By Vikster <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: June 2002
Summary: Tempus thinks of a cunning plan to ensure that Clark Kent will never get together with Lois Lane: let Lois find out a certain secret very early in their relationship.
In this story I wanted to see what would happen if the Lois Lane from the beginning of the first season switched places with one from the future. I hope you enjoy it.
I'd like to thank everyone who helped me finishing the story.
Tempus looked down at the small machine in his hands and smiled. This time his plan couldn't fail. And the most genius thing about it was that all he had to do was press the button in his hands and then watch as Lois and Clark destroy their own future for him, and destroy Utopia at the same time.
"By sending Lois Lane from 1993 thirty-one years into her future she will find out just how super her new partner really is. And as she hasn't had time to become friends with either Clark Kent or Superman she will undoubtedly write the story when I send her back, destroying his life and her future at the same time. And if for some reason she decides not to she will go after Superman using Clark Kent to achieve that. But Clark Kent will never date Lois Lane that early on in their relationship as his insecurities will make him believe she only wants him for his powers, when she, helped by me, will let it slip that she knows. So they will never get together and never have a child. And now that that no-good writer is out of the way nobody can stop it."
Tempus pushed the button and sat back. 'Now all I have to do is let nature take its course,' he thought while laughing at the simplicity and sheer brilliance of his plan.
Lois Lane Kent strolled along the road humming to herself. She loved the quiet days she and Clark were once again able to enjoy now that both her children had left home. Of course they had been gone two years now but after 23 years of raising kids she still appreciated just being able to go for a walk in the park or go out to dinner without constantly worrying about where they were and what time they were staying out until. Clark, unfortunately, had to fly off to answer a cry for help but apart from that the day couldn't have been better and she was planning to make sure the night was just as memorable, as soon as both she and her husband arrived home. Unfortunately they both still had work to do after taking most of the day off and so she had arranged to meet Clark back at the Planet.
Lois suddenly felt dizzy. Before she knew what was going on she felt herself fall to the ground and everything went black.
Lois Lane was fuming. She had just come back from an interview with a man who claimed to have knowledge about Superman. It turned out he was just a nutcase looking for attention and she had wasted her afternoon and got her shoes covered in mud in the process. What made it worse was that Perry had just spent the money she wanted for her raise to hire a rookie all the way from Nowheresville. How dare that guy come here with his smug, superior attitude with all the credentials of a schoolboy and expect to get a job. And the worst thing was that he *had* gotten the job *and* Perry had made her partner up with him. How dare he say things like 'you like to be on top.' 'Well when I'm being compared to someone like you it's not too difficult to come out on top, is it?' she thought. Oooh, she just wanted to wring that attitude right out of him and if he kept on making remarks like that one she might just do it.
Suddenly Lois felt dizzy. She tried to grab something to hold on to, but finding nothing, she collapsed onto the ground.
Lois got up and looked at her watch. She realised she had only been out a couple of minutes and as she felt fine now she saw no reason to worry why she had just passed out. After all, she still had to find this Superman and get an interview and Perry certainly wouldn't allow her to continue if he thought she wasn't well. No, she would just forget this ever happened.
Lois got up and looked around. After realising she had only passed out for a few minutes she decided to head home and tell her husband and maybe go to the doctor's. She really didn't want anything to spoil this evening but living with Clark for all these years had taught her that she had to take care of herself, especially as she wasn't so young anymore.
Lois headed back to the Planet. She realised that it was gone 5 o'clock but she didn't have anything else to do so she thought she could do some more research on alien sightings.
When she entered the newsroom she headed straight to her desk. "Hey, what took you so long?" She turned around to see Clark standing beside her. Well, she thought, he finally got a haircut. At least now he doesn't scream out florescent green when anyone looks at him. Come to think about it, he does look a lot more mature than he did before. Lois put the thought to the back of her mind.
"I had a little problem," she said, turning back to her desk, hoping Clark would get the message and leave her alone as she had no wish to talk to him.
"Lois, what's wrong, what happened?" His voice was getting really aggravating. Why did he have to act so concerned? She hated people treating her like a china doll just because she was a woman. She had been in more scraps in the last year than most people had in a lifetime and she didn't need to be treated like she was going to break.
"Look Clark, I have no wish to discuss this, okay?"
"Okay." He turned away. 'Oh he is just so frustrating,' she thought. 'Why does he have to look so offended, so innocent with those puppy dog eyes of his? Can't he take a hint?'
