Who Says It's Never Too Late?

By Wendy Richards and Tank Wilson

Rated: PG

Submitted: August 2000

Summary: Lois's reaction to Clark's planned departure in the episode "Whine, Whine, Whine" has unexpected consequences. A second collaboration from these two writers.

By Wendy Richards [Wendy@kingsmeadowcr.freeserve.co.uk] and Tank Wilson [TankW1@aol.com]

Authors' Notes

Wendy: After I requested the right to provide a happy ending to Tank's Just Another Revelation Story, Tank posted a public challenge on the boards: when was I going to post a half-story which he could finish? Well, I felt that was throwing down the gauntlet in no uncertain terms. So the first half of this story was born. I then disappeared off on holiday for two weeks, leaving it entirely up to my evil co-conspirator to rescue our favourite would-be couple from the mess I'd left them in.

Tank: I have this unwarranted reputation for being cruel to my characters, when in all truth I'm really just a big softy. If you want to see someone who is cruel to their characters, well, can you say For the Greater Good? As you will see in this little collaboration, Wendy went out of her way to inflict pain and suffering. So it was up to me to be the one to come up with the happy ending. Was I successful, or did Wendy's evil machinations prove to be too much to handle? That judgement, gentle readers, I leave to you.

Comments more than welcome at either or both of the addresses above! All characters are copyright their respective rights-holders, and no infringement is intended by their use in this story.

Minor editorial comment: for any eagle-eyed readers who notice spelling differences between Tank's part and Wendy's, that's because he writes in US English and she writes in UK English. And since there was (intentionally) no collaboration in the writing of this story, we have decided not to harmonise our spellings.


Clark surveyed the mess which was in reality his apartment and, for about the twentieth time since his parents had left, wondered whether he was doing the right thing. He suspected that Martha and Jonathan thought he should have stayed, gone to Lois and told her everything, and then left her to make her choice. But he just hadn't wanted to do that.

For one thing, Lois had already made her choice. She'd told him herself, earlier that day, in court; well, okay, she'd been talking to Superman, but the message had made sense to Clark too. She'd made her choice. She'd finally come to a decision between the three men who seemed to mean something to her. And she'd told Superman that he was out of the picture, except as a friend.

She hadn't told Clark anything, but… well, he and Lois weren't really speaking much at the moment. It hadn't been for want of trying; he'd desperately needed to talk to her last night, desperately wanted to try to break through all the misunderstandings and confusion and just *tell* her how he felt about her. But her phone line had been engaged, and when, in frustration, he'd flown over to her apartment, he'd seen her sitting outside on the steps of the building.

With Dan Scardino.

They'd been sitting close together, heads almost touching, bodies pressed against each other's, indicating an intimacy which was all too clear. He'd felt the knife twist in his stomach at that moment; a blade of pure Kryptonite slicing through his guts. Lois and Dan.

He hadn't been able to stay more than a few moments; even the Arctic Sea hadn't been cold enough to take his mind off that sight. And even the worry about the court-case today hadn't helped him forget the image of Lois and Dan together.

Was this how it was going to be in the future? he'd asked himself as he'd flown slowly home afterwards. Lois would marry Scardino, and he would be expected to carry on working with her, good old Clark, her best friend and partner.

Well, it just wasn't going to be like that! he'd decided angrily as he'd landed on his balcony. He just couldn't stick around and watch Lois become Mrs Daniel Scardino, have to work with her every day and pretend that he wasn't hopelessly in love with her. He just couldn't do it.

As to why he couldn't go and tell her everything, it was just too late for that. If she'd given up Superman for Scardino, why would telling her that he, Clark, was Superman and that in both guises he was in love with her make any difference? Besides, there was still that nagging thought that he'd wanted her to love *him,* Clark — not the Super- powers, not the heroics, not the flying and other flashy activities. Just Clark. And if he told her he was Superman, and she then told him she loved him, how would he ever know whether she really loved *him*?

So this was the only option, really, he considered as he surveyed the packing cases which littered every available surface. It was time to move on; and why he'd ever thought he could make Metropolis his home was now a mystery to him. There was nothing here for him now. Lois was not his and never would be. The Planet… well, it was a great place to work, but without Lois it would be just another newspaper. And he couldn't carry on working there anyway, not now that she'd chosen Scardino.

