Submitted October 2000
Summary: In an epilogue to the Dawn's three-part series (ending with Kal-El's Return), one of Lois and Clark's descendents learns some surprising things about his family's history.
Words in << >> denote a journal entry
Originally I had thought to end this series with Clark returning from Krypton to be with Lois. Ray Reynolds suggested a fourth installment to tie up the loose end of Luthor, and to start the next generation of the Kent family and Utopia for this universe. I had intended to leave Luthor's fate open and just show Lois and Clark together and happy, but Ray's suggestion sparked an idea to tie this story line in with another story I had started about Utopia in July of '97. It's not necessary to have read the first three stories in this series: What If I Never Left Krypton, Something To Talk About, and Kal-El's Return, to follow this installment. I've tried to add enough in so the story line can be followed. I started this story in October of '99, but RL kept me from completing it until recently.
I'd like to acknowledge and thank my editors, Carolyn, KathR, and the Lurker <g>, for their input and suggestions.
I feel I must include a warning as this story is set in the not-to-distant future, shortly after Lois and Clark are gone, but most of the story is flashbacks.
Usual disclaimers. Thanks again to Ray and everyone else who sent me comments on this series. I hope you enjoy this installment. Please do not redistribute. Comments and constructive criticism welcome. Please no public editing.
The handsome young man watched as the casket was lowered into the ground. Many people had told him that he looked like his great grandfather when he had been his age: dark brown wavy hair just touching the collar of his shirt, intense brown eyes which so animatedly expressed the emotions from the very soul of his being, and a solid, strong build that could display the gentleness of his nature. And now his great grandfather was gone. The young man was having difficulty dealing with this most recent loss, the second one within so short a period of time, and of two people he greatly admired. He followed the procession, silently saying his final good-byes, as Clark Jerome Kent was laid to rest beside Lois Lane Kent, who had just died a week earlier.
Jerome had just started his second year at the university, studying history and literature. He wanted to be a writer, like Lois and Clark had been. He had wanted to be just like them ever since he was a small boy, from the time he had heard stories from them and about them. And as he grew and learned more about their contributions, he admired them more.
Lois and Clark had started their careers in investigative journalism, and through their work they were able to make the world a better place. Their stories exposed crime and injustice, paving the way for the peaceful society that now existed. In later years, as there was less and less crime and corruption to uncover, they had turned to other writing endeavors.
Clark had published his journals, detailing the unique and diverse cultures he had experienced during his early travels, as well as penning articles that raised awareness of environmental issues. Lois continued to follow Superman through the years as his focus changed from fighting crime to assisting with natural disasters. Superman had retired years ago, once crime was no longer a social issue, and as people became more environmentally conscious, many of the disasters that had plagued their generation and that of their children were now being prevented. Jerome's desire was to keep history from repeating itself by educating his generation about the great works of Superman, and the contributions of his great grandparents.
As he watched the casket descend into the ground he silently vowed that their work would not be forgotten.
Jerome was startled by a movement beside him as a hand tossed a long-stemmed red rose onto the casket. As the figure straightened, Jerome placed his arm around his mom's shoulders. Alice had been named in honor of the wife of Lois and Clark's editor, Perry White. Mrs. White had been like a third grandmother to CJ, Alice's father, until her death in his teens. CJ and his younger sister, Rose, were nearby, each being comforted by their spouses.
Mourners began to leave the late afternoon service to return to their homes.
"Come on, Mom. It's time to go."
Alice nodded, unable to speak through the tears, and let her son lead her to their waiting car. Jerome's father, Roger, hugged his wife from her other side as they walked in silence. Reaching their car, Roger helped his wife into the passenger seat while Jerome got behind the wheel. After making sure his wife was settled, Roger opened the back door and slide into the backseat. The family remained quiet, each lost in their own thoughts.
After Jerome dropped his parents off at their home, he drove around the city, unsure of what to do or where to go. He found himself automatically going to the townhouse on Hyperion Avenue. Lois and Clark had lived there almost the entire time they were married; it was their place. They had talked several times of moving, but the convenience to their jobs and their love of this city kept them in the same place, and over the years the memories made there became too much to leave behind.
Jerome stopped his car in front of the steps and looked up at the familiar brownstone. He had been very close to both his great grandparents growing up and had spent many hours in their company. And he didn't want to give this place up, or the memories inside. He had been considering moving off campus next semester. Maybe he'd ask his mom what the family would think of him moving in here.
Getting out of the car, he walked up the steps to the front door. Taking out his key, he let himself in. Grandmom Lois and Grandpop Clark had given it to him when he first started driving so he could stop by and visit any time. He walked through the short foyer to their door. As he entered the living room, he could almost hear their voices echoing in the empty rooms. He walked through the living room and into the kitchen, almost expecting to see them locked in an embrace. He couldn't help but smile at that thought. There had been many occasions when he had caught them being affectionate, and they hadn't seemed bothered by it, often times continuing to kiss and hug until they had had their fill for the moment. That was one trait that ran in the family. Jerome recalled many occasions when he had seen both his parents and his grandparents in similar embraces.
Jerome continued through the kitchen to the back staircase that led to the upstairs bedrooms. He slowly climbed the stairs, remembering some of the countless times he had done it in the past. He paused at the guestroom at the top on the right. It used to be his Great Aunt Rose's room. Even though Rose was his Grandpa CJ's sister, Jerome was still very close to her, and the rest of the family. Maybe he could turn her old room into his.
Grandpa CJ's room across the hall had long since been turned into an upstairs study. Books, notes, and computer files were neatly scattered about the room, left untouched since the last time Grandmom Lois or Grandpop Clark had used them. He walked further down the hall to the master bedroom and paused at the door, unsure whether he should enter. Lois and Clark had both died here. Lois had succumbed to old age, dying peacefully in her sleep. Clark had died just a week later, two days ago. Many in the family felt it was from a broken heart at losing Lois, that he couldn't live without her. Knowing the kind of relationship they had, Jerome had no doubts of that.
Standing in the doorway of the room where they had died, Jerome suddenly felt closer to them. He entered the room slowly, eyes never leaving the bed. He walked over to the left side, knowing that had been Clark's side. When he was little he had stayed with them overnight sometimes for visits. He remembered running in here for comfort when he had had bad dreams. He would crawl between them, taking comfort in Clark's large frame on one side, and Lois's comforting words on the other.
Now that he was older he knew what he had probably interrupted some of those nights, and he blushed slightly at the memory of his youthful naivete. But they had understood, as they probably had for their own children, and their children's children.
Pushing that thought aside, he reached his hand out and gently touched the pillow. He could imagine Clark propping it up against the headboard, reading or writing notes for his next book with Lois sitting beside him, typing on her laptop working on her next article or on that novel she wrote only for herself. As if on its own accord, his hand reached out to pick up the pillow, positioning it where he had seen Clark sitting many times. He slowly sat down in the same spot, imitating Clark, imaging him sitting here and how he might have felt. Looking around the room his eyes stopped on the nightstand beside the bed. The last book Clark had been reading was sitting on top.
Not wanting to disturb the book, Jerome reached for the drawer, imagining that Clark had done the same thing on many occasions. Inside were several books Clark had either read or had intended to read. A larger, darker cover underneath these caught Jerome's eye. Careful not to disturb the contents in the drawer, he lifted the book out. Sitting back against the headboard, he slowly turned it over in his hands. It looked like a journal. Should he open it, or return it to its place in the drawer? Would Grandpop Clark have wanted him to read it? Jerome was torn between not wanting to invade Clark's privacy, yet realizing he held in his hands the inner thoughts of a man he greatly admired. His desire to learn more about his great grandfather won out and he slowly opened the back cover and turned the pages until he came to the last entry.
It was dated the day Clark had died. The passage, in Clark's neat handwriting, read: << It has been several long days since my soulmate's peaceful passing from this world. I, too, feel that I have done all I can here on this Earth, and it is now time to join Lois in the next phase of our lives. >>
Jerome read these last words again. He took comfort in knowing that Clark was no longer in pain from losing Lois, but was now at peace and with her again.
Closing the back cover he flipped the book over and opened it to the first page where Clark had written an introduction. In his neat script was his name: Clark Kent. An arrow had been drawn between the two names with "Jerome" written above that, as if Clark had originally forgotten to include it or it had been an afterthought that he wanted there. Below his name the inscription read: << I start this book anew in recognition of leaving behind my old life and starting a new one. >>
What could Clark have meant by that? What had his old life been like? Was it something he didn't want to remember? Did his new life begin with Lois? It certainly sounded like Clark was making a break from the past. Maybe there was another journal somewhere that chronicled Clark's life before. Jerome resolved to look for that.
Turning the page to the first entry, Jerome read: << As I listen to Lois's peaceful breathing beside me, I reflect back on recent events. I knew, from the moment I met her, that we were meant to be together, and that I had to come here to find her. My life began on that day. I had known before that there was something missing, but it wasn't until I met this wonderful woman beside me that I knew what it was. She completes me. >>
They really had shared a special love, Jerome thought to himself. But the wording confused him. How had Clark known her before he came here to meet her? And where did he have to come from? He turned the page, hoping for answers.
<< Aside from these words, which I don't intend for anyone to see, Lois is the only person I can talk to about what is happening. When I saved that young girl today I somehow knew that was only the beginning. I can't stand by and not help when I know I can. Maybe that was why I was drawn here. Not only to be with Lois, but also to make a difference on this world, more so than I could have made on my own. >>
Jerome briefly considered putting the journal back where he had found it after reading those first few words, but knowing the kind of man Clark had been; open, loving, and giving to his family, Jerome was compelled to discover just what it was that Clark felt he couldn't share with anyone besides Lois. What was it that Clark had kept secret? And why? Jerome's natural curiosity and investigative instincts that he had inherited from his beloved relatives won over.
