By Carol M <email@example.com>
Submitted: December 2001
Summary: Lois has known Clark for almost a year when she finds out something completely unexpected about him. The secret, however, dies with her that night.
Clark stepped out of the shower, toweled dry at super-speed and then spun into one of his nicer suits for the evening. He was just putting his glasses on when there was a familiar knock at the door.
Irrelevant thoughts of how a knock just like any other could be familiar ran through his head. It wasn't that the knock sounded any different or anything, but somehow, he always just knew. It was Lois and she was upset.
An upset Lois was nothing new for Clark. In fact, it was a rather common occurrence. He sighed. He really didn't have time to deal with a long drawn out scene. He had plans for the evening and as much as he enjoyed spending time with Lois, even if she was in tears… <Even?> a part of him asked. <Especially,> it corrected. It wasn't that he enjoyed seeing her in tears, but rather that on those rare occasions he could take her into his arms and hold her close and imagine what it would be like to be able to do that whenever he wanted.
All those things ran through his head as he walked up the steps to his front door. She just walked in as he opened it. No hello, no greeting of any kind. She went down the steps without her usual bounce and sat on the couch. She curled up in one corner and let the tears start to fall.
Clark closed the door and followed her. He sat close, but not too close. "Lois, what is it?"
It was several minutes before she was composed enough to answer him. "It's my sister."
"Lucy?" Clark was puzzled. The sisters talked often enough, but Lucy rarely upset Lois. It was usually her mother or father who did that.
Lois nodded. "I just got off the phone with her."
"Did she say something to upset you?"
Lois nodded again.
"That doesn't sound like Lucy. What was it?"
"She's getting married."
"That's good, isn't it?"
Lois stared off into space. "It's good for her, but Clark, *I'm* the big sister. I'm the one who's supposed to get married first."
Clark understood her feelings. Neither one of them were fresh out of high school, or even college, anymore. Most people their age were married, or close to it. He could count on one hand the number of people he graduated high school with that weren't married. Granted, those in Smallville tended to marry younger than people in Metropolis, but still. Most of his college friends were married too. He didn't have a younger brother or sister to beat him down the aisle, but the concept was there. His mom had told him the other night that his cousin, Tom, was getting married. Tom was three years younger than him, but the two had been close growing up. And Clark did have one advantage over Lois. He knew who he wanted to marry.
Lois stood and started to pace around the room. "Do you know when the last time I went out on a *real* date was? It's been forever. And the last time I went out on a date with someone I'd like to see again? Ages. The last time I met someone who might be potential mate material? Besides Superman, I mean. Never. I don't think I've ever met anyone I really thought I could marry. When I get married, I want a man who isn't afraid to speak his mind and isn't intimidated by a woman who will do the same thing. Someone who isn't bothered by a wife who has a successful career and a life outside the marriage. Are there guys like that even around, Clark?" She stopped and looked at him. "Lucy said once that I don't go on dates, I go on interviews and she was right. When was the last time I went out with a guy because I wanted to have fun and I could relax and be comfortable around him? What guy do I know that I can just be myself around? I mean, who — besides you — could I cry in front of and know that he wouldn't think less of me or care that my mascara is running or a zillion other things?"
A thought began to nibble at the edge of her consciousness, but she determinedly pushed it aside.
"Face it, Clark. I'm going to be an old maid." She plopped back down on the couch. "I already am."
Clark had listened to her monologue without trying to interrupt. He wanted so badly to take her in his arms and hold her close. He wanted to wipe away the tears that were streaming down her face and tell her that he wanted her. That she could be as independent as she wanted and he would still love her and not ever be threatened by her or her career. Heck, he'd even stay home with the kids eventually, if that could be arranged. But he knew that to say such things would not be a good idea, at least not yet. He held out such hope that someday she would love him, the way that he'd loved her over the last year, but it didn't seem that today was that day.
Lois reached over towards him and took hold of the red handkerchief folded neatly in the breast pocket of his suit jacket. She whipped her hand up and then down, expecting to hold the article in her hand when she was done, but as she looked at it, she realized that it was incredibly bigger than she thought, bigger than it should have been.
Clark didn't immediately realize what she was doing and by the time he did it was too late. She sat there with one corner of his cape in her hand and her eyes staring as it disappeared into the pocket. He reached out with one hand to cover hers, but she brushed it away.
"Good grief, Clark, what are you? A magician?"
"Uh, let me get you a Kleenex, Lois." He had always wanted to tell her who he was, but this wasn't the time or the place.