"Clark." He turned back around, hope shining from his eyes. "Look I'm sorry I snapped at you but I've just had a really frustrating day." She thought that would make him feel better but instead he looked like she had just stabbed him.
"Well, Lois," he said and she could see he was just an inch from falling apart. She just didn't understand some people; she had been kind to him, something she found very hard to do, and he was even more miserable than before. "I'm very sorry you didn't enjoy yourself. You should have said something." 'Said something to whom?' she thought but before she could voice it he was gone.
Half an hour later Lois was in a much better mood. She switched off her computer and gathered her things to leave. As Clark saw this he also packed up and since they had left their Jeep at home he thought he would fly them home as it was easier than trying to get a taxi. He looked around to tell his son, CJ, they would see him tomorrow. He was unable to find him, an odd occurrence, he thought, because since CJ had taken a full time job at the Planet he often worked late to cover up for all the disappearances he made while off performing super feats. Reaching out with his mind he contacted his son asking where he was. Clark was very embarrassed when he learnt that the reason CJ wasn't there was that he was spending an evening with his girlfriend and did not want to be interrupted by anyone, especially his father.
Lois pushed the button for the elevator and waited for it to open. As she stepped inside someone came in and stood next to her. "Are you ready to go, Lois?" Lois turned to see Clark standing there waiting beside her.
"Not that's any of your business, but I am going home, yes."
"Lois, will you please tell me what's going on. Why are you angry with me?"
"Clark, I'm not angry with you; I'm just tired." By this time they had arrived downstairs and were heading for the door. "Look, you don't have to follow me everywhere."
"Well I just thought that since the jeep is at home I could take you the quick way," Clark said as he looked up at the sky.
Lois looked at Clark like he had gone crazy. She knew her jeep was at home as she had left it there this morning, as she really didn't want to leave it in Suicide Slum all afternoon, so she had just taken a taxi. But what was he talking about? What quicker way to get home was there? And how did he know where she lived?
Lois had known there was something odd about Clark Kent from the day she had met him and she wanted to find out what it was. She decided the best way to do this would be to humour him and see what he said. "Okay, I guess that would be good." He smiled at her and led her around the side of the building towards the alley. Lois really didn't like where this was leading. She didn't usually let men take her into dark alleyways. But she didn't think Clark Kent would be the type of guy to do something like that, but she had only known him a few days so couldn't be sure. Besides she had very good martial arts training and he wouldn't be a problem. They stepped into the alley but instead of doing any of the things Lois had imagined, Clark stepped away from her and started spinning really, really fast and suddenly in his place stood Superman. Before Lois could scream or do anything, she felt herself being whisked away into the air in Clark's/Superman's arms.
Lois stayed silent throughout the two-minute journey, too astonished to utter a single word. They landed in the living room of a cosy looking brownstone and as soon as Clark/Superman had put her down a young woman came up to her and with a cheery "Hi Mom" she kissed her.
Clark smiled at this girl and exclaimed "Jessie, what are you doing here?" While she was exclaiming that she just flew here to collect a book and was about to head back to the university, neither of them noticed Lois falling to the ground until it was too late to stop her.
Lois stepped off the elevator and looked towards her husband. She saw Clark sitting at his desk. Funny, she thought, he looked different somehow. But those thoughts disappeared as she thought of the surprise she was going to give him tonight. Lois was so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she completely forgot about her little fall, as she felt fine.
She walked behind Clark's desk and peered over his shoulder. Clark stopped breathing as he felt Lois' soft, warm breath, her lips only inches away from his. He briefly wondered what she was doing but decided that he wasn't going to do or say anything that would end this moment. As he was dreaming about kissing her, he felt her lips caress his neck. He stiffened. 'What is she doing?' he thought. He jumped up from his chair and turned to face her. "Clark, what's the matter?"
Clark looked at her in disbelief. For the whole time he had been there, she had been mean, patronising and stuck-up towards him. Now all of a sudden she was kissing his neck. Not that he wouldn't love her to do that, but he would like to be given a little warning about her sudden change in character, and why she was kissing him? And how did she know he even wanted to be kissed? She didn't even ask permission. "What do you mean, what's the matter? You suddenly start kissing me and you want to know why I am a bit astonished?"