He could be Superman anywhere; he certainly didn't need to live in Metropolis for Superman to cover Metropolis as part of his guardianship. He could do that from Smallville, or another big city if he wanted to start again somewhere else… or he could do as he'd suggested to his father — in one of his more defeatist moods — and build himself a lair somewhere, becoming Superman full-time.

Either way, he would never see Lois again.

Resuming packing, he caught sight of a flat rectangular object on the top of one of the packing cases. It was a framed photograph; he picked it up and gazed at it for a long moment. They'd been so happy that night, he and Lois. Okay, he'd won the Kerth Award she'd coveted, but she'd been genuinely delighted for him. She'd been there as his date; and okay, she wasn't really his date, and she'd gone on to flirt with Superman later that night, but for a couple of hours she'd been his.

Memories… it was going to be so hard to forget her.

He swallowed, choking back the hot tears which threatened to overwhelm him. This was doing him no good at all.

A determined burst of Super-speed got the remaining boxes packed, and a few minutes later he straightened to look at the results. All ready to be collected, once he organised shipment to Smallville. But before he did that, he thought, he could really do with some fresh air.

Turning on his heel, he walked out of the apartment, not bothering to lock the door behind him.


Lois rapped sharply on the door of Clark's apartment. Now that she was finally here and the moment of truth was almost upon her, she found that she was even more nervous than she'd expected. It had been quite a day, with one thing and another; not only had Superman been exonerated in that stupid law-suit, but she had dumped Dan and told Superman that she finally recognised that they could only be friends.

Now, there was only Clark left. It had taken her long enough, but she'd finally admitted that he was what she wanted — *who* she wanted. Clark. Okay, Superman was exciting — he took her breath away. But she'd known for a long time that she was whistling into the wind where he was concerned.

And in the meantime, Clark had always been there; loyal, supportive, kind, generous, good-humoured, genuinely caring… loving. She thought he loved her — well, she hoped he did; and she had finally acknowledged what she felt for him. She loved him, and she needed to tell him that.

It would have been a lot easier, of course, if he hadn't kept running off just as soon as things started to get intimate, or any time she started to talk about commitment or where their relationship was going. That was so weird — after all, Clark had been the one to ask her out in the first place, and he'd put pressure on her to go ahead with their date when she'd been skittish. After she'd slammed the door in his face, he'd been the one to tell her not to let it happen again.

And he'd kissed her; well, they'd kissed each other, and it had been… wonderful…

But he kept running off.

She sighed heavily and acknowledged that it wasn't all Clark's fault. She hadn't helped matters by going out with Dan Scardino, and whether she'd done it because she really liked Dan or because she was just trying to make Clark jealous was… a question she didn't really like to answer. Clark *had* been jealous: he'd told her that. Her seeing Dan bothered him. No, it was worse: it was obvious that he hated it. He'd been very hurt when she'd gone off with Dan during their date at the carnival. But, darn it, he'd been the one to run off in the first place!

No, that wasn't why she was here, she reminded herself sternly. She wasn't looking for recriminations; what she needed — what they both needed — was an open, honest and frank discussion of their feelings for each other. Someone had to step up and say the scary words; that was what Dr Friskin had told her. And the psychiatrist was right: someone had to do it, and it looked like that person was Lois.

So here she was, waiting to say those scary words, and… where was Clark? He hadn't answered her knock, and it was beginning to look like he wasn't in. Her heart sank. She'd got herself motivated to come over and have this discussion, and she really didn't want to put it off.

She tried the door; it was unlocked. "When will you learn that Metropolis is not Smallville?" she sighed in frustrated amusement as she entered the apartment, closing the door behind her.

Then she stopped dead and simply stared at the sight which met her eyes.

At least two dozen packing cases dotted the living area. *Full* packing cases. And as her gaze swept the apartment, she noticed that none of Clark's personal possessions were on display: the ornaments and keepsakes which had been on the cabinet in the seating area, the crockery in the kitchen… it was all gone.

Packed. In boxes. Ready for removal.