He decided to continue, starting with contemplating Clark's last words. Clark had saved a young girl. Whatever the circumstances had been, he'd realized he couldn't just stand by and not do something when he realized he could help. From the way Clark had worded it, this seemed like it was his first heroic act, and that he realized he was the kind of person who wouldn't be able to just pass someone by in need, but that he was compelled to help others. Maybe that's why he had become an investigative reporter. He had known that he could help people through his words, and now realized he needed to help through acts as well.
Clark's reference to being "drawn here" probably referred to Metropolis. Jerome knew Clark was from Kansas, so maybe this large metropolitan city gave Clark more opportunities to make the difference he so wanted to make, both as a reporter and as a good samaritan. Jerome also knew that Lois was from Metropolis, and this was where they had met. Clark had moved here to be with Lois, as well.
But what Clark meant by "this world" confused Jerome. What could that refer to? And "more so than on my own". His own … world? That was what was implied. But what could that have meant? The next entry provided no clues, but did make Jerome smile.
<< I had already written my name on the first page of this book when Lois informed me, with her usual flair, that my name was incomplete … >>
Clark had known that life with Lois wouldn't always be sunny. Their first meeting she'd been angry with him, yelling at him for interfering with her investigation. He knew she had a temper and she wasn't afraid to say what was on her mind. Her honesty and forthrightness were some of her qualities that drew him to her. And she was tenacious and determined, and through her efforts the world was becoming a better place because of all the criminals she'd helped expose. But in order to get these exclusives she'd had to take some risks. And that had precipitated their current argument.
They were standing in their living room, Clark having just rescued Lois from her recent scheme. He'd returned to Metropolis from an emergency in another city in time to realize that something was wrong with Lois. Using their telepathic link he called out to her, but there was no response. He'd searched the city until he found her, hiding in the office of an embezzler she was investigating. The man was coming down the hall to return to his office and would have surely found Lois if Clark hadn't found her first. He'd zipped into the office and scooped Lois up, flying her directly home so they could discuss this in private.
"Lois! You were almost caught! Couldn't you have waited for me? What if I hadn't made it on time? Can't you be more careful?" Clark ranted as he paced the living room floor.
"Clark, I didn't get all those awards by being careful and not taking a few risks! It's what I've had to do to make it in this all male business! And, no, I couldn't have waited for you! I didn't know how long you would be. I saw an opportunity and I took it!"
"But, Lois! I may not always be there to get you out of trouble." His voice softened, trying to make her understand. "That's my greatest fear. To lose you now that I've found you." He reached to pull her into a hug.
Lois was not ready to be placated yet. She took a step back. "I was doing just fine before you came here, Clark … Clark … Clark, we need to give you a middle name so you'll know when I'm angry with you!"
Clark was taken back at this sudden change in the conversation. "Wh … what?"
Lois placed her hands on her hips. "A middle name. It's a tradition here. Most people have a middle name, and it's how they know when their parents are mad at them. When Mother yelled "Lois Joanne Lane" I knew I was in big trouble."
Clark was slightly puzzled by this turn of events. Since Lois had gone off on a different tangent, he hoped that meant that she accepted what he had to say and was ready to move past it. He really didn't like arguing with her, though he could be just as stubborn as she when it came to her safety. He decided to go along with her.
"Okay. What do you suggest?"
"I'm gathering you didn't have one on Krypton," she stated.
He shook his head.
"Okay. Let me think a minute." She placed her hand on her chin and studied him. He could tell she was trying names out as she'd eye him then shake her head slightly. Finally she had her answer.
"How about Jerome? It was my grandfather's name, which is also a tradition here, naming children after relatives, and Clark Jerome Kent has a nice ring to it."
"Sounds good to me. Thanks, honey," he replied as he moved toward her to give her a hug.
She held out her hand to stop him. "Don't think we're done with the other subject yet, Kent."
Now Jerome knew the whole story behind where his name had come from. He had known it had been Clark's middle name and Lois's grandfather's name, but not that Lois and Clark had chosen it for Clark together. Somehow this meant more. But why hadn't Clark been given a middle name by his parents? Jerome guessed that was possible, as some parents chose not to give their children a middle name, though it was more tradition than not. But Lois, with her usual flare, had wanted her boyfriend to really know when she was angry with him, and since her mother had used her middle name, she felt inclined to do the same, even when she really didn't want to imitate her mother. Jerome smiled, wishing he could have met Lois's mother Ellen. He'd have to ask his Grandpa CJ about her.
The next entry was made several days later. << Lois's idea for a disguise has worked well, much to my surprise. I was skeptical that a slight change in my appearance when I am in the suit she made for me would preclude people from recognizing me, but it has. I will remain cautious; but for now it appears that I can still use the gifts I have been given here and have a normal life with Lois. >>
So Clark had used a disguise to help people. Jerome wondered what the suit Clark referred to had been like and how he had altered his appearance. But why? Why would he not want to be recognized? Why would he not want people to know who he was? As a reporter he would have followed this kind of story; a hero helping his fellow man. Did Clark not want to be on the other side of that? Maybe Clark didn't want to attract attention to himself so that he and Lois wouldn't be constantly followed by people asking for help and the press writing about Clark's heroic behavior. He obviously wanted to lead a normal life, but still do what he could to help others, even to the extent of disguising his appearance.
Jerome had never heard mention of this by any of the family. Could it be they didn't know? And if Clark were helping people, even in disguise, he wouldn't be able to do that without attracting the attention of the press. There had to be some reference to this somewhere, maybe an unknown stranger doing good deeds for others. Jerome made a mental note to research for any references to this, beginning early in Lois and Clark's relationship.
Jerome was again confused by Clark's wording. Many people had an intense desire to help others, to make a difference in the world. Why would Clark think this was a special gift just *he* had? What could he be referring to? Could it be something so different that was why he felt the need to disguise himself from those he saved? Jerome hoped the diary would contain some answers to the questions he was forming. Not the first time since his death, Jerome wished Clark were still here. He could talk to Clark about anything, and Jerome would have given anything to hear this story from Clark himself.
<< Today I feel I had my first real test in the suit. It is one thing for people who are in distress not to pay too close attention to me beyond the flashy costume, but other members of the Fourth Estate finally caught up with me while I was on a rescue. It had been easier up until now, as I had been able to complete my task and fly off before the press arrived. I would then return to the Planet or home, depending on where Lois was, and we would write the story together. >>
So, it had been a "flashy costume"; that should help, Jerome thought. Wait — "fly off"?! Did Clark use a helicopter, or a special-made small flying machine to get to and from situations he could help at quicker? That would narrow the search down quite a bit. It should be easy to find references to a man who helped at scenes by arriving in some sort of flying contraption. And there had to be references. Clark even stated that reporters had caught up with him.
<< But today I was at the scene of a collapsed bridge, resulting in a multi-car pile-up … >>
Clark was walking back to the Planet after meeting with a source that morning. Lois had already gone into work to finish putting their notes together and start on the story. As he turned the corner to walk the last block to the entrance of the building, his super-hearing picked up a radio announcing a breaking news story of reports of a major traffic accident on the other side of town. Clark made his way quickly to the back alley, spun into the suit, and flew in the direction indicated. He couldn't help but smile. He'd accidentally discovered the spin change one night when he and Lois were in playful moods. It had come in handy that night, and subsequent nights as he practiced that particular skill. He had also thought afterwards that that would be a much faster way from him to get *in* the suit and get to the scene where he was needed more quickly. His mind then focused on the task at hand, sobering his thoughts. He certainly didn't want to embarrass himself once he got to the scene.
He arrived at the bridge and immediately began moving cars aside to allow the emergency vehicles to reach the injured. With some cars he had to work slowly to prevent causing further injury to the occupants. By this time, one of the local television camera crews had arrived and were filming his actions. He tried to ignore them. This was the first time he'd been on camera, but he wouldn't let it distract him from what he needed to do.
Lois's head shot up at the mention of Superman's name coming from the television monitors along the newsroom wall. The enthusiasm of the reporter could barely be contained as he reported that the camera-shy Superman, whose previous acts of good will had only appeared in print, had now been captured for their television audience to witness. This incredible being was single-handedly moving cars and assisting victims, making the tasks of rescue workers much quicker and easier. Due to the speed at which efforts were being handled, investigators had already been called to the scene to determine why the cables had given way. Maybe Superman would lend his special skills to the engineers to help them discover the cause more quickly, the newscaster speculated in closing.
Lois held her breath, eyes riveted to the screen. This was the first time any other reporter had managed to catch him at the scene, and it would figure it would be television. As the camera caught glimpses of his face she watched for any signs that this was bothering him, but he seemed intently focused on what he was doing as he carefully moved one car after another.
When the reporter didn't yell out "Hey, that's Clark Kent!" after the camera had gotten a particularly good close-up shot, she looked cautiously around the newsroom to see if any of their co-workers recognized him. She sighed with relief as the realization came that between the suit, no glasses, and his hair slicked back from his handsome face no one recognized him for who he really was. That, and no one expected Clark Kent to be able to do the things that Superman was doing. This was going to work! Clark could help people and they would be able to live a normal life together.
She continued to watch as Superman cleared up the accident, then flew away. A few minutes later Clark exited the elevator into the cityroom.
"I got the interview from that source for our story," he said, making sure others heard as he approached Lois's desk, taking out his notes. If any of their co-workers had seen the news coverage of the accident, hopefully they wouldn't connect Clark to Superman if Clark had been meeting a source; that is, if they believed that's where he had been the entire time.
Lois smiled up at him.
There was something about that smile that reassured him that everything was okay, that their secret was safe. He breathed a sigh of relief and pulled up a chair as they continued to work on their story.
<< Lois filled me in on what had happened at the Planet while the news story was on. If the people I worked closely with on a daily basis didn't recognize me as Superman, … >>
Jerome sat back heavily against the pillow, the book falling onto his lap. "My, God! Clark had been Superman!" Jerome couldn't help but exclaim out loud. "And he never told anyone! At least, I don't think he did. How could everyone have kept this secret if they had known?" Jerome was stunned. Why had Clark never told anyone about being Superman? Surely he would have heard about it if others in the family had known. He pushed that thought aside for the time being. Maybe Clark's journal contained the answer. He resumed reading.
