal looked down then back to Lois. "It's not an 'S', Lois. It's the emblem for the House of El."
"Oh." Another reminder of their different worlds. She looked over her shoulder at the computer terminal, then back to Kal. "What are you working on?"
"Mostly collecting data on Earth to take back to Krypton to study in more depth. Would you like to see some images of Krypton?"
She wanted to learn all she could about him. It would help pass those lonely hours after he was gone when she let herself think about it. At least she would be able to imagine where he was. "That would be only fair." She was trying to keep herself distant and detached, because when she began to think about tomorrow without him she didn't think she could go on, or let him go.
He sensed what she was doing. He was having a hard time not taking her in his arms and making love to her until they reached Krypton. But he knew she would never survive their red sun. They had studied enough about Earth to know that its yellow sun would have no adverse effects on Kryptonians, but Terrans were more fragile and couldn't live under the effects of their red sun. And there would be no way to protect her from it. He motioned her over to the computer terminal. Tapping a few keys he brought up several images of the planet. Futuristic buildings covered a relatively flat terrain and in some images small ships could be seen against the skyline. The next few pictures were more personal. There was one of Kal and Kai practicing what must be the form of martial arts he had told her about, another of Kal with a couple about his age who he identified as Zara and Ching, and one of him with an older couple who he identified as Jor-El and Lara.
A thought suddenly struck her. "Would I be able to see Krypton from Earth?"
"Yes, I think that may be possible." He tapped a few more keys, pulling up star maps. "There. To the left of what you call the Orion cluster, see that smaller cluster of stars? The brightest one is Krypton."
"I'll watch it every night" she said in a soft, tear-filled voice. She wiped at a tear. "I'm sorry. I don't know if I can do this."
Grasping her shoulders he turned her to face him, his own eyes bright with unshed tears. "Lois" he managed. "Make love to me. I want your scent on my pillow to sustain me after I'm gone."
"Oh, Kal," she choked out. She reached up to kiss him, placing her hands on either side of his face. He bent to pick her up and carry her into his bedroom. When he set her down she noticed the room contained only a comfortable looking bed and a sink and mirror with drawers underneath next to another doorway leading into a small bathroom. She didn't have long to look around before he hungrily kissed her, and began quickly removing her clothing. He just about had her out of hers, while she was still fumbling for a way to get him out of his.
"I know this thing comes off but I can't for the life of me figure out how," she mumbled against his lips.
"Here. Let me." He quickly dispensed of the remainder of her clothes then reached for the hidden zipper near the shoulder in the front of his uniform, quickly removing it and his boots.
She shook her head. "Never would have guessed."
He picked her up again and gently laid her on his pillow. He resumed kissing her hungrily, his hands seeming to be everywhere at once. His intense passion quickly brought her up to speed and she returned his hunger, moving her hands up and down his body as far as she could reach. They made love fervently, knowing this could be their last time together. As their breathing and heart rates slowly returned to normal, he pulled back from where his head was resting on her shoulder and looked into her large brown eyes.
"I'm sorry, Lois. I hadn't intended for that to happen, and certainly not like that."
"It's okay, Kal. It was … wonderful. I've never felt so loved and desired."
"I do love you, Lois. I wish …"
She placed a small kiss on his lips. "I know," she whispered. "But I want you to know, I have no regrets. There is an old Earth saying. 'It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.' And I will always carry you with me here." She placed her hand over her heart.
"And I you." He bent his head to kiss her again when he got a far away look in his eyes. He sighed heavily. "It's time."
She nodded. He kissed her again deeply then slowly pulled away from her. He walked to the sink and, opening one of the drawers, retrieved a small towel. She watched him from her position on the bed. This was the first time she'd seen this side of him. She'd felt it, but now her eyes could confirm it; he really did have a nice rear end.
'Thank you.' He turned to smile at her before throwing a towel at her.
She giggled and got out of his bed, cleaning off and putting her clothes back on. "I'm gonna have to be more careful about what I think around you. I'm always sticking my foot in my mouth."
He laughed, going to her and putting his arms around her. "It's one of the many things I love about you. You're never afraid to speak your mind."
"Well, usually I'm a little more careful about what actually gets heard."
He raised an eyebrow at her in a look of disbelief.
"Cute." She playfully slapped him on the chest.
His face suddenly turned serious and he bent his head to take her lips in a long, tender kiss. As he pulled back he noticed a single tear escape to roll down her cheek. He wiped it away with the pad of his thumb.
"I better go, while I still can," she said in a quiet, shaky voice.
He nodded and bent to kiss her again. She felt the tingling sensation again and when she opened her eyes she was standing alone in her apartment. She looked around, noticing his coat and tie from last night were still on the floor by the front door. She walked over to retrieve his coat, holding it to her face so she could smell his scent, a sob escaping her. She cried silently for a few moments, then she heard his voice, barely a whisper at first 'Lois.' Louder. 'Lois.' Louder and stronger. 'Lois, I love you.'
'I love you, Kal.'
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She needed to get to work. If she didn't go now she'd just collapse on the floor in a heap and cry her heart out. She needed to get her mind off him for now until she could distance herself from the situation more and be able to think about him without crying uncontrollably. She took another deep breath to steady herself and looked around for her briefcase and car keys. The briefcase was on the floor near where she had been transported to from the ship. She'd left it behind. That wasn't like her. She kept that case with her everywhere she went. It contained her notebooks and pens, tape recorder, small camera, lock picking kit, and anything an investigative journalist might need at a moment's notice. She'd been distracted and left it. He'd found it and transported it to her.
She was able to smile a little, knowing that he would still be able to communicate with her, that he wasn't completely gone. She headed out the door to her Jeep, careful to lock all five locks on her door.
In the car she switched on the radio, hoping for a little distraction. An up-tempo song came on and the words caught her attention.
*I've been a rock and I've got my fenses
I never let them down
When it comes to love I keep my senses
I don't get kicked around
I shivered once, you broke into my soul
The damage is done now, I'm out of control
How did you get to me?*
*No one else on earth could ever hurt me
Break my heart the way you do
No one else on earth was ever worth it
No one could love me like
No one could love like you*
*You can make me want you anytime you want to
You're burnin' me alive
I can't deny you even when I catch you weavin' a weak alibi
Cause when the night falls, you make me forget
You're love is killing me and it ain't over yet
How did you get to me?*
*No one else on earth could ever hurt me
Break my heart the way you do
No one else on earth was ever worth it
No one could love me like
No one could love me like you*
*I shivered once, you broke into my soul
The damage is done now, I'm out of control
How did you get to me?*
*No one else on earth could ever hurt me
Break my heart the way you do
No one else on earth was ever worth it
No one could love me like
No one could love me like
No one else on earth could ever hurt me
Break my heart the way you do
No one else on earth was ever worth it
No one could love me like
No one could love me like you*
*No one else on earth was ever worth it
No one could love me like
No one like you
No one like you*
As the song faded out Lois reached over to turn off the radio. "That is too close to the truth to even be funny," she mumbled to herself. She sighed deeply. "Okay, Lane, you gotta get a grip here. You let your guard down, let him in and look what's happened now? He's gone! You knew this would happen! It always does. Except this time it's different. You really love him!" she cried. She took another steadying breath. "But you thought you loved Claude. The difference is you *know* you love this one. That was the chance you took. You even *told* him that. And it was worth it, at least will be when it doesn't hurt so much. At least you know you won't go through life without ever finding your true love. You'll spend the rest of your life alone, but that's what you wanted, right? At least it was before you met *him*. But right now you've got a job to do and that will just have to be enough." She drove the rest of the way to the Planet in silence.