So… either Clark was moving apartment — which he hadn't mentioned to her — or, more likely, he was leaving town. And he'd apparently forgotten to mention that to her, too.

She couldn't believe it. After a *lot* of soul-searching, she'd finally dug up the courage to come and tell Clark how she felt about him, taking the risk that he might not feel the same way… and he was about to skip town without even telling her? Well, okay, he might have intended to come and say goodbye, but it was a bit late at that stage! She was supposed to be his partner, his best friend… even, she thought, his girlfriend. And yet he was walking out on them without even discussing it with her.

All her good intentions disappeared, leaving her deeply hurt and furiously angry.


His walk hadn't done much for his mood, Clark realised as he climbed the steps up to his apartment again half an hour later. Not that it mattered. Nothing had changed, and he was still leaving. He had a few more things to do tonight, including writing a couple of letters, and then, he thought, he'd fly to Smallville. His folks would be back there by the time he arrived, and he could stay the night before returning to supervise the removal of his belongings the next day.

Pushing his door open, he suddenly realised that something was different. There was the scent of a familiar fragrance in the apartment… a *Lois* fragrance. And there she was, sitting forlornly on top of one of the packing cases.

This wasn't how he'd intended her to find out, he thought guiltily. <Oh? And how did you mean her to find out?> his conscience pointed out. He'd been going to write her a letter. <Oh, sure — a great way to say goodbye to your best friend and the woman you *kissed*!>

"Lois." He spoke softly, sadly, and she swung around to face him; clearly she hadn't heard him come in.

"Clark — what the heck's going on?" she demanded. "You're leaving, aren't you? And you never even told me…"

"Lois, I'm sorry," he said heavily. "It was kind of a spur of the moment decision, and… and I was going to tell you…"

"Oh sure! Right after you'd made the call to the removal people," she retorted, anger flashing in her eyes. "That's okay, Clark Kent — now I know exactly what I mean to you! Zip!"

She got to her feet and stalked towards him; he stared at her in confusion. "Lois — what are you talking about? Don't you know how much…" He stopped himself before he let slip his feelings for her; she loved Dan Scardino, and so there was no point humiliating himself.

She marched straight past him and got to the door. Suddenly, he realised that he didn't want their relationship to end like this, and he hurried after her. One hand on the door-frame, preventing her opening it, he gazed down at her, seeing the unshed tears shimmering in her eyes and the bitter anger in her face.

"Lois," he choked out. "I… I didn't intend it to be like this. But I just couldn't…" He broke off, the lump in his throat making it impossible to continue.

She stared back at him, shaking her head slowly as if she didn't know what to say. Eventually, she whispered, "I came here to tell you that I gave up Superman… and Dan and I — "

"I don't want to hear about you and Dan!" he yelled at her, hurt beyond bearing.

But she stared at him in puzzlement. "Clark…" she began, but then stopped as her gaze fell over the packing cases again. "You're leaving. It's… it doesn't matter. It's over."

As he stared at her in confusion, she grabbed hold of the doorhandle and managed to make her escape before he could react.

Clark stood there for a moment, unmoving, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Had she been telling him that their relationship, whatever it had been, was over? But he already knew that. He'd figured it out for himself — that was why he was leaving, for heaven's sake!

But why was she so upset that he was going? It seemed to be more than just the fact that she hadn't told him.

Was there the faintest possibility that he'd got it all wrong?

He didn't know. And he wasn't really sure how he could have; but that didn't matter. He was about to leave Metropolis for good — as Clark Kent, anyway. This was probably the last time he'd see Lois, unless he saved her life as Superman some time. He didn't want his last memory of her to be the sight of her fleeing from his apartment in tears.

He had to go after her. Maybe they could talk, if they could get beyond her betrayal of what they could have had and his failure to tell her he was leaving.

Resolutely he ran down the outside steps of his building, searching the road for her. Her Jeep was still there, and it had only been a couple of seconds. She couldn't have gone far.

She hadn't. Instinct more than sight found her; she was a few yards up the road, running. He began to run after her, calling her name. But she ignored him; if anything, his pursuit seemed to spur her on with greater determination. Suddenly she veered out into the road…

…and he stared in horror at the car which was directly behind her, the driver blaring the horn.