"Yes!" Lois said now a bit angry. Why was Clark being so cold to her and why didn't he want her to kiss him? "I do want to know. I mean it's not as if everyone here hasn't seen it a thousand times and after lunch I just couldn't help myself."
Clark was now a bit angry himself. He didn't think Lois was the type of woman to play around when she was supposed to be working as she had always criticised Cat when she did similar things. But he had not known her for very long and so couldn't jump to that kind of character assessment. And to think she had the nerve to think that he would willingly kiss her without an explanation or even without her asking; that he was so desperate or was so attracted to her that he would do anything she asked. Clark ignored the part of his brain that pointed out he probably would fly her to the moon if she asked. Instead he continued his anger-induced thought babble.
Did she think he would willingly become just another notch in her belt so to speak and in front of the entire newsroom? And what happened to all the "don't fall for me, farmboy" nonsense. Yesterday the idea of kissing him repulsed her. And what was she talking about, "after lunch?" Had she had a little fun during lunch and now wanted him to kiss her because she was in the mood, and because her 'lunch pal' wasn't here, he was a good enough substitute.
"Lois, maybe we should talk in the Conference Room," he said, and without waiting to see if she would follow, headed that way. It did occur to him that this was quite ironic. Yesterday it would have been him wanting to kiss her and she would do the same sort of thing he was doing: not waiting for her to answer the suggestion before storming away and expecting her to follow him. Now their roles were being reversed, but unlike him who would have followed her, he wasn't so sure she would do the same.
He turned around and saw Lois heading his way and was glad he had been wrong. As he looked at her, he saw she had such a sad, confused expression on her face; nothing like the ones she normally wore. All his anger melted away. It wasn't his fault but he loved her and could never stay mad at her for very long. If it were other circumstances he would have found it amusing that he had only known her a few days and he already knew how long he could stay mad at her. But as it was he found nothing to smile about.
Lois woke up on a couch a few minutes later with Clark, now in normal clothes, the young woman and a new face all standing over her looking very concerned. This new one was a man who looked just like the Clark she knew only slightly younger. She stared in astonishment as they talked to her, the younger two calling her mom, and Clark calling her honey. She didn't know what was going on and what trick was being played but she would not allow Clark Kent to call her honey, even if he was Superman, and she certainly wasn't the mother of two children who were almost the same age as her. She jumped up onto her feet and demanded to know what was going on here. The others stared at her and then Clark quickly ushered them to the other side of the room where they had a small discussion. Lois was growing increasingly angry with all of this but before she could go over to confront them Clark came over to her. "Lois, can I see your watch, please?"
Lois grabbed her wrist defensively. "What do you want with my watch? Are you going to rob me as well?"
Clark smiled a bittersweet smile and gently took the watch from her hand and pushed a few buttons. The others came over as he did that. "Well?" said the boy Clark had called CJ a few minutes ago.
"I was right," Clark told them. "Time travel."
"What! Do you expect me to believe that I've somehow been transported back through time and I now am married to Clark Kent, that rookie reporter that just started and I have two kids? And to top it off Clark Kent is *Superman*? Sorry, I'm not that gullible."
"So," said the girl, "should we go see Dr. Klein? He may be able to help us."
"I guess that's all we can do," said Clark.
"Excuse me, but was I just talking to thin air just now?"
"Lois we know that this is a lot to take in but a couple of days ago from your perspective a man showed up who can fly and lift a space shuttle into orbit. Is time travel so impossible to imagine compared to that?"
"Okay," she conceded, "but you didn't bother to mention that *you're* that flying man. Why did you keep it a secret?"
"Lois, if you could what would be the first thing you would do now that you know? You'd go straight to the Planet and publish it. Well, I'm afraid you can't do that here."
"Because I'm not going to let you change the past even more than it already has been changed. If you printed it in *this* time do you know what the first thing that would happen is?"
"Hold on. You keep referring to 'this time'. I still haven't said I believe you yet."
"I was humouring you when I let you take me down that alley and look where that got me."
Clark smiled at that but didn't comment. Instead he continued. "If you printed it, it would be *your* life that would be in danger, not mine or the kids."
"Why is that?"
"We're invulnerable. You're not and considering you're my wife here people may try to use you to get to Superman. And don't you think the public will think it a bit odd that you would ruin your life and your family's life, because they don't know it's not their Lois Lane."