<< … recognize me as Superman, then I knew we were safe. I feared for Lois more than myself. If the criminal element were to discover my other identity they would undoubtedly use her to get to me. This test has allayed my fears, at least as far as Lois being harmed because of her connection to my alter-ego. Her constantly exposing herself to danger because of her work was something that I learned, what seems like now a long time ago, was something I could do nothing about; except be there to help her out of it. >>
Jerome suddenly had a newfound respect for his great grandfather. He'd studied in school the contributions of Superman and how this one alien man had made a difference in the world. Lois had published in her first article about Superman that he was from another planet, and that he was here to help. She hadn't indicated why Superman had left Krypton to come to Earth. Jerome guessed now that that was something neither of them wanted the world to know. But he knew now that *Clark* had been that super-human alien from another planet. That made him, Jerome, one-eighth Kryptonian.
Suddenly, a lot of things began to make sense. The increasingly infrequent appearances of Superman over the years, even at the scenes of natural disasters. Superman appearing older in more recent close-up photographs, which he seemed to try to avoid. And, on those rarer occasions when Superman was at the scene, the strange behavior of both Lois and Clark when he was called out. Clark would get a far-off look on his face then disappear, and Lois would cover for him. The family had gotten used to these occurrences over the years, and attributed them to something work related, even when they were no longer covering big news crime stories.
Jerome could understand why they had wanted to keep this a secret, even from the family. In the early years there were many criminals who were bent on destroying Superman, and if they learned who his loved ones were, they would have been in danger. Even Superman couldn't be everywhere. And when none of the children or grandchildren developed any extraordinary powers, maybe they had seen no reason to tell them that they were part alien. Jerome knew from what he had been taught in school that even with Superman living among humans for as long as he did, the world was still not ready to learn there were more like him out there. And the fewer people who knew Clark Kent's secret, the safer it was for everyone involved.
A conversation he had had with Clark came back to him, making sense now in the light of this new knowledge . . .
Jerome sat at the breakfast table, watching Grandpop Clark prepare dinner. Grandmom Lois was upstairs napping. Clark prepared most of their meals, as Lois continued to claim that she had no talent for it. Clark didn't seem to mind; in fact he seemed to enjoy this everyday task. Jerome had come over for a visit after football practice, which was a usual occurrence.
"Did you play football when you were in high school, Grandpop?" Jerome asked as he watched Clark prepare the salad.
Clark paused before he answered. He couldn't exactly tell Jerome that he hadn't gone to high school, at least what Jerome knew as high school, much less played football. He and Lois had decided that they would tell no one that Clark was from another planet; a decision that got easier to keep each year when they realized none of their children displayed any of Clark's special abilities, and as these abilities were called into action less and less. So he couldn't very well tell Jerome that he had been privately tutored, as was customary for the future ruler of his world. The fewer questions raised, the better.
"Actually, Jerome, I took a form of martial arts when I was in school, though I bet I would have liked football."
Clark sighed to himself as that seemed enough of an explanation to satisfy the young Jerome, who immediately launched into telling Clark what had happened during practice that day and of his excitement for the big game on Friday.
Clark let his mind wander as he listened to Jerome, nodding and smiling at this younger version of himself at appropriate intervals. Jerome, as well as his own children, had asked on occasion about his childhood. He'd been able to tell them enough to satisfy them, without giving away his secret. He regretted at times keeping such important information from them; after all, they were part alien, and they had a right to learn about their heritage. He regretted as well not being able to tell them more about their other grandparents, only saying enough so his children knew who his parents were, but that they were unable to visit. But during the kids' younger years they couldn't be trusted to keep a secret of that magnitude, and as the years wore on it became harder to tell them. How would they react? He and Lois had not been willing to take a chance of hurting them. It just never seemed to be necessary. A lot of fathers had second jobs, and there were just so many other things he wanted to share with them …
As Jerome now thought about that and other conversations, he realized how little he actually knew of Clark's childhood. From Clark's first journal entry it seemed his former life had been lonely. Hopefully the diary contained more insights. Jerome couldn't bear the thought that someone he cared so deeply for would be so unhappy.
And now as he thought of the man he once viewed as two separate people, Jerome believed that, now that he knew the truth, the world should know of the contributions that his great grandfather had made, as both Clark and Superman, as well as what Lois had done by his side. Jerome somehow felt it was right, that now was the right time, to let the world know who was responsible for the peaceful world they now took for granted, and how they had brought it about. And maybe that was why Clark hadn't been more careful about hiding his journal, or why he had even written these words at all. He had eventually wanted it known, once Utopia was a reality and his family would be safe with the information public. Jerome's focus returned to the diary, wanting now to learn as much about the whole man as he could.
The next entry was about two months later: << I was sure everything was over a few days agowhen the story about Lois and Superman hit the tabloids. We had just become engaged, and it looked like we were going to be able to enjoy a wonderful life together as partners in both our personal and professional lives. We were happy together; why would any have believed that Lois was in love with another man, even a "super" man? >>
<< Once the rumors began to spread, I knew it was only a matter of time before it was suggested that Superman was really me. But Lois was sure we could get past this, and together we discovered that Luthor was behind it all to divert us from finding out about one of his questionable business dealings. It was this investigation that brought us closer to exposing Luthor. Lois had known almost from the start that everything was not how it appeared with him. I had even helped her once from Krypton to escape his capture. And I made a promise to her that one day we would stop him. >>
Jerome had seen the tabloid articles in one of Lois and Clark's scrap albums. They had kept all the articles they had written, as well as those written about them. It had actually turned into a memento of pride for the family as another example of the reporting team's skill as investigators. Even when the attack had turned to them, they had not given up, but had exposed another corrupt business dealing. Jerome found himself becoming more impressed with his great grandparents as he learned more of the behind the scenes obstacles they had faced with Clark also being Superman.
The date on the next entry was four months after the previous one. Jerome couldn't help but wonder what had happened during that time. He decided that later he would gather articles Lois and Clark had written during that period to get an idea of what their lives had been like that this gap didn't fill in. Maybe Clark had found what he had been seeking, and he and Lois had been able to lead a normal life together.
<< Lois and I are now officially married. If I had remained on Krypton I would be married to Zara now. And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I would never have been able to feel for Zara what I feel for Lois. I hope Zara and Ching are as happy together as Lois and I are. And though I will never see them again, I know my parents would be happy for me, knowing that I am where I belong. >>
<< A few months ago I teased Lois that I was holding something back to surprise her with for our wedding night. This is such a beautiful Earth custom that consummates the marital bond. Kryptonians have long since foregone this physical union in favor of more scientific methods, the ceremony itself representing the completed bond. I realized then that that was something my people were missing out on — wanting to please another with no thoughts of self. Lois taught me the fulfillment of that. >>
<< There are also advantages of being a Kryptonian under a yellow sun. The first night of our honeymoon, after making love, we ended up lying on the ceiling in our apartment. The experience of making love is incredible in its own right, and I don't think it will ever lose its magic for me with Lois as a partner. But there's just something about making love while suspended, with nothing but air and Lois's body touching mine. >>
Jerome wasn't sure this was something he wanted to know about his great grandparents, but he couldn't bring himself to stop reading. This was a part of Clark, and from how he described it, a very important part, and Jerome wanted to learn all he could about the man he admired, despite his discomfort.
<< I spent the night before our ceremony on the couch, wanting to spend a night apart to make our wedding night more special. I also had a surprise for Lois that I was working on, until she discovered what I had planned … >>
Clark sat on the couch, settling in for the night. Tomorrow was his wedding day, and he had a special surprise he wanted to prepare for Lois. It was nearly midnight, and he paused to listen to Lois's even breathing, knowing she was sleeping peacefully despite being excited about the following day. He knew she was tired. They'd spent the day finalizing last-minute details, some of which had been quite trying. Lois had fallen exhausted into bed shortly after 10:00 once she was satisfied there was nothing else she could do. They had previously decided to spend the night in separate rooms to make their wedding night more special. Once Lois was in bed, Clark prepared the couch for his last night as a bachelor.
Clark was determined that he would make tomorrow night as special for Lois as he could. He had purchased a book that he had found on the internet and had managed to keep it hidden from Lois. He tuned in again to her, making absolutely sure that she was asleep. Satisfied that she was, he pulled the book out from under the couch where he had hidden it and began to read it cover to cover, taking his time. Even though he could read things quickly, thanks to the abilities the Earth's sun had given him, and could remember details of what he read, he didn't want to miss any of the truths this book had to offer, and he wanted time to absorb everything and determine how he would put what he learned to practical use. He was so intent on his study that he didn't hear Lois softly pad up behind him.
"Clark, what are you doing?"
He jumped at the sound of her voice, trying to hide the book from her line of sight as she approached the couch.
"Ah, nothing, Lois. I … ah … couldn't sleep. I thought you were asleep?" he tried diverting the topic, hoping to distract her.
"I was, but I couldn't sleep. I'm too excited about tomorrow, or rather later today. Let me see what you are reading. Maybe it'll help me get back to sleep. And it's so empty in there without you. After sleeping with you all these months I just can't sleep unless you are beside me."
Clark had managed to stuff the book under a cushion as Lois came closer to him. He reached now for her hand to pull her onto his lap before responding. "I'm having trouble sleeping without you, too. I don't know how I spent all those nights alone before you. I thought then that I wanted to be alone. I knew I didn't really want to be with Zara, though I'm sure she would have agreed if I had wanted her to. And the thought of professional caregivers never really appealed to me."
Clark sighed. He didn't really want to talk about this with Lois, especially now, but if it got her mind off the book and prevented her from discovering his surprise he would do it.
Lois interpreted Clark's sigh that he was taking a moment to collect his thoughts before answering. She always enjoyed these times when Clark chose to talk about his past. He seldom wanted to remember the life he had left behind for her, usually telling her he didn't wish to recall the loneliness and emptiness of his life before they had met, but she also knew he missed it some and probably didn't want her to think he regretted his decision. She was fascinated by the little glimpses he would give her of what life was like on another world. Besides, maybe she could distract him enough that she could get a look at that book he was so obviously trying to keep from her.