"No, now I want to see just how long this is." And with that, she proceeded to pull on the cloth. She pulled and pulled and pulled some more. "You know, Clark, usually when magicians have something like this, it's lots of little handkerchiefs in lots of different colors tied together." It was then that she noticed there was at least one other color besides red. A patch of gold had just emerged. "Clark, if I didn't know better, I'd say this looks like Superman's cape." Just then, she finished pulling whatever it was out of his pocket. She whipped it open with a flourish and turned to Clark in confusion. "It's one of Superman's capes. Clark…" She stopped when she saw the look on his face and in his eyes. There was something going on here. Something she couldn't quite put her finger on.
Clark's mouth opened and shut several times before there came a knock on the door. "Uh, Lois," he finally managed to get out. "That's probably my folks. We have reservations at La Mirabelle in half an hour." He stood to answer the door when her voice stopped him.
"Clark, I know you're adopted, but you've never told me where your birth parents are from."
He didn't turn to look at her. "Why would it matter, Lois?"
"They don't happen to be from Krypton, do they?"
Clark turned to stare at her, his eyes wide behind his glasses. Before he could answer, the door opened just a bit.
"Clark, are you in here?" Martha pushed the door open to discover her son standing in the middle of the living room and Lois sitting on the couch with one of his capes in her hand. There was a surprised look on her face. "Clark, you told her?"
"Yes, Clark, did you tell me?"
Clark shot an angry glance at Martha who had the good grace to look apologetic. "No, I didn't tell you anything, except that I'm going out to dinner with my parents. Lois, you know Superman leaves his extra suits here." He really didn't want to reveal his identity to her here and now. He wanted to go out to dinner with his parents and tell her some other time when it was just the two of them and they could talk.
Lois just looked at him for a moment. "No," she said slowly. "There's something more going on here. I just can't quite put my finger on it." She looked at Martha. "What did you mean by that?"
Martha never was a good liar. "Um, that Clark told you Superman keeps his suits here?"
Lois shook her head. "No. You thought that he had told me something else, something that surprised you." She looked at the cape that she still held and stood up. She turned it over in her hands until she held it from the top. To her surprise there were two wide black straps that would be used to hold it on to Superman's shoulders — she had always thought that it attached to the suit with Velcro or something. She walked slowly towards Clark.
He tried to move away from her.
"Stay still, Clark. Don't try to run from me. Not this time."
She stood in front of him and swung the cape around behind him. She settled it around his shoulders and looked at him closely.
He tried to take it off and dismiss whatever it was that was going through her mind. "Lois, I don't know what you're up to, but we've got to get going. We have reservations."
She gave him the sternest look she could muster. "Clark, don't move. If you leave now, I'll never speak to you again."
Clark looked helplessly at his parents.
"Take them off."
"What are you talking about, Lois?"
"Take off the glasses."
"Why do you think I wear glasses, Lois? Most people wear them because they can't see anything without them. What am I…"
"But you're not most people, are you? Take them off, Clark."
Clark looked at his parents. Jonathan had just shut the door and shrugged slightly. He wasn't going to be happy if their secret was revealed, even to Lois who could be trusted.
Clark sighed and then reached up and took off his glasses.
"You never answered my question."
Clark tried to play dumb. "What question?"
"Don't mess with me, Kent. Are your birth parents from Krypton?"
Clark took a deep breath and then nodded slowly.
"That means that you're… you're…" She couldn't quite get the words out. Lois stared at his chest. In her mind's eyes she could see the spandex covered chest of Superman and the bare chest of her partner that she had seen on a few occasions. She mentally dressed that chest in the blue spandex and they seemed to match. "You're Superman."
Clark nodded again. "Lois…"
"No. Don't talk to me now. I need to think about this. Go to dinner with your parents."
"I can't just leave you like this."
"You're not leaving. I am." And with that, she picked up her purse and walked out, murmuring apologies as she brushed past Martha and Jonathan.
They watched as she left and then Martha turned to her son. "Oh, Clark. I'm so sorry."
He sat dejectedly on the couch. "It's okay. I've been wanting to tell her anyway. I just hadn't planned on telling her quite like this."
"How did she get one of your capes anyway?"
Clark sighed. "I had folded it up to look like a handkerchief in my jacket pocket. She was crying, decided she wanted to use it, and that was that." He put his head in his hands and groaned. "What am I going to do?"
Martha sat next to him, while Jonathan continued to stand awkwardly on the other side of the room.
Lois wandered aimlessly around Metropolis, thinking. Could she live with the fact that Clark was Superman?
Could they remain friends?
Could they be more than friends?
Because if she was truly honest with herself, she wanted to be more than just friends. She looked up and realized that she was across from the Daily Planet. She crossed the street and was hit by a Daily Planet delivery truck. Superman arrived a few minutes later only to realize it was too late. He took off into the night and was never seen again.