Lois stepped off the elevator into the city room and began going through the mail, seeing what she had missed during the morning. Perry saw her enter and stopped by her desk.
"How's that lead coming, Lois?"
"Still working on it, Chief. Nothing's panned out yet."
"Keep at it, honey. I know if anyone can get it you can."
"Oh, how's the LexCorp story coming?"
"A little better. I know there's something there, I just can't connect it all back to Luther, yet." As if on cue, Jimmy walked over to Lois's desk, handing her another stack of papers.
"Lois, here's some more stuff I've been able to dig up. All of these companies are fronts but there's nothing official leading back to LexCorp. They've covered their tracks pretty good, but the rumor is LexCorp is backing at least some of these shady companies."
"Thanks, Jimmy. I'll get right on this, Perry."
"Okay, honey. Come on, Jimmy, let's let the lady work."
Work. Yes, that would be good. Take her mind off "the other story." She made a mental note to work on her novel later. Actually to start a new one. The one she'd been working on was about a woman who'd died without ever finding her true love. This one would be about a woman who meets and falls in love with an alien. If anyone ever got to read it, no one need know it was autobiographical.
Daily Planet 9pm
Perry walked out of his office heading toward the elevators to go home. He noticed one lone figure still working in the city room.
"Lois, honey, what are you still doing here? Why don't you go home? You've been at it all day. Come on. I'll walk you to the garage."
Lois really didn't want to leave. She didn't want to return to that empty apartment. "Thanks, Perry, but I'm so close to breaking this LexCorp thing."
"Honey, it'll be here tomorrow." She knew better than to argue with that tone.
She acquiesced with a sigh, saved her document, grabbed her coat and briefcase and allowed Perry to walk her out.
Lois sat in a chair by the window, staring at the stars, or more specifically, the star she thought was Krypton. When she'd gotten home she hadn't been hungry, hadn't felt like doing anything except to let her mind finally wander to where it wanted to. Where was he? What was he doing? Was he thinking of her? A music cd was playing softly in the background. Lois lost herself in the haunting music as she stared at Krypton, images playing across her mind's eye.
*Strands of light on a bedroom floor
Change the night through an open door
I'm awake but this is not my home
For the first time I'm not alone
Reaching out I touch another's skin
Breathing out as he's breathing in
Deep inside I feel my soul aflame
Can my life ever be the same*
*I should have told him that I'd do anything if I could hold him
For just another, for just another day
His love is something I will not forget
When I am far away, when I am far away
I feel the rainfall of another planet
*Close together in the afterglow
I remember how his loving flowed
Turned the key into another world
Made a woman of a simple girl
Daylight comes as we both know it must
Soon my fantasy will turn to dust
But I would give him anything he asked
If my first love could be my last*
*I should have told him that I'd do anything if I could hold him
For just another day, for just another day
His love is something I will not regret
When I am far away, when I am far away
I feel the rainfall of another planet
Lois awoke the next morning, still in the chair by the window. She'd fallen asleep dreaming of Kal. She got up stiffly and got ready for work. She spent the day at the office, studying more reports on the connection of LexCorp and its president and CEO, Lex Luthor, with organized crime in Metropolis. If she could find the connection, that should put her in line for another Kerth, maybe even that Pulitzer. She put in a few calls to sources, the most reliable of which was Bobby Bigmouth. He hadn't found out anything yet, but if any of her sources could give her the tip she needed to break this story wide open, it was Bobby. She'd have to buy him a whole restaurant if he came through for her on this one. Before she realized it, Perry was shooing her out again, to spend a few more lonely hours at home and to grab a few restless hours of sleep before she could be reprieved with work.
Tonight she decided to work on her new novel. At least this way she could think of Kal in a more constructive way and get down on paper, or rather on her computer, everything that happened between them since that first contact and maybe sort out some of her feelings now. Writing had always helped her to focus.
When she got home, Lois let herself in, unlocking the five locks on the door, kicked off her shoes, dropped her case on the desk and turned on the computer. While it booted up, she went to the kitchen to grab dinner — a half gallon of chocolate ice cream. She took the container and a spoon to the desk and sat down behind the computer. Opening a new file in her word processor she started typing, beginning with that first telepathic communication, and pausing every so often to take a bite of ice cream. Her fingers flew as fast they could to keep up with the thoughts going through her mind.
'That's an interesting story,' a male voice interrupted her thoughts. She had just finished detailing their first sexual encounter.
'Kal! How long have you been there?'
'Not long. I didn't want to interrupt you. I'm sorry I couldn't contact you sooner. We just returned, and communication wasn't possible during flight at the speed we had to travel. What have you been working on?'
She thought he was referring to her current article for the Planet. 'A criminal connection to LexCorp. I know it's there, but I just can't quite make it fit.'
'That sounds like an interesting story. Were you just referring to someone at LexCorp?' Was that jealousy?
'What? Oh, you mean what I'm working on *now*. Oh, um, well.' She was hoping she could distract him. She had poured her heart out in those last few pages and hadn't wanted him to know how hard this was on her. She was sure it was hard for him, too, and didn't want to add to his burden. She could handle this alone. He must not have heard too much or he would have known it was about him. 'Um, just throwing some stray thoughts down. No, LexCorp is involved in some illegal activities, but I just can't prove it yet.'
She hadn't wanted him to know what she was writing, but he had seen enough to guess that it was about himself, and that she was hurting, but didn't want him to know. And it was his fault. It was his fault they were both hurting. But he still felt it had been worth it. Did she?
'What have you got so far?'
'Not much. My sources tell me that many of the illegal organizations pay protection money to someone they call The Boss. No one knows who he is, at least no one that will talk. But he controls all the criminal activity in Metropolis; gambling, prostitution, drugs, guns, even shady corporate takeovers and money laundering. This guy is into everything but nothing ever gets traced back to him. He stays too far removed from the action. My hunch is that he's a prominent citizen working both sides of the street. What better cover! With an organization this size he's got plenty of expendable henchmen and pays enough to insure their silence. I think it's the CEO of LexCorp, but I just can't prove it.'
'Just be careful, Lois. This guy probably wouldn't think twice about getting rid of someone who got too close.'
She wouldn't tell him her plan. No sense in worrying him. What could he do to help her? 'If I can bring down one of the richest men in the world who is also one of the biggest crime bosses, that should put me in line for a Pulitzer!'
'Kal, this is my job. I am an investigative journalist. My job is to expose people like this. I've been doing it a lot longer than I've known you.'
'I know, Lois. Just promise me you will be careful.'
'I'm not convinced.'
'Well, you'll just have to trust me, won't you?'
Kal sighed. He wasn't going to win this one. 'Okay, Lois. I love you.'