Uncaring whether anyone could see him, he shifted to Super-speed. It was a race against time, and he flew faster than he'd ever managed in his life before.

It was still too late. He could hear the dull thud, less than a second after Lois's crazy dash into the road, and under a second before he reached her.

He was conscious of blood, that sickening sound of impact, Lois's white face, her crumpled body, the shocked expression of the driver; and his own reaction, the ice-cold hand of dread which was closing about his heart, the punishing blow to his gut which was preventing him breathing, thinking, speaking, doing *anything* except stare at Lois, lying bloodied on the ground…

He fell to his knees beside her, tears streaming from his eyes.


Clark felt, rather than heard, the driver coming up behind him. Instinctively he knew that the man was agitated and scared, but Clark didn't have any time for him.

"Hey, mister, she just ran out in front of me. I had no chance to stop."

Clark threw him a quick glare over his shoulder. "Call 911."

The hapless driver stammered a bit. "I ain't got no phone in my car."

"Then find one!" Clark spit out the words savagely. He needed the man to go away.

As soon as the fellow turned his back and began to hurry down the street toward the nearest pay phone, Clark carefully picked Lois up and disappeared into the darkness of the moonless night sky. He didn't even bother to take the time to change into the suit.

Landing in the shadows next to Metropolis General, Clark quickly carried his charge through the emergency room doors. In seconds the hospital staff mobilized and Lois was taken from Clark's arms and placed on a gurney as a doctor began an immediate examination. He shot question after question regarding the accident, at Clark. Clark answered him mechanically as his focus stayed on Lois.

On the way to the hospital Clark had done his own x-ray assessment of Lois' injuries. She had several cuts and bruises. A couple of her ribs were cracked and her left hand was broken. Those injuries didn't cause Clark excessive concern, they might be painful but they would heal. It was the head trauma that he'd seen that worried him. She must have hit the pavement very hard because she had a definite skull fracture, but Clark hadn't been able to ascertain the extent of the damage. Not only was he not a doctor, but there had been so much blood.

Clark was jolted out of his reverie by the motion of the gurney. Lois was being wheeled out of the receiving area. Clark made to follow along when he was intercepted by an officious nurse who led him over to the admitting desk, where she grilled Clark for whatever pertinent information he could provide. It was hard for him to let her out of his sight but he was still rational enough to know that he couldn't do anything else for her now. He took a breath as he tried to concentrate on helping the admitting nurse by giving her what information he could.


Clark paced the waiting area like a caged tiger. It had been several hours since he had last seen Lois. She had looked so frail, and helpless, as they wheeled her away. She had been so still! Clark clenched his fists tightly at his side as he fought to push negative thoughts out of his brain. She was going to be all right, she had to be!

Clark sat down heavily in one of the uncomfortable chairs provided. Apparently the hospital didn't think it was necessary to provide a comfortable place to sit since most of the people stuck in the waiting area tended to pace. Clark stared down at his feet, fighting to keep the tears in check.

He hadn't called Perry because it was late and Clark wanted to know something more definite before he woke the chief up. He didn't know how to get hold of Lois' parents, and Clark wasn't even sure what state Lucy was in now. He'd only made one call. It had galled him to do it, but under the current circumstances he felt he had to.

In a perverse sort of way it bothered Clark that he knew Dan's number but not Lois' folks'. Of course, Clark still remembered it from the time when they, sort of, worked together on the Resurrection story. Dan hadn't been home, but Clark left a cryptic message stating that Lois had been in an accident and was in the hospital. Upon reflection, Clark wondered if it meant anything that he forgot to mention which hospital. He shrugged off the thought. Dan was a resourceful fellow, he'd find the right hospital… eventually.

A sudden change in the air pressure in the room caused Clark to look up and see the very weary looking doctor enter. Clark was on his feet instantly, and in front of the doctor in another heartbeat.

"Mr. Kent?" the tired doctor asked. "You are the one that brought in Ms. Lane?"

Clark's heart threatened to pound its way out of his chest. "Yes, doctor, how is she? Will she be all right?" It worried Clark that the doctor wouldn't meet his eyes.