"After making love with you," he began, "I know now there is no way just a physical relationship would be as fulfilling. And that's all those caregivers provided. A means for nobles to relieve stress. I just never really had the need, or the desire, before I left. I was too busy preparing for my role. And I also knew that that wasn't what I wanted. I mean, my parents had shared with me some things about their relationship, which is what I wanted and have now with you." He smiled as he took her small hand in his larger one. "But they also knew the stress and pressure I would be under as leader and that I may need to avail myself of that service. So they didn't discourage it. Just explained its purpose. Once I met you I knew that was no longer an option for me. Making love with you fulfills me."
"Oh, Clark," she sighed, pulling him closer to her, her arms around his neck. He was so romantic; no Earth guy could stand a chance compared to him. But she also knew that if they didn't change the topic she'd take him right here and now, going back on their agreement to wait until tonight.
She focused her mind back on the book. Why was he hiding it from her? She decided she needed to try a different course of distraction, one that she was more in control of. She leaned forward to gently kiss his lips, showing him with her growing ardor how much she appreciated him waiting for her, even when he hadn't know that was what he was doing. She felt him relax into her kiss, his arms wrapping around her waist.
Clark let himself relax, enjoying the feel of Lois in his arms, her lips pressed against his, her tongue mating with his. He kept his senses enough to ensure it would go no further, at least right now, hoping she was now sufficiently distracted that she would be satisfied with kissing him for a few minutes and then return to bed alone for this one night. After all, it had been her idea to sleep apart tonight, and he had agreed after she had explained to him the custom of the wedding night. He was certain she wouldn't go back on that now, after they'd managed to wait this long.
Lois broke the kiss, moving her lips to trace the outline of his jaw with butterfly kisses to settle on assaulting his ear. She knew what this did to her, and based on his previous reactions to this, was sure that he would be sufficiently distracted so she could maneuver to retrieve the book. Lifting her eyelids, she peeked at his eyes, and seeing his long lashes resting against his cheeks, his expression relaxed, she knew now was her chance. She bent slightly as she moved her lips from his ear down his neck and out to his shoulder. Gently and slowly she moved her arms from around his neck, and in a quick move that had Superman impressed, she twisted and dove for where she knew the book was hidden under the couch cushion behind her.
Clark's eyes flew open at the sudden movement and loss of contact, and he dove on top of her, trying to prevent her from pulling out the book.
"Lois! What are you doing?!"
She turned her head to look innocently at him. "It was either that or break our agreement to wait until tonight. Besides, you were being so secretive about this book I just had to know what it was."
He couldn't help but smile at her expression. "You'll spoil your surprise," he admitted.
"Surprise? You're hiding a surprise for me? Is it a wedding present?"
He nodded in confirmation to each of her questions.
She contemplated that for a moment, and he relaxed a bit, thinking she wouldn't want to ruin her surprise. He realized his error as she was now able to snatch the book from its hiding place. "I don't like to be surprised!" she declared, and looked down at the book in her hand. She studied the cover for a moment, then looked back over her shoulder at Clark, then back to the book.
"This is what you've been hiding from me?"
Clark moved back to sit on the couch once he no longer needed to protect his secret. "Yeah, but I wanted it to be a surprise, you know, for tonight."
Lois moved to sit beside him. "Clark, that's so sweet, but believe me, you don't need to read this. You are," she searched for the perfect word, "super as you are."
"I wanted tonight to be perfect for you."
She placed her palm on his cheek. "It will be, Clark, because I'm with you." She leaned over to give him a sweet kiss, then looked back down at the book in her lap and began flipping pages. "Though maybe sometime we could try some of these," she paused as one caught her eye, tilting her head sideways to see if that helped her perspective, "but I don't know about this one."
Clark laughed, pulling her into his arms.
In the present, Jerome paused. Reading about his great grandparents' wedding night was a little weird. He was relieved that Clark hadn't gone into details. Jerome had already known some about Lois and Clark's early years; that they met, fell in love, and lived together for a while before getting married. And he was familiar with the book Clark had read to surprise Lois with. Jerome also remembered well that his Grandmom Lois didn't like surprises when they tried to give her a party for her 80th birthday a few years ago. Maybe he would see if he could find that book around here for when he got married.
Another thought occurred to him. Clark may have described the night's events in the next entry. Slowly he turned to the next page, unsure of what he might find next. He breathed a sigh of relief as he read the first few words. The entry was a couple of weeks later.
<< Lois and I have been nominated for our first Kerth Award as a reporting team. We won a Meriweather Award shortly after being teamed together, but this one means a bit more, being a more prestigious award, as well as a reminder of the first time I saw Lois. Her picture was in the Daily Planet files Kai had brought me, along with an article recognizing her nomination for her second Kerth award. I recall being drawn to her honest and in-depth reporting skills, but once I saw her I was more drawn to her. Somehow I knew she was the one. It was shortly after that that I contacted her for the first time. Has it only been three years? It seems like I have been with her a lifetime. >>
<< It still amazes me sometimes. There were so many ifs to us being together. If Kai had never gone to Earth, if he hadn't chosen the Daily Planet to include in the information he gathered for me, if I hadn't read Lois's articles, I never would have met her. >>
Jerome thought over these last few sentences. He wondered about Kai, and what he had meant to Clark, and about those first visits to Earth. Had they been seen? Had people known there were visitors from another world? He'd have to investigate that. Most of the information he'd gathered about alien visitors up until now had been about Superman. He had been fascinated and drawn to someone the press had coined "the Man of Steel" from an early age, reading everything he could about this alien who helped Earth. He'd been disappointed that there had been so few sightings in his lifetime. He had so wanted to see his idol in action, and discover current information about him and the life of apparent loneliness that he led. Jerome had never fully understood his draw to the hero who had all but faded from public life. Now he knew why. Not for the first time since his death did Jerome wish that Clark were still here. He wanted so desperately to talk again to the man who meant so much to him, even more so now with this new knowledge.
Jerome focused again on the journal, his best remaining source of information.
<< Lois never ceases to amaze me. Her performance at the charity benefit last night still has me smiling. It all started about two weeks ago … >>
"Clark?" Perry called tentatively to one of his star reporters as he poked his head out his office.
"Yeah, Chief?" Clark approached his boss where he stood in his doorway.
"Clark, I need you to do something for me."
"Yes, sir?" Clark asked tentatively, unsure of what to expect from the way Perry was acting.
Perry handed him a flyer for the upcoming Celebrity Talent Show to benefit the Coates Orphanage. Clark was familiar with the organization and knew they did good work for the homeless children of Metropolis. He also knew their facility was in need of supplies and major repairs. The cost was $200.00 per person to attend, plus drink sales and any other donations would all go to the charity. He scanned the list of local celebrities confirmed to perform. One name caught his attention.
"Lois signed up for this?" he asked, surprised. Surely she would have mentioned something like this to him. He knew she was talented but …
"Well, not exactly," Perry mumbled.
"I signed her up," he admitted, "but it's for a good cause," he rushed on. "And have you ever heard that woman sing? I caught her act once when she was on an undercover assignment. She got a standing ovation after each number and calls for multiple encores. Her talent'll really bring in the money for those kids."
"So, you want to put my wife on display."
"It's for a good cause."
"And you want me to tell her."
"Thank you, Clark. I knew you'd come through." With that Perry rushed off to find another one of his reporters, any reporter, to get a story update from.
Clark sighed and took the flyer with him as he left the office. How was he going to tell Lois? It was one thing to do this kind of thing for a story, but his independent woman of the nineties would probably explode at this, even if it were for a good cause. He'd wait until they were home tonight to tell her. He didn't want her to create a scene here at work. She was not going to like this. Not one bit.
"Lois?" Clark began at dinner that night. He resolved himself to get it over with as soon as an opportunity presented itself.
"Yes, Clark?" She had stopped eating to look at him. Something about the tone of his voice told her this wasn't going to be their usual dinner conversation.
"Honey, what do you know about the Coates Orphanage?"
She gave him a puzzled look. This was definitely unusual. Dinner talk sometimes consisted of going over stories they were working on, or Superman's activities for that day, or how they planned to attack tomorrow's leads. More often than not it was making plans for how they would spend their time together. But this didn't seem to fit into any of those categories. As far as Lois knew, the Coates Orphanage wasn't under any suspicions for anything and wasn't related to any of their current investigations. Curiosity piqued, Lois moved into reporter mode. "Well, they are one of the best homes in Metropolis for kids with no place else to go. Why do you ask? Have they done something suspicious? Are we going to investigate them for something?"
Clark smiled. That was his Lois. Always looking for a story angle. "Oh, no, at least as far as I know there aren't any questionable activities going on there. Maybe I just better show you." He reached in his pocket for the folded piece of paper and handed it to Lois. He watched her open it and held his breath, waiting for the explosion. He didn't have to wait long as he watched her eyes scan the flyer.
"What!?! How did this happen? Clark, what do you know about this?"
"Easy, honey," he tried to calm her. "It is for a good cause, and you do sing incredibly well."
"Clark, your attempt to flatter me and appeal to my sense of community is not going to stop me from getting to the bottom of this," she seethed. "Now. Are you going to tell me, or do I have to look elsewhere to investigate this."
Clark sighed. Perry was counting on him to convince Lois to do this, so he figured he better come clean. "No, Lois, I'll tell you. It was … Perry."
"He knows how good of a singer you are … "
"He does, does he," she stated flatly.
" … and that you would be able to help raise a lot of money for the kids."
"Come on, honey. It's for the kids. Besides, how bad could it be?"
She gave him a scathing look. "And what will you be doing?"
"I … I'll … be there to support you."
She let the idea roll around in head for a minute. She knew exactly what Perry was doing. He wanted the Planet to make a good showing at this event, and by having one of its award-winning star reporters performing, the paper would not only look good by helping a charity, but the exposure would be good for them and could increase circulation and sales.