'I love you, too, Kal.'
Lois spent the next few days working on the LexCorp story as much as she could, between the other stories Perry had assigned her, but at this point she was stymied. Kal contacted her each night for a few minutes to get an update. It was nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of. Kal's experience with other cultures enabled him to suggest other angles that she had not thought of. But she was still not able to prove the connection that she knew was just within her grasp. She told him of the other stories she was working on and he told her about some of the training he was receiving. Lois was filling the void for Kal that he had hoped she would when he had first contacted her. Loving her had made it harder for him to keep his objectivity about her, but since he couldn't be with her, what he did have was more than he could have hoped for. He finally felt like he belonged. Unfortunately, she was an alien.
Lois slowly came to and looked around at her surroundings, her head still pounding from the effects of the chloroform. She tried to free her hands. They were tied securely to the chair she was sitting in. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness she could tell that the room wasn't very large. Her chair was the only piece of furniture in the room, facing the only means in or out. The last thing she remembered was looking through some files she had found that might connect to a larger fish in this pond of corruption. Not the big one, but she'd settle for getting closer at this point. She had gotten a tip from one of her sources that OmniBusiness was about to close a lucrative technologies contract and that the contract might have been obtained through illegal means. She told Perry she was following up on a tip and had snuck into OmniBusiness after the place had closed that night. She had picked her way into the President's office and after searching through normal looking files around the desk, found the secret compartment under the desk. Apparently, the President of OmniBusiness was covering his back in case the deal went sour. She found ledgers and notes with dates, dollar amounts, and names. She was just about to snap a few pictures with her small camera when a hand reached around behind her putting a chloroform-filled rag over her mouth. She struggled but by then it was too late and she passed out. How long had she been here?
The door in front of her opened. The light from the hall momentarily disoriented her, but even after her eyes adjusted she couldn't see the faces of her visitors. One stood in the doorway allowing enough light in that it cast a shadow over their faces. The other approached her chair in the center of the room.
"Well, I see our visitor is awake. You can tell me what you found and if anyone knows you are here, or not. Either way this is your last investigative exercise, Ms. Lane," the clipped British accent requested.
"Don't you just hate choices? I'll go with not."
"Ms. Lane, you are in no position to tempt my patience. The Boss wants to know what you have learned and if you have enough to go to press. This is a very lucrative deal for our organization and we do not need a nosy reporter interfering. We can do this the easy way or the hard way."
She just stared at him. She wished she could cross her arms. It would make her look more determined. She knew he could see her expression in the light coming in through the hall.
"So be it." He turned and walked out with his companion, leaving her again in darkness.
Lois struggled against her bindings. She had to get out of here. At least now she knew she was on the right track, and she had another clue. This Brit was probably pretty close to The Boss if he was sent to get information from her. She just needed to get out and contact her sources for confirmation. She'd have to watch for an opportunity. The first guy had caught her off guard, but next time she would be ready with a few choice Tae Kwon Do moves.
'Lois, is everything all right? I just got a sense that something was wrong.'
'Kal!' Just great! She'd just promised him not three days ago she wouldn't get herself in this predicament Well, at least he could *talk* to her until they came back. 'You *sensed* there was something wrong?'
'What did you expect me to do?! I got a reliable tip!'
'I expected you to keep your word! It's bad enough I'm millions of light years away but now I have to worry about you too. My hands are tied.'
'Cute. So are mine! I wasn't expecting to get caught! I've been in worse jams than this before you worried about me. I didn't *ask* you to worry about me. Like I told you before, I can take care of myself!' It was nice having someone concerned about her, though. Besides Perry. 'Wait, how did you know I was in trouble?'
'Since we … joined our link has become stronger.'
'Um … made love. Kryptonians refer to it as being joined. Since I've been back I've tried to avoid Terran habits I picked up there.'
Lois ignored that last bit, not wanting to think of herself as a habit to avoid. 'What does this mean, exactly?'
'Before our link was weak and difficult for me to maintain for any length of time. Since we joined you've become a part of me. It's almost like I'm there with you.' Kal paused a moment as a thought struck him. 'Lois, I'm going to try to get you out of there.'
'How? Mind over matter?' she asked sarcastically. Wait, look who she was talking to. Nothing should surprise her now.
'In a sense. This telepathic link is a discipline of our higher ranking and spiritual leaders and one of the things I've needed to study. Those who have practiced it extensively are able to perform some tasks.'
'Similar. I've only been studying a short time, but I think since our link is stronger it could make up for it. But, Lois, it could break our current connection.' He didn't want to tell her what else it could do to him. She needed him and this was all he could do to help her.
'For how long?'
'I don't know. Not permanently, but for a short time.'
'At this point I'm willing to try anything.'
'I'll need to focus all my energy on freeing you. I'll contact you as soon as I can. Be careful. I love you.'
'Thank you, Kal. I love you.'
Kal focused his mind, imagining his hands untying the binds that held Lois's hands. Lois could feel a light touch, almost like a light breeze. She felt the ropes slip from her hands. Standing up she messaged her wrists to work out the stiffness.
He had said the link might be broken, and right now she needed to concentrate on getting out of here. Wherever here was. She cautiously moved to the door, listening for any sounds. Turning the knob and easing the door open she peeked out just enough to see if anyone was in the hall. They must have been confident she couldn't escape since they hadn't locked the door or posted a guard. She slowly worked her way down the hall, senses alert to any noises. It looked like she was in the basement of an office building. After several hundred yards she came to a door with a window. She could see stairs leading up. She opened the door and slipped through. The short flight of stairs led to an exit door. As she gained access to the street, she looked around to see if she was still alone. She recognized the OmniBusiness building. Seeing no one around she ran back to where she had parked her Jeep several blocks away. She would have to be careful not to get caught again. They might come after her. But this time she would be ready.
Kal awoke. He was lying on the floor, exhausted and shaking from the exertion of the experience. He tried to contact her again to make sure she was okay, but could not make a connection. It was like trying to move through a fog, but not knowing where she was he couldn't reach her. At least he knew what to expect next time, and he knew there would probably be a next time. Lois would continue to put herself in harm's way. He accepted that. At least he didn't feel helpless now. He would be able to help her even though he wasn't there with her. And he could concentrate on this aspect of his studies to better improve the link. Right now he'd just have to trust that she was okay. That was a tough one. If only he were there, with her.
Across town, a door opened into a plush, penthouse office. The "Brit", Nigel St. John, entered the office and approached the desk. A high back leather chair faced him, its occupant looking out over the city through sliding glass doors that led to a balcony.
"Ms. Lane has escaped."
"Let her go, Nigel. Have her watched, find out what she knows. But do not harm her. I may have finally found a worthy opponent."
The following day at the Planet, Lois added what she had found out to her growing file on LexCorp. She called Bobby Bigmouth to see what information he could dig up for her on the Englishman, then having no new leads to follow up on for this story began working on her other assignments. Besides, she thought it might be better if she kept a low profile on this one for a few days to let things settle down. She hadn't heard from Kal, but she usually didn't hear from him during the day. She hoped he would contact her that night. She settled in for a long day of work to keep her busy until then.