"Fine; as I'm humouring you, I wouldn't print it just yet, but let's say I have travelled back in time, how do I get back to my time?"
"We'll have to go see Dr Klein." Anticipating her next question he continued. "He's a scientist and the world's expert on Superman and his family."
"So are you telling me that after thirty years no-one has found out? I find that very hard to believe."
Clark smiled as he recognised the reporter in Lois kick into action. "Actually, lots of people have found out."
"Then why doesn't everyone know?"
"Because either they have kept the secret, like my wife -" He smiled slightly at Lois' disapproving look. " — or they were proved wrong when they tried to tell people, like Diane Stride."
"The anchor woman for Top Copy?"
"Same one. Or they're dead like Mazik."
"A guy who found a diary written by an evil time traveller called Tempus. It told him all about my life. In an attempt to blackmail me he kidnapped my parents, made me kill you and almost killed me."
"Sorry what do you mean 'made you kill me'?"
"Look, Lois, I've already told you way too much already, so can we just go see Dr Klein and get my wife back?"
"You really love her, don't you?"
Clark already missed his wife and decided the best way to get this Lois to help was to show her just how much he really did love his wife and why it was imperative that they find a way to correct this problem.
"I love Lois more than anything in the world. Before I met her I was an outsider because of my heritage. I travelled the globe looking for a place to fit in. I knew from the moment I saw her that we were destined to be together. I finally found my home, my other half. Being with Lois is like nothing I could have ever imagined. I don't need to die to find heaven; I see it every time I look into my wife's eyes."
Lois looked at Clark, amazed at the sincerity she heard in his voice and the depth of his emotions. She didn't think it was possible for a man to love her, the way Clark was claiming to. She knew love didn't exist, that it was just fiction and that there was always a price to pay, always a hidden agenda with men. But here was Clark claiming he felt these things even after thirty years of marriage. No one could be that happy, her parents had proven that. How many couples do you see still holding hands or still kissing after all that time? None. She knew that but some part of her wished that what Clark said was true, that it was possible for her to find true love like in her romance novels. All the rational parts of her brain were telling her to ignore what he said, that it was a total lie but a small part of her willed her to listen, to believe that her future could be this good. It was that part she chose to listen to.
Clark closed the conference door behind them. "Do you mind telling me what that was all about?"
"Clark, what's the matter with you?" Lois was so upset that Clark found something wrong about her kissing her she that she failed to see him properly. If she had she would have noticed that her husband looked a lot more mature than the man in front of her and had shorter hair. "If you really find me that repulsive I don't think this is the place to be talking about it." By now Lois had tears glistening in her eyes. Clark couldn't stand to see her so upset and started to doubt that this was just some trick or sick joke or any of the other number of the wild possibilities that he had imagined.
"Look, Lois I'm sorry."
"No, if that's the way you feel about it," she said interrupting him and completely ignoring what he was saying, "then we should discuss it calmly and rationally like adults. I'll tell the chief we're talking the rest of the day off; it doesn't matter, there isn't much time left anyway. You can fly us home — no, wait a second, you probably don't want me in your arms, I'll take a taxi, you can fly and I'll meet you at home."
With that said, she burst out of the Conference Room, not wanting Clark to see her completely fall apart. She didn't know what was wrong. They had just spent the most amazing afternoon together and then ten minutes later he didn't even want to touch her. Something must have happened. A person didn't just stop liking their wife after almost thirty years of blissful marriage. Maybe he had an encounter with red kryptonite; maybe he was a clone; maybe aliens had taken over his brain. She knew she was thinking irrationally and grasping at straws but at the state she was in, she didn't know what else to do.
Clark stared after her, unable to move. He couldn't believe what she had just said. She had made it very clear that she knew he was Superman and didn't seem like she was about to expose him. Instead she seemed distraught that he didn't kiss her. 'Well, maybe knowing she knew about Superman explained her infatuation with him,' he thought bitterly, but that still didn't explain why she had just assumed he would kiss her and fly with her. He had given her no indication that he felt anything for her except for her 'don't fall for me farmboy' which he didn't deny. Was she so stuck up and self assured that she thought he would instantly fall for her now that she was interested in him because he was Superman? He guessed that it wasn't impossible but that still didn't sound like the woman he was getting to know. She was very self-assured when it came to her work but when it came to her love life she seemed very reluctant and he got the impression she felt herself to be unlovable.