"It's too soon to tell. We had to take her into emergency surgery to relieve pressure that was building in her brain." The doctor scrubbed his hand through his sparse hair. "Aside from the her other injuries which will heal in time, she suffered a pretty severe head trauma. We were able to relieve the pressure, and the tissue damage looks minimal."

"But…" Clark grabbed the doctor's arm. "Is she — will she — be okay!"

"It's just too soon to know. She has slipped into a coma, which isn't unusual in a case like this. The next twenty-four hours are critical. All we can do right now is watch and wait." The doctor gave Clark a wan smile. "We've done all we can, the rest is up to her."

"Can I see her?"

The doctor paused, as if considering it. "Sure," he said, and he led Clark out into the hallway.


Clark sat at Lois' bedside, holding her hand as he stared into her composed but unresponsive face. She was so pale, and frail looking, like a fine porcelain doll that had been broken. Her head was wrapped in surgical bandages and most of the rest of her body seemed to disappear into the bed due to the monochromatic nature of the sheets and blanket. If it weren't for the slow steady rhythm of her breathing, and the slight movement of her chest that he could focus on, Clark would have lost it completely. As it was, hot tears again streamed down his face.

"Oh Lois, I'm so sorry." He didn't feel at all awkward about talking to her. He'd read somewhere that you were supposed to talk to coma patients. "I'm here, Lois, you are going to be okay, do you hear me? You are going to be okay." He shook his head, and wiped at his face with his free hand.

"I'm not completely sure what you were doing at my place tonight, but please believe me, I didn't mean for you to find out like that. I was going to tell you." Clark had to stop to swallow a sob, and his guilt over the fact that he had intended to write her a letter. "It's just that I didn't think I could stay around any longer. I didn't think I could stand to see you and Dan together. I admit that it was selfish of me, to be willing to throw away our friendship just because you chose Dan over me, but it's not like we had been getting along all that well lately either." Clark rubbed his thumb up and down the back of Lois' hand. "The simple truth is, Lois, I just love you too much to be able to stand back and see you with another man. There was a time when I thought that being your friend would be enough. If that's all that you could offer, then I would be satisfied with that, but that's no longer true." Clark allowed a sour chuckle to escape.

"Of course, I know I didn't help matters any with all my disappearing acts. If I'd only had the guts to tell you the truth. Tell you why, so that you'd know that I wasn't running out on you." Tears began to roll down Clark's cheeks again. "I guess I let my pride rule my head, and my heart. I wanted you to love me for me, Clark, not the flashy suit, or the incredible powers. I wanted you to know, and love Clark Kent before you knew he was also Superman." Clark gently kissed Lois' hand. "Was that too much to ask?" Apparently so, he thought silently.

"I really thought for awhile that you were coming around. That your feelings for your friend and partner were more than that of just friends. But I was still afraid, and I wound up just complicating things. Dan was there for you when I wasn't, I can't hate him for that." But, god help me, I do, Clark thought. "Once you told me you realized that you couldn't love Superman, and just wanted to be friends, that there was someone else who needed you, I knew then that I had lost you. But I also knew that I wasn't strong enough to stay around and watch you and Dan together. My love for you will never fade, but the pain of seeing you with him… " Clark had to stop because his throat was constricted by another uncontrollable sob. He took a moment to gather himself again.

"Lois, it's imperative that you get better. Even if you aren't going to be a part of my life, you *are* a part of me. I don't think I could go on if I knew you were gone. I can live with the fact that you have chosen Dan, if that will make you happy. As long as there is Lois Lane in the world, I think I can find the strength to go on, but we can't leave things the way they are. I need to explain myself to you, make you understand why I did what I did. I need to make you see that it was never you, it was always about my mistakes and my failings. Once the air is cleared, then I can go, and leave you to make a new life with the man you love." Tears flowed freely now, cascading from his cheeks to stain his shirt front.

Suddenly Clark's heartfelt confessions were interrupted by someone bursting into the room. He was tall, with an unruly mop of dark hair, and under normal circumstances, most would consider him a good-looking fellow. Right now he was a mess. His clothes were disheveled, as if he'd thrown them on in a hurry, and his face had an almost haunted look to it.

"Kent, I just got your message! How is she?" Daniel Scardino came up alongside Clark.