Lois glanced up at the clocks on the newsroom wall. It was nearly 7:00 Metropolis time. Most of the newsroom had already cleared out for the evening. Perry was still in his office, putting the finishing touches on tomorrow's edition. Lois saved her work on her hard drive, grabbed her coat and briefcase, and headed home. She decided that she wanted more for dinner tonight than ice cream, so she stopped by Ralph's Pagoda on her way home to get some take-out. Arriving at home, she performed her usual routine of turning on her computer, then went to the kitchen to put the take-out on a plate. Between dinner and working on some of the files she had brought home, the evening passed quickly. When she could hardly keep her eyes open she decided it was finally time to get ready for bed. She had already changed to sleep sweats, so when she wandered into her bedroom she fell right in bed. Laying awake for a moment she realized this was the first time she'd slept in her bed since Kal was here. The last few nights she had intentionally slept in the chair or on the couch, not quite ready to face the bed. She turned her head on the pillow. His scent was still faintly present. Closing her eyes she drifted to sleep with thoughts of him.
Was she dreaming? Trying to rouse herself out of her dream-like state she called to him 'Kal?'
'Lois, I was so worried about you.'
'I'm fine. Thanks again for your help.'
'I wish I could be there for you all the time. I can't even express how much I miss you.'
He barely heard her teary response. 'I know.'
'God, I wish I could touch you now.'
'Well, you can. With your words.'
'Actually, I can do more than that.'
'What do you mean?'
'I've been working on my telepathic abilities.'
'You mean like how you untied my hands?'
'Yes.' He heard her sharp intake of breath as he reached out with his mind, his fingers lightly brushing her lips. That was all he could do, but it was enough. It felt so good to touch her again.
Lois felt his touch on her lips. It was almost like a gentle breeze. He traced her lips, fingers lightly tracing their outline then slowly moving down to brush down her chin and caress her neck.
"Kal," she whispered, shivering at his touch.
'Lois, I wish I could be there with you now.'
'I know. Don't … stop.' This was crazy, wasn't it? She was being caressed by a thought, an alien's thought at that. Oh, just go with it, girl! Who would have thought that a week ago she would have met the man of her dreams and fallen in love, or that he would be an alien. Kal's hand had moved lower, drawing her thoughts back to his touch. He trailed his fingers to the valley between her breasts. His hand moved over her, and she closed her eyes, concentrating on the feel of him touching again.
'Oh, God!' Lois could feel the heat rising in her body, begging for more.
She heard him groan. 'Lois, I can't tell you how badly I want to be there with you now.'
'I know.' His hands caressed and loved her. She had never felt anything like this. Not just the physical touch, but how he touched her, like he was worshipping her. So this was what is was like to really be loved? If this was all he could give her, she could be content with this much of him. It bothered her some that she would never see him again, never be able to touch him, but she had known that from the start, and this was far better than she had ever known with anyone. It would have to do.
She suddenly realized that Kal was no longer touching her. 'Kal? Are you there?'
'Yes,' he managed heavily.
'Are you okay?'
'I will be. I wish I could touch you, really touch you now.'
'I know,' she whispered.
'Lois, I love you.'
'I love you, Kal, and thank you for …'
'Thank you, Lois, for sharing this with me. Goodnight.'
Kal sighed. Opening his eyes he rose from his bed and walked to the window, trying to focus his thoughts away from what just happened. Giving to her like that had been an incredible feeling, but he knew he had to concentrate on his work here. Yet, he was not quite ready to completely give up thinking of Lois. Looking out the window, he could just make out Earth's star in the night sky. Turning to the table he started a data disk containing an assortment of Earth music to play, and moved back to the window to watch the star and think of Lois. She would be sleeping now. Earth days were a few hours shorter, but they were both in a similar rotation pattern, making their days and nights similar. She would be rising soon to go to work. He wondered what a typical day would be like for her. He knew that she faced danger, but she was determined to get her story. Her awards proved that she was considered one of the best. The strains of piano music caught his attention and he paused in his musings to listen to the words.
*Oceans apart, day after day [worlds apart]
And I slowly go insane
I hear your voice on the line [in my mind]
But it doesn't stop the pain
If I see you next to never, then how can we say forever*
*Where ever you go, what ever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes, or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you*
*I took for granted all the times that I thought would last somehow
I hear the laughter, I taste the tears
But I can't get near you now
Oh, can't you see it, baby
You've got me going crazy*
*Where ever you go, what ever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes, or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you*
*I wonder how we can survive this romance
But in the end if I'm with you I'll take the chance*
*Oh, can't you see it, baby
You've got me going crazy*
*Where ever you go, what ever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes, or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you
Waiting for you*
He had to be with her. Somehow. He couldn't imagine his life without her. And he wanted more than this telepathic communication. He wanted to be with her, share her life. She was the one he had been waiting for.
It had been over a week since Kal had contacted her. What could be wrong? Maybe he no longer cared for her. Maybe some "Miss Krypton" had caught his eye. Or maybe he decided life with — what was her name? — Zara wouldn't be so bad after all. At least Zara was there with him. How could she hold him if she couldn't even be there to fight for him? Well, that was it. She had her fling, found her one true love, only in the typical fashion of how her life was, he was gone. She'd have to redirect the ending of her novel. The character had gone from being a woman who would die without ever finding her true love, to finding him, and now to losing him. She had told him it would be worth it to her. And it had. Really. So now she would do what she always did. She would pour herself into her work. There were more awards to win, like that Pulitzer. It would be lonely but she had gotten used to that.
Having worked herself into a good depression, she glanced up at the clock. Nearly 8. Well, she wouldn't be much good here at the office anymore. She resigned herself to going home to an empty apartment. It was Saturday night and Perry, having left an hour ago, had told her, no, actually he had ordered her to take tomorrow off. Great. She would go home tonight and watch "An Affair To Remember," again, with a tub of chocolate ice cream, and tomorrow she would clean house and work on her novel, and just try to keep her mind busy. She reluctantly turned off her computer and gathered her belongings.
Finding a spot near the entrance of her building, she parked her Jeep and headed up the stairs. Did she have enough ice cream? This was going to be a long night and she'd need all the chocolate she could get. Turning the locks on her door, she opened it and stepped into the dark apartment. Not bothering to turn on the lights, she headed towards her bedroom to change. Out of the corner of her eye she caught a movement. Turning her attention towards it she saw a silhouette outlined from the street lights outside the window. She dropped her briefcase and froze, waiting for her intruder to make a move.
It couldn't be!
"How…?" She was too stunned to move.
"Lois, I couldn't stay away." He moved across the room toward her.
"But, what about your people? I knew when you left that I would never see you again and I had accepted that. Seeing you now is almost worse than not seeing you at all. I…" By this point he had reached her, taking her in his arms and cutting off her speech with a kiss. He was gentle at first but grew in intensity as she began to respond to him.
Finally breaking the kiss, he pulled back a little to look into her eyes. "I'll explain everything. But right now I just want to hold you for a few minutes and feel that you are real, that I am really here." He held her tighter, lightly running his hands over her back. She sighed in contentment. It felt so good to have him hold her, to feel his touch and have it really be his touch and not some telepathic contact across thousands of miles of space, nice as that had been. He bent to kiss her again, unable to get enough of her.