She knew Perry had known about that undercover case when she performed as a lounge singer to get some inside information on shady dealings at the club, so that's why he'd pegged her. Thinking it over, she knew the event would really help those kids, and it could be good for the paper. Then inspiration struck. She'd get Perry back for this.
"Okay. I'll do it. For the kids."
Clark smiled, surprised at this sudden turnaround, but not surprised that Lois would see how good this would be for the kids and want to help. "Thanks, honey. You are incredible."
Lois smiled back. If he only knew what she was planning.
For the next two weeks Lois spent her lunch hour practicing. The event was to be held at an upscale club in town, and she arranged with an accompanist what she would be performing. She refused Clark's request to watch her, stating simply that it was a surprise. Finally the night of the event arrived.
The large crowd filled the room to capacity. The city's prominent organizations bought as many tables as they could, not only to support the charity, but also to support the employee who was representing their company. Lois peeked out from behind the curtain, looking for the Daily Planet group. Her plan was to make eye contact first with Perry to let him know just how much she appreciated this set up. Clark was right beside him. Good. That would work out well with her plans. She just hoped Superman didn't get a call before she had a chance to put her scheme in motion. Having received an advanced copy of the program she noted that she was slated to go on near the end. She figured, wryly, that her reputation as a performer had proceeded her. Satisfied that she would easily be able to pick out Perry from the stage, she went to the dressing rooms to get ready.
An hour and a half into the show she was notified that she was up next. Checking her outfit one last time in the full-length mirror, she then made her way to stage left where she would make her entrance. She couldn't wait to see the look on Perry's face.
The act before her exited stage right after the curtain fell. She made her way to center stage, then nodded to the person off stage who was controlling the lights. She had requested the lights be brought down on stage, then the curtains raised before bringing them back up. Adjusting her dress one last time she listened as the curtains ascended in front of her and a small spotlight appeared in front of her feet. The house lights were dimmed but sufficient enough for her to find Perry at the Daily Planet table. The spotlight expanded and moved up her body as the notes of the song began. She couldn't help but smile as she watched Perry's jaw drop in shock and surprise. Clark was barely able to contain his laughter, both at his boss's reaction and Lois's form of revenge.
The song she had chosen had a slight country twang and to set the mood Lois wore a high neck, long-sleeved, ankle length calico dress that revealed nothing of the gorgeous figure underneath. Her voice was playful and breathy as she sang the words.
*What in the world are you waiting for?
Are you waiting for a sign?
Grab my hand, take me home
Let me know you're mine
None of this women's lib for me
I just wanna be controlled
I can't think for myself
I need to be told*
*I want an old fashioned man
Who's not afraid of a woman
Keeps me in my place
Takes me for granted, for granted
I want an old fashioned man
Who'll treat me just like they used to
Keeps me in my place
Stops me from working, working*
*Throw away my Cosmopolitan
It can only turn my head
Anyway, I'm not meant to have fun in bed
I don't want equal opportunity
It's too difficult for me
I'll just stand by my man
*I want an old fashioned man
Who's not afraid of a woman
Keeps me in my place
Takes me for granted, for granted
I want an old fashioned man
Who'll treat me just like they used to
Keeps me in my place
Stops me from working, working*
The crowd erupted in cheers and applause, but none louder than Clark and Jimmy, who were privy to what had just occurred and through their response congratulated Lois on getting back at Perry. The lights went down on stage again as the response of the audience died down. Lois used the cover of darkness to prepare for her next number. She had decided that the first one was sufficient revenge, and, after all, it was for charity. Her next was more to help the kids.
When the lights came back up Lois stood on stage in the same spot. Gone was the calico dress, quickly tossed off stage. In its place a long, cream-colored gown with thin straps at the shoulders and a plunging neckline that hugged her body, accentuating every curve. Lois smiled at Clark amidst the catcalls, whistling, and cheers, noting his appreciation and letting him know that his was the only response that mattered to her.
In a sexy voice she introduced her song with "This one is for my husband," and with a nod in his direction sang a sultry version of Fly Me To The Moon.
Finishing her second number, she bowed gracefully to the applause and exited the stage. After the last act performed, she made her way from backstage to the Daily Planet table, still in her gown.
Clark spotted her and made his way through the crowd to meet her.
"Honey, you were fantastic!" he exclaimed, pulling her into a hug. "Perry was stunned. I don't think he'll try anything like that again any time soon."
"Thank you, sweetheart, and I'm glad to hear my little joke worked. That'll teach him not to mess with Lois Lane Kent!"
Laughing with arms around each other they moved to join the rest of their group.
<< Perry had been quite contrite about that incident, but he took Lois's pay-back in stride. But I don't think he'll make that mistake again. This just affirms for me what I knew the moment I learned of Lois Lane. She is one incredible woman! >>
Jerome could just picture the spunky woman he knew as his great grandmother pulling something like this. Perry had passed away long before Jerome had been born, but he'd heard so much about him he felt he knew him. He'd seen pictures of the much-acclaimed, long-time Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Planet, and he could just picture his reaction to Lois's stunt. He wished sometimes that he could travel back in time and see Lois, Clark, Perry, and Jimmy in their prime. But he would just have to content himself with getting to know them better through Clark's words.
The next journal entry chronicled another milestone in the lives of Lois and Clark.
<< Today is our one-year anniversary. I have a special evening planned. Lois is at the Planet now. I managed to sneak out, vaguely telling her I had things I needed to do. Dinner is cooking now while I take a moment to write about this important day. >>
<< Kryptonians don't commemorate the event of the ceremony of union. I had to do some discrete digging to find out what the Earth custom was, without letting on that I had no idea. Good thing I am an investigative reporter! I searched the internet for ideas, and asked Perry how he and Alice had spent their recent anniversary. I consider Perry one of my closest friends now, along with Jimmy, but since Jimmy isn't married I didn't think he would be much help. >>
<< After getting quite a bit of input, I decided on surprising her with a quiet evening at home, cooking one of our favorite meals. Even in the little over three years that I have known Lois her skills in the kitchen haven't improved much. She can still make a mean Pop Tart, though. I sometimes think this bothers her, but I always assure her I didn't marry her for her culinary skills, and in other rooms she does rate five stars. >>
Jerome blushed slightly as he reached to turn the page, hoping Clark hadn't gone into too much detail about this special occasion either. He knew Lois and Clark had always been a close, loving couple; he just wasn't sure he wanted to know the specifics. He was relieved as he began reading the next entry, six months later. They had been married for a year and a half, but Jerome soon realized that this had been a difficult time in his heroes' lives.
<< I face the hardest decision in my life, but fortunately I do not face it alone. Lois has helped me to see that I must return with Zara and Ching. I have no choice. And though I don't know if I can leave Lois, I also know I can't let my people continue on this destructive course. If I can find a way, I will come back to you, Lois. >>
The next page was blank, but Jerome knew when he turned the next entry would contain details of Clark's return, otherwise Jerome knew he would not have been here reading about this important person from his life.
<< I will never leave Lois again. That was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It didn't take me long to realize that I would do anything possible to get back to her as soon as I could. Even communicating with her telepathically had not been enough. I had to be with her, had to return to her. My parents realized this as well, as they helped me put my plan into motion. I will miss them dearly, but I belong with Lois. She is my world. >>
The next entry was several months following Clark's return.
<< Today Lois made me happier than I ever thought I would be. I had thought my life was complete as it is with my career and being married to the most wonderful woman in the universe, and I hadn't thought this was possible since our physiology is so different. Lois has conceived our child. And not by the traditional Kryptonian method. Lara and Jor-El would be pleased, I think, as this is the type of relationship they had hoped I'd have. I do still miss them. But I have Lois, and our growing family. She had cooked a special meal for me, so I knew something was up … >>
Clark entered his home and immediately the aroma of one of his favorite dishes greeted him. It definitely wasn't take-out. He thought back over the past few days trying to recall what could have prompted Lois to venture into the unknown netherworld of the kitchen. When he had told her several hours before that there was a natural disaster that Superman should help with, she had seemed almost glad to get rid of him. What was she up to?
Spinning into more comfortable clothes, he entered the kitchen to see his wife standing by the stove stirring a sauce.
"Hi, honey!" she turned as he entered. "How did it go?"
"Fine," he answered as he walked up behind her. They could discuss the details and write the story later. Right now he wanted to get to the bottom of this mystery. Slipping his arms around her, he dipped the tip of a finger in the sauce and brought it to his lips.
"Mmm, honey. This is really good!"
"Thank you. It's homemade," she responded as she smiled up at him over her shoulder.
"How … I didn't know you could cook this good! You've been holding out on me!"
She laughed at his reaction. "No such luck. Mother spent all afternoon here coaching and supervising. Fortunately she just left before you arrived, so she didn't get to discover that her son-in-law moonlights in tights."
"Wow! What did I do to deserve you sacrificing an afternoon with your mother?"
Lois playfully swatted him on one of the arms wrapped around her, chuckling to herself at the irony of its proximity to her surprise. "You will find out in due time. Now set the table, please. It's almost done."
She felt his arms slip from around her and barely missed his absence before he resumed his position. "Done," he confirmed.
"You are really handy to have around." She smiled up at him as she reached up for a kiss. "Let me put the food in serving bowls then we can eat."
Clark carried the pasta and sauce while Lois carried the salads. Clark motioned for her to precede him out of the kitchen to the dining room. The sight before her brought her up short. Clark had set the table with the good china that her parents had given them for a wedding present. The lights were lowered and candles lit, casting a romantic glow.
"Clark! It's beautiful! Thank you!"
"It was the least I could do after you cooked dinner," he responded after setting down the dishes he carried, taking the salads from her and setting them at their places, then pulling her chair out for her.
They enjoyed the meal while chatting mostly of little, everyday things. Clark let Lois set the conversation, figuring she would tell him in her own time what was going on. In the meantime, he just enjoyed being with his wife. After they had finished dinner, Lois asked Clark to give her five minutes upstairs before coming up to join her. She raced up the stairs and Clark took the time to clean up the dishes at normal speed. Sometimes he liked to do things ordinary men did the way they did them. Satisfied that everything was done, and anxious to find out what else Lois had planned, he guessed his five minutes were about up and headed up the stairs. She had not mentioned anything unusual at dinner, so he figured that he would find out soon what this was all about.