Clark kissed Lois' hand and placed it gently on her chest. He rose slowly and faced Scardino. Dan's sharply indrawn breath was enough of a clue to tell Clark how he must look.

Clark guided Dan into the bedside chair that he had recently occupied. "Take care of her." He didn't notice the startled look on Dan's face as Clark turned to face the sleeping beauty who was the love of his life. "Goodbye, Lois, please get well."

Clark slowly walked away but couldn't quite force himself to leave. At the doorway he turned toward Scardino. "I'll be home, please let me know when the doctors know something. I have to know that she will be all right." Before the bewildered government agent could respond, Clark had gone.


Lois felt light-headed. Like when you had been bent over for a while and suddenly stood up straight. She rubbed at her eyes, everything was a bit blurry, like looking through a very sheer curtain. She was confused, her surroundings seemed wrong somehow. It wasn't until she looked down that it struck her. She was floating!

She was clearly several feet above the floor looking down on some poor person in a bed in what was obviously a hospital room. Abruptly, it all came rushing back. She had been hit by a car, she didn't feel anything but she knew she had been hurt bad. Another look down at the occupant of the bed and it was horribly clear.

Oh my god, that's me! I look terrible! Lois tried to get closer but for some reason she didn't seem to be able to move about. It was like she was frozen in this one spot, hovering over the bed. Am I dead? she wondered, but rejected that notion when she noticed the fact that her supine body was definitely breathing.

This is weird. Maybe I'm having some sort of strange dream or something. Lois' attention was drawn to a pair of men just entering the room. One was dressed in typical hospital greens, probably her doctor or something, the other was… Clark!

She watched as the doctor left Clark there and he pulled a chair up close to the bed. He picked up her hand and just stared at her face for the longest time. Her heart ached to see him. His face was red and blotchy, and tears were falling from his eyes. Oh Clark! After a couple of deep breaths he began to speak.

Lois focused her hearing on the tortured words of her best friend and partner. On the man she had finally admitted to herself that she loved, and had hoped had loved her in return. She smiled a sad smile at first when she heard him tell her that she was going to be okay. She could tell he was lying. He was saying it to hear it for himself. It was obvious that he was greatly affected by her injuries. She continued to listen to his words and became appalled by what she heard.

He thinks I'm in love with Dan? That I chose Dan over him? Lois wanted to scream but strangely she had no voice. The big idiot! Why didn't he say something? Lois suddenly flashed back to pieces of their earlier conversation, when she had surprised him at his place. She should have realized something was wrong when Clark got so angry at the mention of Dan's name. Of course, she had reacted in kind, gotten angry herself and stormed out of his apartment. He had followed her and in a typically brilliant move Lois had tried to run away by darting out into the street and getting mowed down by some unfortunate motorist. Shaking her head, she turned her attention back to what Clark was saying.

He loved her! He was saying that he loved her, but what was that other stuff? That he wished he had told her? That he wasn't running off on her, but he was too scared to tell her the truth? What truth? Lois frowned as she concentrated more. He wanted her to love him as Clark? Of course she loved him as Clark?" Lois figured that she was actually some sort of dream persona but she suddenly found it hard to breathe. What was that he had said? That he wanted her love as Clark and not as… Superman! Clark was Superman!

A thousand things flashed through Lois' mind but she came to a stop when one particular conversation came into play. Her discussion with Superman earlier in the day, at the courthouse. She had told him that she couldn't love him, that she only wanted to be friends. She had told him that there was someone else who needed her. In retrospect his answer to her had seemed a little funny. Ohmigod, he thought I meant Dan. No wonder things got all mixed up. Clark was going to leave town because he thought I was in love with Dan.

There was a little voice in the back of her mind that was telling Lois that Clark was just like all the other men in her life. He was keeping secrets from her. They were partners and best friends yet he hadn't told her that he was Superman. Lois firmly crushed the tiny voice.

Listening to this gentle, caring man pour his heart out to her comatose form, basically telling her that he would step aside for her happiness even if it was tearing him up inside. No, whatever his reasons were for not telling her his secret, it wasn't because he didn't love her. It was only too plain that he did.

Besides, it was too big a situation to deal with now. That was for later, after she got better, and she would get better, she had decided. The important thing now is to find a way to convince this lunkhead that *he* is the one I love, not Dan.