Finally, reluctantly, he broke the kiss. He led her over to the couch. Holding both her hands he guided her down then sat next to her.
"Lois, I'm sorry I haven't contacted you in so long. I couldn't take that chance. I didn't want anyone, the Council, Zara, or even Kai, to know the real reason for my request."
"Kal, I'm not following you. Maybe you better start from the beginning."
He took a deep breath. "Lois, I couldn't do it any more. I couldn't be without you. So … I requested a meeting with the Council of Elders and requested that I be permitted to complete my training on Earth. I have already completed most of my training on Krypton. I convinced them that it would benefit me as their future leader to serve as ambassador to Earth. I reported that from my first visit, Terrans were not ready to accept the notion of alien races, much less negotiate any type of treaty. By allowing me to make the contact, I would receive first hand experience in diplomacy and first contact. They reluctantly agreed."
Lois processed all he had just said. "Wow. So, how long will you be here?"
"A few years. They will contact me when it is time to complete the transition in leadership."
"So, I get you for a few years, and then I have to give you back." It was a statement of fact.
Her words sunk in. "Oh, God, Lois! I am so sorry! I didn't think what this would mean to you, to your life. I only thought of being with you."
"It's okay Kal, really. It's not the years that count, but the moments, and we'll just have to make the most of the moments we have. I knew going into this that I would only have you for a short time. Now that's been extended and I want to make the most of it."
"Lois, I love you."
She looked deep into those chocolate brown eyes that she had thought she'd never see again. "And I love you." Not wanting him to see the pained look that suddenly came into her eyes as she thought about what tonight had almost been like, and what her nights would be like someday when he had to leave her, she released his hands and turned so her back was to him. As she leaned against him he wrapped his arms around her. "You know, I was going to watch "An Affair To Remember" tonight and curl up with a tub of chocolate ice cream."
"That sounds like fun. Not something I'd get to do on Krypton."
"What? You don't have movies?"
"Not as such, and I wouldn't get to do it with you."
"Well, are you in for a treat." She turned to grin at him. "Don't move. I'll get the ice cream and a spoon."
They watched the movie in companionable silence, and after it was over went to bed.
Kal lay staring at the ceiling, Lois wrapped softly in his arms. This first night had been everything he had dreamed it would be. They were like a normal couple, doing normal couple things. He kissed her hair softly. "Lois?"
"Yes, Kal?" She was awake and just enjoying being in his arms.
"Would you make love with me?"
Lois shifted her head from its resting place on his shoulder so she could look in his eyes. She saw such gentleness, kindness, and love in them. He gently placed his hand along her jaw and she bent down for a kiss.
Lois felt like she was being treated like a porcelain doll. "Kal, what's wrong." It was a statement of fact. She could tell something was bothering him.
"Lois, the last time we … were together … I lost control. I wanted you so badly and …"
"Are you saying you don't want me like that any more?" She wondered if this was why he hadn't made love to her when he first came back. The thought had been in the back of her mind all evening.
"No, no, no. It's just that I've never lost control of myself like that before, and it scared me."
"Kal. It's okay. I'm flattered actually."
"Yes. That you could want me with so much intensity makes me feel very desired. And it's also a little heady to know I can elicit that kind of response in you."
"Lois Lane, you are incredible."
"You're not so bad yourself."
"And I do want you. Desperately. Being away from you was hell."
She rolled to be more on top of him and smiled down at him. All of the love, desire, and depth of his emotions were shining in his eyes. "Wow," she breathed.
"That's how I feel every time I look at you." He placed his large hands on her small face, bringing her down for a soft kiss, which quickly grew in intensity with longing after their long separation.
He reluctantly broke the kiss. "Lois," he managed to say. "I wanted this to be slow and special, but I don't think I can wait."
She smiled at him, feeling the evidence of that. "So this will be quick and special. There'll be time for slow later." And with those last words she kissed him hungrily, communicating to him the intensity of her desire for him.
He rolled them back over to release her from the weight of his body. Lois laid her head back on Kal's shoulder, and he wrapped his arms protectively around her waist. Not wanting to break the moment with unnecessary words, they both soon slept.
The following morning Kal offered to make Lois breakfast.
As they walked into the kitchen Lois asked, "Kryptonian, or do you know how to make an Earth breakfast?"
He laughed. "Earth. I've been studying up, especially after last time."
"Hey! Just for that I won't make you my specialty."
"Does it have chocolate in it?"
"No, silly. I can make other things."
"As long as it's not oatmeal." He deftly caught the dishtowel she threw at him.
She sat at the table and watched him move about her kitchen, seeming to be right at home, only occasionally asking her if she had this or that ingredient to determine what to make. 'This could be a good thing,' she thought.
'I heard that.'
"Okay, you are either gonna have to stop doing that or warn me. You never know what I might think, especially before coffee."
He just grinned at her and handed her a cup of coffee.
"This isn't over." She looked at him over her cup, challenging him to try it again. After a moment she continued, "so, what exactly is it that you will be doing while you are here?" she asked, taking a sip of coffee.
"Well, I was hoping you could help me with that. I want to try to blend in, lead a normal Earth life, and be with you." He set a plate of food in front of her.
"This looks great!" He'd made eggs, bacon and toast, just managing to find all the ingredients in her kitchen.
He set another plate at the place beside hers and sat down. "Thank you."
She took a bite. "Well, we need to come up with some sort of background for you, how we met, and so on. Something not too far from the truth, but something a little more … " she waved her fork in the air, trying to come up with the word that escaped her.
"Down to Earth?" he ventured.
"Oh, good one," she laughed. "I'm glad you said it." Pausing to take another bite she thought a moment. "What do you have in mind?"
"I was hoping I could work with you."
"Perry wouldn't hire you without experience, much less a resume. Why don't you come to the Planet with me tomorrow. We can come up with a reason for you to be there and we can go from there. Now to come up with how we met."
"We could go with the truth. That I saved your life."
"I was doing just fine until you showed up. Besides I don't think Perry would buy that one, that I picked up my rescuer off the street or that I let myself be rescued. How about we tell him that I met you through a friend at that journalism conference I went to last year in Kansas City."
"You want me to say I'm from Kansas?"
"Yea, you know, Kansas, Krypton. Well, it's not so bad and it's far enough away that it's not likely anyone from here knows that much about it. I was the only one from the paper to go, and we can say you are from one of the small towns. I think Smallville is nearby. It's not likely anyone from here knows anyone from there."
"What do you do, study maps?"
"So. Anyway," she continued, ignoring him, "we can tell Perry you came to town and looked me up and I told you about the LexCorp piece and you offered to give me a different perspective on it."
"Do you think it will work?"
"Believe me. I can make it work. I could have been an actress. Besides, I'm the Chief's best reporter. I think he'll cut me some slack." She got up to take their dishes into the kitchen and returned with more coffee. She walked over to sit on the couch. Kal followed.
She took a sip of coffee and looked at him. "We need to come up with a name for you. 'Kal-El' isn't very 'down to Earth'." She grinned at him. "Something similar, but not too different."