And why did she keep mentioning home? He hadn't moved into his apartment yet and she didn't know whether he knew how to find her apartment but maybe she figured that as Superman he would for some reason automatically know. The fact that he had flown up to her apartment to check up on her and just to have a chance to see her again when she was really herself and wasn't putting on her tough act, made no difference as she didn't know and wouldn't know if he had anything to do about it. And there was still the question as to what happened at lunch that Clark needed the answer to.
Realising he had been standing there for too long, he walked to the door just in time to see Lois come out of the Ladies room and head for the elevators. Waiting until she had gone, he went to the stairwell and headed for the roof, spinning into the suit en route.
Lois and Clark were sitting in Dr Klein's office at Star Labs. After running dozens of tests Dr Klein finally thought he had figured out the problem but was still unsure how to fix it. "It appears that someone has found a way to create a hole in the space-time continuum and was able to localise that hole to a specific point and in this case a specific person: Lois," Bernard Klein was telling them.
"Okay so how do we fix the problem?"
"I'm afraid that's a little more complicated that finding the cause. You, see not only have both Loises been pulled across time but they will have undoubtedly caused alterations to the time line. For your wife we can only hope she will have realised the problem and tried to keep things the way they were. But of course there is no guarantee that she will have realised before it was too late. After all she is married to Clark Kent, but she is now in a time just after she met you and from what you have told me over the years she wasn't exactly that friendly towards him. If she fails to realise the problem she will undoubtedly treat Clark differently from what this Lois would and so may change how Clark sees her and their relationship. And she also knows about Superman and may let it slip to Clark about either that and or their marriage.
"The problem is even worse here. Because although not a lot will change in this time the Lois Lane of the past now knows a lot things she shouldn't do, mainly Superman's identity. This of course along with the fact she knows about the marriage will change how she treats Clark Kent when she returns."
"Bernard, we know all this. Why does it make it more complicated after all the damage has already been done? And if my Lois had changed things wouldn't we remember the changes?"
"Not necessarily. I believe it would take a small amount of time for the changes to be registered in the future. The changes have to work their way through the time line and it has been over thirty years."
"I don't know. Not long at all. But that's not the main problem. We have to find a way to send this Lois back and bring our Lois forward while undoing the damage they may have caused and erasing this Lois's memory of the future."
"Hey, why do I have to have my memory erased and she doesn't?" Lois, who had remained quiet during all of this, decided it was time to remind them that the person they were speaking about was standing right next to them.
"Ms Lane, we know this must be confusing and frustrating for you to feel helpless and have to stand back while someone else figures it out, but we really must be patient. As for the memory change, it wouldn't matter for our Lois as she has already lived in that time. You on the other hand have a long time to wait until you reach this time.
"Now I have a plan but I'm not so sure if it will work. Clark, do you remember the time machine you made from H G Wells' design?"
"The writer? Isn't he dead?"
"No, Clark. I don't what kind of a woman your wife is and frankly I don't really want to know how soft I've become since I got married. This is exactly what happened to my mother and I swore it wouldn't happen to me but it seems it has and I don't want to think about that right now. But unlike your wife, this Lois won't let you push her around and I want to know what's going on."
Even though Clark usually loved to hear Lois go off on a tangent he really didn't have time for it. This was not his Lois and the more he was reminded about their differences the more he felt the loss of his wife and the fear that it may not be possible to get her back. He might have put on a calm face for the others but deep down these thoughts terrified him and he knew it wasn't this Lois's fault but his mind needed someone to blame and he couldn't help but see her as the reason he didn't have his wife.
Clark forced these unfair thoughts away before addressing her. "Lois, I do not push my wife around and she has not gone soft. Yes, she has calmed down over the years and married life changed both of us, but she is still the Lois Lane I see before me, the one I fell in love with. She has all the energy, fire and passion that are present inside of you and she is *nothing* like her mother. Now, I'm sorry, but if I have to explain everything that has happened over the last thirty years we will be here all day and there will be less chance of you getting back. So will you please let Bernard tell us this and then I will answer all of your questions?"
Lois stared at Clark. She would never have believed the farmboy she she'd seen this morning could have said something like that will such determination and strength in his voice.
'I guess being married to me has changed him, that and being Superman,' she thought. "OK, you were saying."
"Yes; now, Clark, you remember the design?"
"Yes, but we don't have the design as we went back to a time before I made them."