As he entered their bedroom the sight of her standing near the bed made him stop in his tracks. She'd changed from the dressy blouse and pantsuit she had been wearing at dinner to a beautiful burgundy nightgown that complimented her curves. Maybe this was his surprise. She had found this beautiful gown that looked like it had been made especially for her, and she knew how much he liked seeing her in burgundy.
"Lois, you look breathtaking."
She reached out her hand to him. "Why don't you show me how much you like it?" she encouraged.
He didn't need to be asked twice. Crossing the room to her, he took her in his arms, feeling the silky softness of the gown against his skin.
"God, Lois. What you do to me," he growled against her neck as she felt the evidence of his words against her stomach. She smiled again as she thought of how close he was to her secret. She'd tell him later. Right now she wanted to make love to her husband, to show him how much she loved him, and to thank him for this special gift he had given her and them, though he didn't know it yet.
She pulled back a little from him, and taking his hand in hers she led him to their bed.
He stepped back a little, indicating to her that he intended to spin out of his clothes. She motioned for him to stop, then moved toward him to undress him herself. When he'd gotten home he'd changed into jeans and a t-shirt, but after seeing what she'd been wearing and that dinner was obviously a special occasion, he'd changed into nice slacks and a dress shirt. She started with the top button, slowly undoing each one in turn, watching her progress, concentrating on her task.
When the last button was done she opened his shirt to reveal his smooth, muscular chest to her gaze. She knew she'd never tire of looking at him or touching him for as long as she lived. And growing inside her now was a perfect little person created by the love she shared with this man. Hopefully he would look like his father, and if he did, he'd be perfect. And hopefully he would have his father's temperament; otherwise, if he took after his mother, he would be in constant trouble. Either way, and no matter how he looked or what his personality, Lois knew that Clark would be a perfect father, and that she would learn from him how to be a good parent, and together they would have a beautiful child.
After they made love, Clark stilled his movements, burying his head against her soft neck, placing light butterfly kisses on the skin he could lazily reach. Lois moved her arms to encircle his shoulders, holding him in place. She sighed in contentment at the feel of her husband snuggled against her. Now was the perfect time to share her news.
"Clark," she whispered into the quietness of the room.
"Hmm?" he breathed against her neck.
"I'm pregnant," she stated, without preamble.
Clark froze, trying to register Lois's words. He slowly raised his head to look into her eyes.
"How … " he began.
She chuckled softly. "I'd say you already figured that part out."
He smiled and buried his head in her hair. "Lois," he sighed as the news sunk in. "I love you. Thank you."
"Thank you, Clark. Before I met you this was something I never thought I wanted, but now I want this more than anything."
A thought suddenly occurred to Clark. He knew very little about what a pregnancy entailed outside of a test tube. Never wanting to get his hopes up that this was possible with Lois, he'd never studied up on it. He couldn't help but smile. They could learn about this together. His hand moved protectively to rest on her stomach. "Did we … I mean … will what we just … will our making love hurt our baby?"
Our baby. Lois really liked how that sounded. "No, sweetheart. I asked the doctor when I went in to confirm it if there were any activities I needed to avoid. Besides avoiding getting into dangerous situations, which you know for me will be quite a challenge, we're okay with everything else, at least for the next few months. And believe me, Clark. I plan to take it pretty easy. I'm not going to let you and Perry treat me like an invalid, but I don't want anything to happen to our baby."
Clark bent to gently kiss Lois, then wrapped his growing family in his arms.
Jerome smiled at this account of how Lois had revealed to Clark about his grandfather CJ. He was just glad Clark hadn't gone into details. Knowing they had a romantic dinner, made love, and then she told him was enough. He'd have to remember that scenario in case his future wife tried something similar, but then he wasn't sure if he would want to ruin the surprise. He returned his attention to the journal.
<< I hadn't realized how much I had missed my childhood friend until the day he visited the Planet, but as I was supposed to be dead, I wondered if the deception my parents and I created so I could be with Lois had been discovered … >>
Lois and Clark were sitting at her desk, working on their latest story. It was late, and the newsroom was nearly deserted, giving them the opportunity to talk more openly than usual. Superman had been more involved helping with accidents and natural disasters lately, as the crime rate in Metropolis, and around the world, had steadily decreased. Clark was filling Lois in on his latest efforts, a train derailment, when he sensed someone was standing near them. He looked up as Lois finished typing in her last thought. She felt her husband tense beside her, and as she looked up to face their visitor, her hand went protectively to her growing stomach. Kai had come to take Clark from her once before and she had nearly lost him forever. Now that they shared a child, she certainly wasn't going to let him go again. Losing him the first two times had nearly done her in. The first time was hard enough, even when she knew he couldn't stay; but the second, when they'd already made a life together, had almost been more than she could bear. She couldn't go through that, certainly not now.
Kai had seen her movement. "I see you have gone back to the ancient ways of our people."
"Yes, we did … do … still do … Kai, why are you here?" Clark was startled to see his childhood friend, but still felt he needed to defend his actions, this special relationship he had with Lois, though normally a very private man. His mind raced. Was his cover blown? Had his people somehow discovered that he was still alive and sent Kai, again, to bring him home? He knew his parents would never reveal what had really happened, so how had Kai came to be on Earth?
Kai's answer brought immediate relief to both Lois and Clark. "For a visit, my friend. As I recall, you invited me."
"But that was before … "
"You 'died'? I took a chance by coming here, intending to find Lois to visit with her again, and hoping by some chance that you would be here as well. Trust me, my friend. No one will learn of where you are, or that I have been here. I was sent on a mission of scientific exploration of a neighboring solar system and thought I would take the opportunity while I was nearby."
"Kai … " Clark began. He wanted to explain. He needed his friend to understand why he had forsaken his people to live with an alien race. And why he had chosen Lois over everything and everyone.
"I understand, Kal. I know why you had to do what you did. All of those years of talking with you, and knowing your parents, had shown me that and I, too, have found this kind of relationship."
"I am happy for you, Kai, and I'm glad you're here." Clark extended his hand to his old friend, finally able to relax now that he knew why Kai was here and that he understood the situation.
"Yes, Kai. We are glad to see you. How long can you stay?" Lois knew that even though Clark had chosen to return to Earth to be with her, that he still missed some aspects of his former life.
"A day or two, then I must resume course before I am missed."
"So, tell me about this girl?" Clark prompted his childhood friend as he drew a chair near his and Lois's.
<< The next few days spent with Kai were enjoyable. I had missed my old friend, but still do not for one moment regret my decision to be with Lois. Kai filled me in on how my parents were, and promised, when the opportunity presented itself, to inform them of my life and the grandchild they would soon have. Maybe someday they could find a way to visit, too. >>
Jerome was amazed at how much Clark had given up. The best he could recall, no one had mentioned Clark's parents much, unlike Lois's. It was clear now why. Clark had loved Lois more than anything in his life, and he had given that life up for her. Jerome wished now that Clark was still alive, or that he had discovered this journal before his death. He had so many questions about what Clark's life had been like on Krypton. This was Jerome's heritage, and now he might never know about that aspect of Clark, unless the journal revealed more.
Jerome turned back to the first entry again. It seemed clear, at that time, that Clark had no intention of writing about his former life, but at least Jerome had gotten some insights from the entry about Kai. He turned back to the next entry. Maybe Clark had decided to share more.
<< When the scandal about Lois and my alter-ego had been exposed indicating Luthor was behind it as a means to distract us from his criminal activities, I had promised Lois that we would see him held responsible for the crimes against the people of Metropolis, and beyond, that he had committed. No sooner had we begun to bring Luthor down, did Kai return to Earth to take me back to Krypton, with Zara and Ching following. I made that promise to Lois, and intended to keep it. It has taken us years to accomplish, but, today, we finally succeeded … >>
Lois and Clark were working on their next assignment at their respective desks. They had just finished one of the biggest stories of their career and LAN'd it to their Editor-in-Chief. They couldn't help but occasionally glance at each other and smile. They could almost imagine the look on the chief's face when he read their copy. By the end his eyes would be as big as saucers, and any minute now he'd be sticking his head out of his office and yelling for his top team to get in there and give him all the background information and details.
"Lane! Kent! My office! Now!" he hollered above the noise in the newsroom. He intentionally made his voice sound gruff, though he had never been more excited about a headline. This one was big. But he had to keep up the illusion in the newsroom. He couldn't very well let his employees know that he really was a softie, especially when it came to those two. He had to keep everyone on their toes and getting top stories. That's how he ran a successful newspaper.
Lois and Clark exchanged a look as they rose from their chairs. Clark waited for Lois at his desk, then they both entered their editor's office in silence. They knew Perry well enough now to know what he wanted, and what his actual response was to their article. After all, he had to keep up appearances. If the rest of the newsroom suspected that he thought of Lois and Clark as his own children, there would be mayhem and no one would push to be the best they could be for their tough editor.
"Well, kids," Perry began as he motioned for Clark to close the door behind him and indicated they take a seat in front of his desk as he sat on the front edge corner, "I didn't believe you when you told me Luthor was dirty, but you've done it. You've exposed the third richest man in the world for who he really is. Who would have thought all that philanthropic work was just a cover? Care to share with this old newshound how you did it?"
Lois and Clark exchanged a look. They were extremely excited about this piece and even more excited to tell their boss how they had managed such a dramatic coup de grace.
Clark motioned for Lois to begin. She might be his wife and equal partner, but there was a Lane before there was a Lane and Kent and he felt she deserved this honor. Besides, it was her initial intuitions about Luthor that got them on his trail to begin with.
"Well, Chief, you remember that tabloid rumor about me and Superman?" she began, starting at the beginning. She wanted to indicate to their boss just how long and hard they had been working on this.
"Yeah. As I recall it, that was when it came out about you and Superman being friends."