They sipped their coffee in silence for a few minutes, and he could almost see the wheels turning in her mind.
Suddenly, inspiration struck. "I know. I knew a guy in college whose name was Kent. Not too common, but not too unusual, and it sounds enough like Kal that you could remember it easily. Now for a last name."
She sipped more coffee, waiting for inspiration to strike again. Nothing came. She stood up abruptly. "I need chocolate," she announced. Going over to her briefcase she rummaged around for a candy bar. The supplier in the lobby of the Planet had been out of Double Fudge Crunch bars yesterday, her favorite, so she had to settle for her second choice, Clark Bars. She turned the candy over in her hand and read the name. "That's it! 'Clark'! It's a fairly common last name, so you should blend in."
He tried the name out. "Kent Clark."
It just didn't sound right. She shook her head. "It doesn't flow." She bent her head to take a sip of coffee then suddenly raised it, looking at him with wide, brown eyes. "But 'Clark Kent' does!"
He nodded. "Clark Kent. I can get used to that."
"Great! Now that we have all of that worked out, let's take a look at my LexCorp research. Maybe you can help put some pieces together that we can take to Perry tomorrow."
They spent a good part of the day going over her notes, organizing the information and looking at it from different angles. By late afternoon she decided it was time for a break, and to properly introduce him to Earth customs, she suggested they watch "Lethal Weapon I, II, and III," which she had on tape, and order pizza delivery. Three movies and an empty pizza box later they were both tired and ready to get some rest. Tomorrow would be a big day — Kal's introduction to the world, or at least to the Planet. Could they pull it off? They would just have to take it one step at a time. She was used to thinking fast on her feet. Actually, this could be fun.
Lois lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. Kal, er Clark's, arm was draped over her stomach, and she listened to his steady breathing while she reflected on the day. How quickly things had changed. Just yesterday she had been resigned to being alone and now here he was, even if it was only for a short time. She just wouldn't think about that day until it actually arrived. She would enjoy him while he was here, knowing now that even when he returned to Krypton, he would always be hers, and she his. She slept, content to make the most of every minute she had been given with him.
The next morning Lois rolled over only to find her arm come in contact with empty sheets. Had it been a dream? It couldn't have been. It was too vivid, and she could smell his scent on the pillow, much stronger than before. She sat up suddenly awake, listening for any sounds in the apartment. The sun hadn't risen yet so the room was still dark, only a faint shadow of light coming in from the street lights outside her window. She glanced at the alarm clock on the nightstand across the bed. It would be going off in a few minutes. A dark shape caught her eye. She looked up to see Kal … floating about four feet off the bed!
He jerked awake, the motion causing him to lose altitude and come crashing into the bed. "Wha..!?"
"You … you … you were …" She pointed. "Up there!"
He looked up to where she was pointing, remembering that he had just fallen, trying to come up with a reasonable explanation.
"Let's think about this logically. I'm from Krypton. Maybe the Earth's gravity is different, lighter."
"But you didn't float yesterday! Did you float when you were here before?"
"No, but I wasn't here a day. Maybe I just needed an extended exposure." He was grasping for anything to try to explain what had happened.
Lois jumped up and began pacing. Did she really see what she thought she saw? 'Of course you did. You are a professional. Part of your job is to be observant. You see strange things all the time. But not in your own bedroom!' "I…"
Kal watched as Lois paced, the emotions playing across her face. What was she thinking? He was worried, but wouldn't listen in. He had given his word he would allow her to have her private thoughts. "Lois…"
"I … can't deal with this right now. I need time to work through it. I'm going to get ready for work."
Kal, or rather 'Clark', watched her go. That had been a rather strange experience. Waking up from falling. He had read that Terrans talked, snored, some even walked in their sleep. But not this. Different gravity sounded like a reasonable explanation for floating. He hoped Lois was all right. She had seemed a bit shaken. He stared at the bathroom wall, his eyes growing bigger at what he saw. He saw Lois, through the wall! For a moment he was distracted by her state of dress, or rather undress, as he watched her step into the shower, the water cascading over her beautiful body. He shook his head as if to clear the image and closed his eyes. Maybe he was just imagining this. Wow, what a vivid imagination! He took a deep breath and slowly opened his eyes again, only to see the wall. He slowly released the breath he had been holding, continuing to watch the wall. Suddenly, she came into view again. Her back was to him, a towel was wrapped around her body, and she was brushing her teeth. His eyes roamed slowly up and down the length of the towel, and gradually her pert bottom came into view! Not just the outline under the towel, but her actual bottom! He mentally focused again on the towel covering her and her flesh faded from view to be replaced by the towel. A thought struck him and he reached for her glasses on the nightstand. Putting them on he concentrated on trying to see her through them. He couldn't see beyond the wall. Pulling the glasses down the bridge of his nose he concentrated again on the wall. She was blow drying her hair. He watched her complete her morning routine, smiling to himself as he heard her mumble his new name under her breath over and over, trying to get use to it. At least his telepathy still worked.
He was so intent on watching her that he forgot he still had her glasses perched on his nose. She emerged from the bathroom wearing her robe and suppressed a giggle at the sight of him staring intently at her, eyes wide.
"Clark Kent, what are you doing with my glasses?"
"Um, Lois, there's something I need to tell you."
She crossed her arms over her breasts, trying to look as serious as he sounded, but having a difficult time of it with the way he looked.
"I think you better sit down."
She crossed to the bed and sat on the edge beside him. "Okay, what's this all about?"
"I watched you take your shower."
"And you didn't join me? Wait a minute, I would have known you were in there …" She glanced back at the bathroom as if it would be able to tell her what was going on.
"No, I mean I watched you, … through the wall. Don't ask me how. It must have something to do with the differences between Earth and Krypton. If I concentrated I could look through the wall, even through your clothes, like now …" he looked down at her lap covered in a pale blue terry robe "you're wearing black lace panties." He pushed her glasses back up his nose. "I can't do it through your glasses," he slid the glasses back down, "but," he looked at her chest, "now I can see your black lace bra, and if I concentrate more I can see past that to …"
Lois quickly got up, wrapping her robe more tightly around her. "Okay, put the glasses back on. I can't be going around all the time wondering what you are looking at when you stare at me."
She paced around the room as she let this sink in. A smile slowly spread over her lips as she thought about what they had just discovered.
"Lo-is. Remember I can tell what you are thinking."
She turned to face him. "Well, you have to admit it has its advantages." She put one finger up and then trotted into the living room. Returning with one of the files they had been working on yesterday she laid in on the bed in front of him. Motioning to it she said, "Go ahead. Try that vision gizmo thingy."
He gave her a disconcerted look. "I don't think this would actually be fair. It's like … cheating."
She put her hands on her hips, challenging him back. "Clark, you have a gift. Others have gifts and use them to their full advantage, why shouldn't we, I mean you?"
He saw where this was going. "You just want to use this to your advantage to get a story!"
"Yes! No!" She sighed, exasperated and decided to try another tactic. "Look at it this way. There are people out there," she gestured toward the window, "who are getting away with crimes because no one can stop them. You have an ability that could make a difference!"