"Yes, I know, but years ago after you told me I was intrigued and set about designing my own machine. It's taken me thirty years but I have only come up with a very basic design and have never set about building it. I'm not even sure that it will work. I was hoping to create it myself but with the urgency of this situation I can see I need your help."
"What help could I be, Bernard? I don't know much about science. I don't see what possible help I could be when you can't do it."
"Clark, you were the one who built the second time machine. You must remember something."
"Bernard, that was thirty years ago. Even my memory isn't that good. But I guess I could give it a go."
Clark followed her to a moderate sized brownstone where she parked her jeep, unlocked the door and went inside. Clark had never set foot in here and he knew Lois didn't live here. He wondered if this was a trick and she had some government agent or something inside ready to 'dissect him like a frog'. He knew that couldn't happen but his father's warnings were too hard to ignore. He only detected Lois's heartbeat so knew that couldn't be it but he still didn't know what was going on, and whose house this was and why Lois had the key, not to mention what happened in the newsroom and how she knew he was Superman. The mystery was getting weirder and more complicated but he reasoned the only way to get some answers would be to confront Lois and get her to answer them.
A second later he heard Lois scream and without hesitation dived through the door to make sure she was safe.
When he entered he found Lois, unharmed, staring at the room in disbelief. "Lois, what's wrong and what's this all about?"
"Clark, look. All our stuff, it's gone. It's like someone else lives here."
"Lois, someone else does live here. Please tell me what this is all about. And what's with all our stuff? *We* don't have stuff. You have stuff, I have stuff but not we don't." Clark said these words all the time wishing it wasn't true, but didn't think now was the time to tell Lois that, especially since he had refused to kiss her.
"Clark, what are you talking about? It's you who should be telling me what's going on and what happened in the newsroom."
"Lois, you were the one who wanted me to come here."
"Well, where else would we discuss the fact that after thirty years of marriage my husband finds it repulsive to touch me?"
"*What*! Lois, something very strange is going on. How could you have been married for thirty years? You're only twenty- seven years old. And I'm not your husband. We've only known each other a couple of days."
Lois stared at Clark in disbelief. She quickly hurried to turn the TV on, not even caring that this wasn't even her house. That confirmed her suspicions. "Time travel," she said more to herself that to Clark.
"I'm sorry, did you just say time travel?"
'Well I guess I'll have to tell him everything and hope the time line isn't damaged too much,' Lois thought. If she had only realized and not been so swept up in her lunchtime activities she would have noticed. 'I mean the newsroom does look similar but a lot has changed not to mention the Planet was refurbished after it was destroyed.'
"Yes, I did."
"But that's not possible."
"Clark, you're an alien from outer space. Why is the concept that the woman standing in front of you is really your wife and has been for thirty years?"
Clark gasped at her casual acceptance and use of his secret but didn't say anything. Now that he looked at her she did look more mature, with a few more lines, but she had not aged that much at all. "The years have been good for you."
Lois looked at Clark. Of all the things he could have possibly said, that was not one of the ones she would have thought of. 'Well,' she thought, 'if he can take this so well the least I can do is acknowledge it and act normal. "Well, it's partly to do with having a super husband and I've also been taking some new age cream. It works really well."
"Why would you do that? You would never look old to me."
Lois looked at Clark and realized why he was acting like this. He hadn't fully accepted what he was being told and this was his way of dealing with it. "Clark, I know this is a lot to digest, but I suggest we go to Star Labs and see Bernard."
"Oh right, you haven't met him yet. He's Superman's doctor. He takes care of you and the kids."
"The *kids*? We have children?"
"Well, of course we have children." Lois looked at the shocked expression on his face. Well, of course he was shocked. She was in full Mad Dog Lane mode at this time and she knew she thought the idea of getting married and having children was absurd. She was completely focused on her work and wouldn't even give 'the hack from Nowheresville' the time of day. It only seemed reasonable that that 'hack' would find the idea of Mad Dog Lane married to him with kids a little hard to believe.
"Look, I know when we first met I was young and so wrapped up in my work I forgot that there was more to life than being a reporter. Over the next two years somehow you become my friend, you get underneath all my defences I put up to shield myself and become my friend. Clark, you taught me how to live again and did what, at this time, I would have thought impossible; you taught me how to love and trust a man. And it wasn't always easy, believe me. We put each other and ourselves through hell before we finally got to say I do. But I wouldn't have traded a minute of it if it meant our future would be different." Lois thought about what she had just said and realised that their future could be changed and never be the same because of this, but decided against mentioning it.