"Yes!" she replied happily, glad he had remembered so she wouldn't have to dredge up that awkward time again. "Clark and I suspected that there had to be someone with a lot of connections and power behind that to pull it off, and my instincts have told me for quite some time that there was just something too good to be true about Luthor. So Clark and I have been keeping an eye on his activities and developing contacts. We finally found someone on the inside who had the evidence we needed and the motivation to see Luthor brought to justice. Seems Luthor had murdered this guy's family to get his cooperation. He stumbled upon proof of this one day, but pretended to remain loyal to Luthor. Shortly after that he contacted us and has been feeding us information until we had enough to go to print. And there you go," she finished, gesturing towards the printout Perry held in his hands.
"I have never been more proud of you two. This should get you both another Kerth, if not that Pulitzer." He smiled at his prodigies. "Very nice work." He indicated the door. "Now get out there and get me another page one. And I want follow-ups and sidebars on this one! Jimmy!" he yelled out the open door as Lois and Clark exited. "Get down to the police station and get me some photos of Luthor's arrest!" That comment raised every head in the newsroom. "And someone get me publicity! I want all of Metropolis to know that Lane and Kent are the best reporting team in town!"
Lois and Clark smiled at each other as they headed back to their desks.
<< Lois and I received a joint Kerth Award for that piece. I had never seen Perry beam more in pride like he did that night when we accepted our award. >>
Jerome had known about that famous piece by Lane and Kent. It was still a popular topic of family conversation, even after all those years. That had been one of their biggest moments, professionally. Another had come a few years later.
Lois hadn't been at her desk for two minutes before she was up and making her way over to Clark's.
"Okay," she began as she sat on the edge of his desk. "Now that we've brought Luthor down, who's next?"
Clark couldn't help but smile. This was one of the many things he loved about her. Her tenacity, her desire to never give up, and her determination to make the world a better place, one criminal expose at a time.
"So 'Mad Dog' Lane isn't willing to sit on her haunches and take a break?" he teased, knowing full well what the answer would be.
"You know what Perry always says," she reminded him. "'You're only as good as your next story.' Besides, we spent *years* gathering information and just being involved with this one. I need another one. So who are we going after?"
Clark laughed and reached up to give her a quick kiss. "I love you."
She kissed him back. "I love you, too. Any ideas?"
He laughed again. She wasn't about to let this go.
"Well, you did such a great job picking the last one. Who does your intuition say we should investigate?"
She smiled broadly at him. He loved that smile. He also knew it meant she already had someone in mind. He stood up to give her another kiss and a hug.
"You are incredible. Where do we start?"
"With Bill Church. I think it may take some time, but there's something about him that just doesn't sit well with me."
"Let's go, partner."
<< Lois and I recently completed another major investigation, tying the Churches and their international chain of CostMart stores with the crime syndicate Intergang. This is our second joint Kerth Award, and Lois's fifth. Winning that first one with Lois was a great accomplishment for me, and this one was no less so. It further confirms to me that I made the right decision to come here, and that I've been able to make a difference on this world, maybe more so than I would have been able to as the leader of Krypton. >>
This was another popular story with the family. Jerome had heard it many times how his great grandparents had brought down one of the biggest criminal organizations in the world. He was suddenly caught by the last three words of this entry. Leader of Krypton? More pieces of the puzzle of Clark's life before Lois were falling into place. Not only was he an alien from another world, giving up his family for the woman he loved, but now Clark had revealed that he was no ordinary citizen of this other world. He was to be their leader! And he gave all that up. No wonder his people had sent so many to convince him to return to his home world.
Jerome felt more in awe of his great grandfather than he ever thought he would. He had greatly respected Clark for all the accomplishments he had made in his professional career. Then to discover that he had been Superman increased that even more when he realized all that Clark had contributed to the people of Earth and all the sacrifices he must have made in order to do that. And now to discover that he had given up his family, friends, and role on another world to come to an uncertain situation on a new planet. Jerome suddenly wondered what had drawn Clark to Earth in the first place. What would prompt a man to forsake everything he had ever known?
Jerome found his answer a few passages later.
<< Today marks ten years since I first met Lois. Though we have only been married for eight of those, that first contact with her will always represent a turning point in my life. I knew from that day on that I would not be complete without this woman. It was that day that I knew I must leave my home and find her. >>
Lois. His love for her had been more powerful than anything in two worlds.
Jerome turned the page.
<< We celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary today. As I write this, I occasionally glance at Lois sleeping peacefully beside me. We shared a wonderful meal at the Italian restaurant we went to on our first date. It was that night that I knew I loved her, that night that, even though it was unfair to her, especially since I didn't know if I would be able to return to her, that I selfishly desired to share something I knew I would never be able to do in my life, especially without her. Knowing I had to return to my world, I needed to make love to her. I had never experienced the physical act of joining, as Kryptonians had long since foregone the unpredictability of joining to produce offspring, in favor of a more scientific method. And, to their loss, the physical act for pleasure had long since been viewed as an undesirable activity, especially among nobles. Accommodations were made if it were so needed, but I wanted more than that. From the time that Jor-El and Lara had confided in me that they shared this special bond I knew I would be incomplete without it. When I met Lois I knew there could be no other woman for me to share this with. >>
This was the most that Clark had shared of his inner feelings on any subject, and it was from this that Jerome knew even more than he had known from watching them together, how deep Clark's feelings had been for Lois and how much she had meant to him. It was no wonder he had died so soon after losing his soulmate.
<< I relive that night many times in my mind, and every time we make love. It is the most incredible of experiences. To be joined with her, filling her, sharing that experience that brings two people closer together when all inhibitions and fears are put aside and we are completely free to be who we really are. And though she knew from the start that I would have to leave her, she gave herself to me, from that point on. When I returned there had been no doubt that we would be together for the remainder of our days. But I had felt there was something we needed to discuss, something I needed to be sure she was aware of … >>
"Lois," Clark began one night over dinner at Lois's apartment. He'd been back from Krypton for a few weeks, and his reunion with Lois had been more incredible than he would have imagined, but there was something he needed to discuss with her. It would be unfair to her to continue their relationship until he broached this subject.
"Uh oh. I'm not gonna like this, am I. I can tell by the tone of your voice."
"Well, I don't know."
"What is it, Clark?" she asked gently, as she moved to sit on his lap. It was obvious to her that something important was bothering him.
"You remember our first date?"
She smiled and hugged him to her. "I will never forget that night for as long as I live."
He smiled back and returned her hug. "Do you recall me telling you about how Kryptonians have children?"
"Yes, and I'm sorry, Clark, I know they are your people, but that is just so sad! They are missing out on one of the most incredible experiences a man and a woman can share. That is, if they are as super as you," she teased him, knowing he would realize she wasn't just referring to his solar-induced powers and the advantages they sometimes afforded them.
"I think the partner has a good bit to do with that, honey," he teased back, smiling up at her. "But seriously, what I wanted to talk to you about was," he took a deep breath, "children."
"Children," she said flatly.
"I know from my study of Earth culture that children are an important part of the marital union," he rushed on, wanting her to know he understand that this could be a problem for them. "And I don't know if we can even have kids, me being from another planet and all. I mean, we know we can do what it takes for Earth couples to have kids, and very well, I might add, but … "
"Clark, you're babbling. You don't babble."
"I know, honey. It's just that this is so important and if I can't father our children, there are alternatives, or," Clark hesitated, as this next thought didn't appeal to him, but if it was what Lois wanted, "maybe I could … step aside and let you marry an Earth man. But, God, Lois, the thought of you with another man like that would just kill me!"
"Whoa, honey, slow down. First of all, I don't even know if I want kids. But what I do know is that I don't want any man but you. Every time we make love, we make love, and whether that results in another little person doesn't matter. We make love and that to me is creation. You fill me."
Clark looked at his future wife with all the love in his soul shining in his tear-filled eyes. "I love you, sweetheart. You are the most incredible woman in the universe."
<< Six years ago we were blessed when our union produced a child. It is my hope that we can experience that again. I wish for CJ to have a sibling to share his childhood with. Kai was the closest person I had to a brother growing up and I want CJ to share that special bond as well. Lois and her sister are not as close as I would wish them to be, but they have grown closer over the years. I had wondered if Lois and I would be able to conceive, given our biological differences. As we have before, I hope we can again. >>
Jerome smiled. He knew Clark would get his desire, as Jerome's Great Aunt Rose would be born soon. The next entry was dated ten months later.
<< Lois is now fully recovered from giving birth to our daughter, Rose. The pregnancy and delivery were very difficult on both of them. Our fear is that another pregnancy would be even more harmful. After much discussion, for Lois's sake, we decided she would obtain an IUD. I just couldn't take the chance of losing her, for any reason. If it were at all possible I would have undergone an operation, but unless Kryptonite was used, that wouldn't have been possible, and we didn't want to take the risk of exposing me, or letting anyone know Superman was sexually active. Besides, that would have been a more permanent solution, and Lois wasn't willing to go to that extent. We've tried very hard to lead people to believe that Superman is an isolated alien above those human needs and desires, especially after that tabloid incident. And after our discovery of Kryptonite, I didn't want further exposure … >>
Lois glanced in Clark's direction in time to see him get that familiar look that something was up. They'd only been married a short time, but she knew him well enough to know what that look meant. She left her desk to approach his.
"What is it?" she whispered.
"A large asteroid has just struck in Mexico. There is debris scattered for miles. Fortunately it hit in an unpopulated area. It exploded upon impact. I better go check it out."
"It's a slow news day. Mind if I came along?"
"Sure. I'd like that. What should we tell Perry?"
"That we are following up on a lead, even if it doesn't pan out and become a story."
Clark got up from his desk, stuck his head in his boss's office and informed him they were heading out to look into a story. Then walking back to his desk, he and Lois headed to the roof.
The flight to Mexico was uneventful. As they neared the sight of impact, large pieces of gray rock could be seen scattered across the landscape, a large crater at the center. Clark landed them nearby and they began to survey the damage.