He couldn't argue with that logic. As much as he wanted to something inside him knew that he *could* make a difference in this world while he was here. Sighing he looked down at the files. Pulling the glasses down he watched as each layer of paper gave way to the next until he reached the bed sheets below.
"Okay. It worked."
She squealed and bent to hug him. "Thank you. Look, I'll make a deal with you. We'll only use it when absolutely necessary. Okay? Does that make you feel better about it?"
"I guess so." Somehow he had a feeling that wouldn't last.
She turned to head toward her closet to find something to wear to work. "Do you have something to wear today?" she called over her shoulder to him. "I didn't think about that yesterday."
"Yes. I brought that suit I wore last time I was here."
"That'll do for today. We'll need to get you more clothes, but we can worry about that later."
The rest of the morning routine and the trip to the Planet were uneventful. As the elevator opened on to the city room floor heads turned to see who was arriving and many did a double take, especially the women, when they saw Lois Lane emerge talking to a gorgeous man. And the way she looked at him! Before or since Claude no one heard Lois talk of another man, much less look at one the way she did this one. It had finally happened. Lois Lane was in love.
They walked down the ramp and headed straight for Perry's office. Lois stuck her head in her chief's door. "Perry? Do you have a minute? There's someone I'd like you to meet."
Perry looked up from the copy he had been editing. "Sure, honey. Come on in."
Lois walked into the office, Clark close behind her. Perry stood and extended his hand. "Perry White. Nice to meet you."
Clark took Perry's hand. "Uh.. Clark..Kent," he said hesitantly, glancing at Lois.
Perry let go of Clark's hand. "That's quite a grip you got there, son."
Lois glanced nervously at Clark then rushed on. "Clark and I met at that journalism conference I went to last year in Kansas City."
"Oh, so you're a journalist, too?" Perry asked.
"Um, well, I've done a bit of writing. I'm not as good as Lois, but she's taught me a thing or two."
Not wanting Perry to ask too many questions, Lois interjected, "We'll let you get back to your copy, Chief. Come on, Clark, let's get started. Clark is going to look at that research I have on LexCorp, and see if he can come up with a different angle."
Perry slightly raised an eyebrow at that. His Lois accepting help on a story from an outsider? Of course, he hadn't missed the way she had looked at this young man as they came in together. He hadn't gotten to be editor of a major newspaper without noticing the little things around him. "Oh, okay, honey. You can show me what you got later."
He watched them as they headed for Lois's desk, pleased that Lois had finally found someone. He had only just met Clark Kent but he knew people and had a sense that this was a good one, and that he would be good for Lois. Not like Claude.
Lois walked to her desk and picked up her briefcase and a stack of files. Glancing over to the conference room she noted that it was vacant. Turning to Clark she pointed to it and said, "Why don't we go in there? It'll be quieter than the newsroom and we can spread out more."
"Lead the way." He motioned for her to proceed, taking the files from her as they went.
Jimmy watched from his desk across from Lois's, wondering who the new guy was. Before he could contemplate it too long, he heard a long, low wolf whistle near his ear.
"Who's the new tight end?" Cat asked in her usual sultry way.
"I don't know. Lois didn't introduce me, but she sure looks taken with this one. More than she was with Claude."
"Yeah, I've seen that look before when she sinks her teeth into a story. No one is getting that bone away from 'Mad Dog' Lane. Oh, well. There are other fish in the sea." With that she sauntered off in search of her next catch.
Jimmy shook his head, trying to follow her metaphors from football to dogs to fish.
Lois and Clark had spread the files out on the conference room table and had begun to organise and sort through the information Lois and Jimmy had gathered. Suddenly, Clark looked up, a questioning look on his face.
"Did you say something, Lois?"
"No." She looked up, noting his expression. She leaned closer to him from across the table and whispered, "Did you hear something … telepathically?"
"No, at least I don't think it was. It sounded more like … a call for help."
"Can you tell where it is coming from?"
Clark tilted his head and listened again. "I think so. It's faint but I think I can trace it."
"Come on. Let's go check it out."
Lois grabbed her briefcase and headed out the door, Clark close behind. "Jimmy," she yelled. "Take care of that stuff in there for me."
"Sure thing, Lois. Hey, where are you off to?"
"Clark and I got a tip. We're heading out to follow up on it."
"That's great, Lois. Glad to hear you got a break in the story."
Lois stopped to give him a strange look. Oh, right, the LexCorp story. "Thanks, Jimmy"
She and Clark headed for the elevator. Lois pushed the button for the parking garage. The elevator deposited them at the garage, and they headed for Lois's car. As they reached her silver Jeep, Lois touched the door handle, only to find a hand already there. How did he get there so fast? She hadn't even seen him come up behind her. He opened her door for her then went around the jeep to get in on the passenger side.
Once settled in she turned to him, the door incident forget, concerned again about the emergency. "Can you tell where it is coming from?"
He pointed in a southwestern direction. "That way. I hear a woman crying over and over 'My baby, my baby. Somebody help my baby.'"
"Can you tell what the problem is?" she asked as she pulled out and headed in the direction he had indicated.
Clark closed his eyes to focus on the sounds. "It's … a fire."
As he said that Lois could see smoke rising in the air above the buildings. "Hang on." She drove as quickly as she could through the city streets toward the residential area where the smoke was coming from. Eventually the burning house came into view, and near the street a hysterical woman crying for someone to help her.
Lois parked the Jeep near the curb, and getting out, went toward the woman to see if she could get any information from her. As she reached the woman she got her first real look at the fire. The side of the house was quickly becoming engulfed in flames. Clark had thrown his suit jacket in the car and had already started toward the house when Lois called after him. "Clark! Wait! You can't go in there!"
Clark came back to where she was standing. "I have to, Lois. I have to try. It doesn't look that bad yet, but we don't have time to wait for the fire trucks. I love you." He kissed her quickly then headed back toward the house at a slow trot, accessing the situation as he went. Opening the front door he noticed that much of the blaze seemed to be contained to the kitchen for now, but was rapidly spreading. Lowering Lois's glasses he looked through the wall and ceiling to the room above the kitchen. The flames had created a barrier between the door of the child's room and the crib where the child stood crying. He raced as fast as he dared up the steps until he came to the wall of flames. Upon seeing their angry dance consuming more of the room he could see why the mother had been afraid to enter the room herself. It looked doubtful that anyone could broach that barrier without serious burns. But if he moved fast enough, like he had to reach Lois's car door and to get up the stairs, he just might be able to avoid any serious burns and come away with only a few minor singes. He had to try. The child, probably no more than two or three, looked frightened as the flames grew closer to her, and he hadn't heard the fire trucks arrive yet, and knew there wouldn't be time for anyone else to get to her. It had to be him.
He took a deep breath and raced through the flames. Scooping up the child he wrapped her in her blanket, and holding her close to him he raced back through the flames, slowing down some once he cleared the flames so as not to frightened the child more. He jogged down the steps and out the front door.