Lois saw Clark react to someone coming into the room. When she focused her attention there she saw that Dan had come. He looked a bit frazzled. Lois was touched by the look of concern for her on his face as he asked Clark about her.

Lois watched in horror as Clark stood and allowed Dan his seat by her bedside. She felt an icy hand squeeze her heart as she heard Clark's pained 'goodbye' and watched as he left the room. No, Clark, don't go!

Lois understood that Clark thought he was leaving her with the man she loved, but he was wrong. It was Clark that she wanted, that she needed. Clark, come back, please come back. Clark!


Dan Scardino watched in dismay as the delicate form of the woman he loved began to twitch as if in the throes of a bad dream. The minor detail, that Lois didn't reciprocate his love, didn't stop him from loving her. His dismay turned to alarm as Lois began to thrash around in the bed.

Dan was just about to call out to someone for help when abruptly Lois sat straight up in the bed.

"Clark!" Her voice was relatively weak but there was no mistaking the anguish behind her cry.

It took Lois several moments to regain awareness of herself and her surroundings. It was the same room she had seen in her dream vision. She noticed a thunderstruck Scardino sitting on the chair next to her bed. It was all true, it had to have been!

She reached out her hand and grabbed Dan's unresisting one, and gave it a squeeze to focus his attention. "Clark? He was here?" Dan just nodded, completely bewildered by the turn of events. "Get him for me, Dan, please! I have to see him."

"He left here about twenty minutes ago," Dan answered woodenly. "I guess he went home."

Lois' gaze held so much intensity that there was never any doubt that Dan would do as Lois asked. "Find him for me! Bring him back here, please!"

Dan nearly fell over the chair as he hurried to comply with Lois' wishes. He stopped briefly as he reached the doorway. "I'll let the doctor know you are awake." He left.


Clark sat on his couch staring at the collection of packed moving boxes, but not really seeing them. He had thought about calling Perry, or his folks, but for some reason he couldn't bring himself to even pick up the phone, let alone dial it. He was content to be alone wallowing in his grief and his fear. That was why the pounding at his front door was at first ignored.

When it became obvious that the disturbance wasn't going to go away Clark gave his front door a peek with his X-ray vision. It was Scardino!

Clark quickly got up and opened his front door. He didn't speak, but the confusion on his face was more than enough to convey his puzzlement.

Scardino just shrugged. "Lois is awake, and she wants you, *now*."


Clark was restrained by Scardino's presence, so he had to get back over to the hospital by conventional means. He met the doctor in the hallway just outside her room. He grabbed the man's arms.

"How is she?"

The doctor favored Clark with a tired, but sincere, smile. "She is going to be all right. She needs some time to heal, but she will be fine."

"Thank you." Clark didn't waste any more time in the hallway.

Dan stayed out in the hallway as Clark threw himself through the open doorway and into Lois' room. She was sitting up in the bed, staring out the window. She must have become aware that someone had entered because she turned toward the door.


Clark was at her side in an instant. He cupped her cheek in the palm of his hand. "Lois, I'm so glad you are going to be all right. I was so afraid that… "

"Shut up."

Clark was momentarily taken aback by Lois' words but he didn't resist when she reached up and with her finger under his chin drew his face down to hers. Their lips met in a kiss that started out a bit tentative but quickly escalated into one of heat and passion.

They reluctantly broke and Lois smiled a sly half smile up at Clark. "You, my friend, have been laboring under a misconception."

Clark grinned back at her. "It seems so."

Lois traced his lips with her finger. "We need to have some serious conversation — soon." Lois licked her lips. "But for now, all you need to know is that I love you."

"And I love you, Lois."

"Promise me you aren't going to leave?"

Clark's grin got even wider. "Oh, I think I can guarantee that now."

Clark leaned back down and captured Lois' lips again.

Dan had looked into Lois' room just in time to catch Lois and Clark's second kiss. Shrugging, and with a resigned smile on his face, Dan stepped back into the hallway and headed for the elevator that would lead him to the front entrance. He figured he'd call up his director tomorrow and ask for a transfer to D.C. There was no longer any reason to stay around Metropolis.