"Hey, Clark!" Lois called from about 200 yards away. "Come here and take a look at this!"
Clark could see from where he was that she was holding a piece of meteorite similar to what he had seen on Krypton. A glowing green rock that fell often from the skies of his home world. And because of the beautiful green color, it was a popular item for children to collect.
"Lois! That's … " he began to explain to her that he'd seen it before, but as he got closer to her and the rock he suddenly felt very strange. He hadn't been sick since coming to Earth, attributing it to the effects of the yellow sun like his powers, but now he felt an overwhelming pain shoot through him and he couldn't move. He collapsed to the ground in pain.
"Clark!" Lois ran to him to see what had happened, the rock still in her hand.
The closer she got the more pain Clark felt. The world seemed to be closing in on him, getting darker. He could feel consciousness slipping from him.
"Lois," he managed. "I think … it's … "
"What, Clark? What is it? What's wrong?" The worry in her voice was evident.
"The rock," he whispered.
She looked down at the meteorite in her hands, then back at Clark. She turned so her back was to him and flung it as far away from him as she could. Turning back to him she could see that he was starting to improve already.
"Clark, what happened?"
"I don't know, Lois, but when you came near me with that rock I suddenly felt a lot of pain."
"But you don't normally feel any pain." She bent down beside him, touching his arm, making sure he was okay.
"I know, and the weird thing is that rock is from Krypton."
"Yeah. I was just getting ready to tell you that when the pain hit."
"Clark," she began, a horrible thought occurring to her as she recalled the intense pain her husband had just been in, "we have to get rid of it. If the wrong people were to get a hold of it … "
"I know, but, Lois, I can't go near that stuff. The closer you got to me with it the more pain I felt. I almost passed out."
"Okay. I'll take care of it somehow, and make sure there isn't any more around."
<< Fortunately the piece Lois found was small, and there was no more around at this site. But if one piece could find its way from the solar system Krypton was in, so could others. We discovered that most of the rock pieces contained some lead, and that somehow the lead in these rocks blocked the effects of the Kryptonite. We named it that, since it was a meteorite, and so we'd have something to refer to it by. The Kryptonian word was too cumbersome to pronounce. I fashioned a container out of other rocks and Lois carried it as we flew back to Metropolis. We took it to STAR Labs for safekeeping and study. >>
Jerome had been aware that STAR Labs had been testing Kryptonite for years for Superman, trying to find an antidote for its adverse effects on him. As Superman was a known friend of the elder Kents, this was one of the few secrets the family knew of the Man of Steel. It was a standing rule if anyone in the family came into contact with the rock, they were to let Lois or Clark know immediately. They feared people would try to get to Superman through his friends' family. Jerome now knew the truth. Lois and Clark had probably feared what effects Kryptonite would have on their children since they were part Kryptonian. Over the years small pieces would be found with other meteorites, fortunately none as big as the one Lois and Clark had found that day, and as Superman discovered each piece in existence, and apprehended any criminals involved, it was taken to STAR Labs.
<< After that initial exposure to Kryptonite, I knew I needed to be prepared for any future exposure, and I couldn't very well go to a regular hospital. I couldn't take the chance that someone would recognize me. I needed some place more secure and private. Lois and I met Dr. Klein on that first visit to STAR Labs. From some of our earlier investigations we knew that would be the ideal place to study and keep safe the piece of Kryptonite we were able to gather from that site. I hoped there would be no more, but couldn't count on that. If one piece managed to find its way to Earth, surely others could, and I couldn't take a chance of my children going through what I did and possibly being hurt. I tried to keep a constant watch and gather all I could find to take to STAR Labs. If somehow a piece were to fall into the wrong hands … >>
<< In the next few months Lois and I had several other investigations where the expertise of someone at STAR Labs was needed. We usually met with Bernard Klein. I also visited there several times as Superman to see if he had been able to learn anything about the Kryptonite. Much to my delight, he informed me on one occasion that he was working on an antidote, so if it were to be used against me, he would be able to help me. >>
<< It was that initiative that convinced me I could trust this man, and as he knew more about my unique Kryptonian physiology than anyone else, I asked if he would be my personal physician. >>
"Superman, I'm flattered you would consider me. But I'm a researcher, not a clinician," Dr. Klein responded when Clark made his request.
"I realize that, Dr. Klein. But you know more about me, and what can harm me, than anyone else. And, I trust you."
Bernie was flattered by the words of a man he greatly admired. "Superman, I would be honored," he responded, extending his hand to seal the agreement.
<< We forged a quick friendship, and Dr. Klein has been invaluable to me. >>
<< He speculated that the Kryptonite, being from a galaxy with a red sun, adversely affected me only under the yellow sun of the Earth, the same yellow sun that gives me my powers. But, as I indicated before, we didn't want to take the risk of exposing me to Kryptonite for the operation. Not only because of the adverse effects it had on me, but that would also mean explaining to Dr. Klein why the operation was necessary. And while I trust my personal physician immensely, that is information I do not wish to share, with anyone. Fortunately, as the case may be, Lois's pregnancies weren't abnormal to the point that our secret came into play, though we both feel the difficulty with the second one may be directly related. Following Rose's birth, Lois and I discussed this in depth, and after much consideration we decided that Lois should have an IUD procedure as soon as she was able to, and while I may never again experience the joy of having my wife tell me she is pregnant with a child our love brought about, I feel very blessed to have the two wonderful children that have been given to our care. >>
CJ and Rose. Jerome thought about his grandfather and great aunt, and how fortunate they had been, and all the Kents since, to grow up in such a loving family. How had Clark been able to hide a secret of this magnitude from his own children? Surely, even in their normal line of work, their children would have been in danger from criminals out to exact revenge on the best investigative reporting team in town? The next entry was dated many years later.
<< We have been fortunate that by the time the children came along, the shift in attitudes had already begun. The criminal investigations Lois and I found ourselves involved in decreased significantly over the years, especially after the larger organizations of Luthor and the Churches were disbanded. Outside of Metropolis few people associated Lois with Superman, so there was little danger our children would be harmed due to this connection. Our greatest professional achievement, the Pulitzer Prize for Journalistic Achievement, was jointly earned for our series of articles on the contributions Superman was making in his efforts to preserve the Earth's natural resources for future generations. >>
<< It has been difficult at times keeping this secret from our children. When they were little, it seemed to be a necessity. Lois and I agreed not to tell them while they were young. This was too large of a secret for a child to carry, and we were unsure they would be able to keep it safe. As they grew, the need for Superman's services diminished and there just didn't seem to be a reason to tell them, especially when neither of them exhibited having inherited any of my powers. Lois and I speculated as to why this was the case. Could it have been that living under a yellow sun their entire lives, being half human, and never been exposed to the red sun of Krypton that the combination of these elements prevented them from developing powers? We may never have the answer. And this wasn't something I could talk to Dr. Klein about. Both children have been more human since conception, so a regular doctor for Lois and them had been fine. And I didn't want Dr. Klein to know Superman had a wife and children if it wasn't necessary. As much as I trusted him, I still didn't want to take the chance of Superman being connected to any type of normal life. >>
<< Early on, when my services were needed more frequently, I often experienced guilt and regret over those I couldn't save. Lois was, and still is, my comfort through those times. Just to come home to her and have her listen to my experiences, or, the times when she senses that I just need to be held, sustains me through it all. And she often reminds me that I can't be everywhere, that what I *can* do is enough, and it is the idea of Superman as a hero that people have to look up to and emulate. It took many years, but the ideals that Superman represents have become a standard for the people of Earth. I can rest in the knowledge that Lois and I have made this a better place for our children. >>
<< And by the time our grandchildren came along, this shift in attitude was even more profound. They were able to grow up in a more peaceful world where everyone lived in harmony and nature was respected, and our great grandchildren will enjoy this even more. >>
Jerome reflected over what he had just read. Lois and Clark as journalists, and Clark as Superman, brought about the utopia that Jerome and the rest of the world now took for granted. He was determined now that the contributions of his ancestors would not go unheralded. He decided at that moment that he would continue to pursue his degree in history so he could teach future generations and write about what he now knew to be the truth. He owed that to his mentors.
The next page was blank, but contained a folded sheet of paper that Jerome hadn't noticed before. He gently pulled it out of the journal, then turned to the next page. It was the entry dated the day Clark had died; the entry Jerome had read when he first discovered the journal. Laying the book on the bed beside him, he opened the note. It was a letter dated the same day as the last entry.
*CJ and Rose, my dear children,
I hope when you discover this journal and learn of its contents that you will be able to forgive your mother and I for what we felt we needed to do in keeping our secret from you. It was a difficult decision to make, and keep from you, all these years, and one, at times, I regret. When you were younger we felt you just weren't ready for something of this magnitude, and we couldn't take the chance you would accidentally let it slip. The fewer people who knew, we felt, the safer you all would be. And as you grew and showed no signs of inheriting my Kryptonian side, it became more and more difficult to tell you. As time passed I wanted to focus more of my energies on my family, a family I thought I'd never have. I felt blessed that Lois and I could work together as a reporting team and make a difference in this world by exposing crime and corruption, and as we, along with Superman, made progress in this area, we were also able to refocus our efforts on making this world a better place for our family. And eventually, just the idea that Superman was around was enough to deter crime and give hope. I also resolved to let local authorities handle all but the worst of natural and man-made disasters so I would not miss out on important events in my family's lives. I hope you understand. And it is my desire that you can help the rest of the family, especially Jerome, to accept and embrace a heritage I hope you all can be proud of. Always remember that I love you.
Now that Jerome knew the legacy his great grandparents had left for their children, and their world, he was determined to continue the Utopia that Clark and Lois had begun. But first he needed to talk to his family. This would be quite a shock to them, but he knew them well enough to know that they would feel the same way he did.
Dawn c July 2000
Old Fashioned Man
Written and Performed by Olivia Newton-John on
Olivia Down Under 1988
Final note: In Tempus Fugitive, Tempus mentions studying Kent history in Utopia. Here's one explanation of how that Utopia came about. :)