Seeing him emerge from the house, Lois and the child's mother ran to him, closely followed by two paramedics who had just arrived with the ambulance. The fire truck had just arrived and equipment and men were being dispatched to work on the fire. The mother took the child from him, thanking him over and over for saving her baby. One paramedic gently guided the mother and child to the ambulance to check the infant for injuries, the other motioned for Clark to follow.
Waving him off, Clark said, "No, thank you, I'm fine. Really."
The paramedic shrugged. He couldn't force the man, and went to check on the child.
Lois, who had been taking all of this in, turned to Clark. She hugged him tight, noting the smell of smoke on his clothing. "Clark, are you okay? Did you see that blanket? It was badly singed, but you don't seem to be."
He hadn't worn his jacket, knowing it could have caught fire easily. And he had noticed the blanket, but his clothes weren't singed, only a little black in places and smoky. He couldn't explain it, didn't understand why he hadn't been burned at least a little.
"I'm fine. Really. Lois, that was the most incredible thing! I knew I could save that child!"
"You seem to be okay. Let's head back to the Planet and write this up. But promise me you will tell me the minute you feel bad."
Lois smiled. "This will work out great. You save people and I'll write the story."
The headline read "Visitor Saves Local Child From Fiery Inferno".
"This is good stuff, honey. Clark, you sure you're okay?" Perry asked Clark again, after reading the copy Lois had given him. "That was pretty heroic of you, son."
"Thank you, sir. I just felt I had to help."
Later that evening Lois and Clark enjoyed a dinner of Chinese takeout.
"Clark, why did you rescue that girl?"
"I had to, Lois. I knew I could save her. I just had to."
"Clark, I think I know you well enough by now to know that you couldn't sit by and let someone get hurt or die when you know you could help them."
"I'd say that was fair."
"Well, I also know the press, and if you go around performing acts of heroism, especially using your special skills, they won't leave you alone. You'd never be able to have a normal life. We'd never be able to have a normal life, at least as normal as we can have until you have to leave."
"So, what do you suggest?"
"A disguise, sort of like Batman."
"He's a guy in Gotham City, goes around helping people in trouble. Kind of dark and creepy. But the point is, no one knows who he really is. He can lead a normal life but still help people."
"I see you've put some thought into this."
"Yes. She smiled. "And I was thinking that you could do the same thing."
"You want me to wear a mask?"
"Well, no, I was thinking something similar to your Kryptonian outfit, only not as dark. Batman is sort of a dark and scary figure, and I saw you with that child today. You were really good with her, so I was thinking something that would be inviting and approachable. If people got used to seeing you in costume helping them, you — the everyday person, could help and still lead a normal life. And it would give you something to do, and be something where you can make a difference while you are here. You can come to the Planet with me, that way you can keep up with the things that are happening and where you might be able to help. We'll figure out something to tell Perry."
Clark sighed. She had a point, and it was obvious she wasn't going to give up on this. "Okay," he acquiesced. "What do we do?"
"Do you have your uniform with you?"
"I can get it. It's on my ship."
"Your ship is here? I meant to ask you where you left it."
"It's cloaked in orbit, but I can contact it telepathically and have the suit transported." He closed his eyes and the suit materialized in his hands.
"Okay. Put it on and let's get started." Clark went into the bedroom to change while Lois cleaned up from dinner. He came back into the living room just as Lois was finishing up in the kitchen. "Let's have a look at you." She moved to stand in front of him. "Well, for starters, we need to come up with a different color, something brighter, more friendly." Lois studied his suit. "I know. How about making your suit blue, like your emblem. Maybe a little darker. And, no offense, and I'm not knocking your suit, but I think you need something over … you know" she waved her hand in the general direction she was referring to. "We want people distracted, but not *that* distracted."
Clark looked down. "I see what you mean. I guess I didn't notice it on Krypton since everyone wears similar outfits."
Lois looked him up and down again. "Wow, now I wish I could go to Krypton, especially if they all look as great as you."
"Careful. You'll make me jealous."
She stepped closer to him, putting her arms around him. "You know you are the one I love. But since we are on Earth, we need to come up with something different. I don't want all those beautiful women falling all over you."
"Now that could have its perks." She slapped him playfully on the chest. "But I only have eyes for you." He bent to kiss her tenderly on the lips.
"Mmmm. Now back to the issue at hand. How about briefs? They're snug, but not too snug. But we'll need a contrasting color. I know," she exclaimed as a thought struck her. "How about red? That would look patriotic and really stand out. And we could put your shield on there in red, too, since the reason you have these abilities is because of your Kryptonian heritage, that would tie that in, oh, and definitely a cape, like Batman, that does look kind of cool on him, but in red to match your shorts and emblem, and instead of black boots, we can get red boots to tie it all together!"
He had let her ramble on, watching in fascination as she got more into her description.
"Okay, okay. Let's see what it looks like before we get too far."
"What are we waiting for! Let's go!"
Several hours later they returned to Lois's apartment. She had dug out the old sewing machine her mother had given her and worked on the costume. Standing before her now, she admired her handy work. "It's missing something. I think we need a third color. I don't think white would look right. I know, how about yellow? I think I may have something that might work." She returned with a yellow belt and put in on him. "Much better, and if we make the yellow behind this 's' looking thing yellow instead of blue…" She bent over the sewing machine to make the corrections. When this was done she tacked the changed emblem on his suit. "Much better. Come look in the mirror and see what you think."
He followed her into the bedroom to stand in front of the full-length mirror on the back of her closet door.
"What do you think?"
"Not bad," he said nodding. "But do you think it will work? Are you sure no one will recognise me?"
"Well, you won't be Clark Kent, you'll be … we need to come up with a name for you."
They looked at each other. "Well, that emblem does look like an 'S' and what you can do is pretty spectacular. We need to come up something simple yet catchy. Like Batman. 'Sman' doesn't say anything about the super things you can do." She paused when she realized what she had said. "That's it! 'Superman'! And no one will recognize you because you'll be Superman, a bit taller with the boots, and you won't have to wear my glasses, and we'll get you your own pair to wear as Clark, because you won't need to refrain from using your vision ability as Superman, and, oh, I have another idea," she trailed off as she ran into the bathroom to bring back a cup of water. She began to wet down his hair, pulling it off his face and slicking it down. "There. That will make you look even more different, and with that outfit no one will be looking too closely at your face anyway."
He smiled as she ran out of steam and hugged her to him. "You are amazing."
She hugged him back, smiling up at him. "And you are super." She watched as his facial expression changed from a smile to a far away look of concentration. "What is it? What do you hear?"
"I'm not sure, but I think someone is in trouble."
"This sounds like a job for Superman!"
The next day the headline read "A Super Man Is Here To Help" by Lois Lane.
To be continued…
Afterword and credits.
Some final thoughts. I'm glad "our" Lois and Clark waited and that Clark was a "very patient" man, but that territory had already been explored and so I wanted to go in a different direction from the show's. I hope you enjoyed this piece. I am currently working on a follow up, with a third planned to conclude this series.
No One Else On Earth — Wynonna Judd — Wynonna 1993
Amoureuse — Olivia Newton-John — Let Me Be There — Festival (Australia) (1974)
Right Here Waiting — Richard Marx — Repeat Offender (1989)
Dawn May '99