"Now, this isn't our house so I suggest we go to Star Labs." With that said she headed straight for the door, tossing him the keys as she went, leaving him to lock up.
Looking at Dr Klein's design and helping to improve it had been easier than Clark had anticipated. It seemed he had all but done it himself and once Clark saw it his old memories quickly returned and together they were able to build the machine.
"Now how are we going to go about putting the plan into action?" Dr Klein asked.
"Well I suppose the best way would be for me to go find my wife and then take this Lois back to her time before this ever happened."
"Clark, that's ridiculous. What if something goes wrong? The world needs Superman."
"I realise that, but I have to go. I have to find Lois. Now if we send this Lois back to a time before this happened then she will remember nothing and by bringing my Lois back first the alterations in the time line will be erased?" When Dr. Klein had nodded Clark climbed into the machine and set it for the alley behind the Daily Planet at three in the afternoon on the day Lois left so she would have had enough time to get back to the Planet.
Lois growled in frustration. There was no Dr. Bernard Klein working at Star Labs. Obviously he hadn't started working here until later on. Now they were stuck. She couldn't trust anyone else to do the job and didn't think anyone else was capable. She was in the wrong time and without a way to get back. She was enjoying getting to know Clark when he was so young but she missed her husband terribly and wanted him back. She also realised that she might never see her children again and that thought made her even more depressed.
Lois and Clark arrived at the Planet and Lois went to her desk and saw a phone message. She stared at it in disbelief. It was a message from Lex Luthor asking whether she was free for dinner. "Oh God," she whispered and sunk into her chair. They had finally gotten rid of him and now she was stuck in a time where he wanted to court her. Lois didn't think she could bear to set eyes on the man and the pain she experienced all those years ago came rushing back.
Meanwhile, Clark had hidden the time machine and had changed into Superman. He shot straight up into the air, not wanting to be seen in case this Superman was performing a rescue somewhere else. From far up he scanned the Planet but found no sign of them. Then he checked his old apartment and then hers and lastly he even tried their house. Still nothing. He then decided that it was likely that she had headed over to Star Labs so he flew there but still found no sign of her.
Clark now began to get worried. What if she hadn't come to this time? What if she had hit her head when she arrived and had amnesia? What if she had gone to another dimension? Lots of thoughts clouded Clark's brain but he realised the best way to find her would be to keep his rational mind open and think clearly. He realised that he might simply have missed them as he was checking so the best thing to do was go back to the Planet.
Suddenly he felt a great shock come over Lois. After all the years he had used his telepathic powers with his children he had become an expert and could now feel strong emotions from the humans he deeply cared for. He knew straight away that she was at the Planet and so rushed over there.
He saw her at her desk, staring at a piece of paper in shock. He also noticed that Clark was standing by her. He couldn't go in there as himself, and he didn't want to as Superman so as not to draw attention to him or Lois. He decided the best way was to contact Clark and hope he already knew or could at least accept the concept of time travel.
Clark heard Lois gasp and saw her looking at a piece of paper. He went over there and quickly read what the message said. He wondered why a message from Luthor would upset her so much as just a couple of days ago at the ball she seemed very comfortable dancing in his arms. But, Clark reminded himself, this wasn't his Lois; this was a Lois from the future and maybe in the future Luthor's evil ways would become known. He was about to try to comfort her or at least ask what was wrong, but before he could a voice called his name.
<Clark, can you hear me?>
"Lois, did you say something?"
Lois stopped thinking about Luthor and what would happen if she had to see him and looked at Clark. "No, why?"
<Clark, it wasn't Lois speaking.>
"Who are you?"
<Could you speak in your head so as not to draw attention?>
<Please, Clark, just think about what you want to say and I'll hear you.>
Clark didn't know who this mysterious voice was who sounded a lot like him and he was very curious about where it came from. 'Maybe it's an ultrasonic sound that only I can hear,' he thought 'but that doesn't explain how he could hear into the room or my thoughts.'
<I'm not speaking to you on a high frequency; I'm telepathic.>
<Who are you?>
<Look, I don't have time, could you just come up to the rooftop and bring Lois?>
Clark didn't like the sound of going up there especially with Lois but he knew he was invulnerable and could protect her.
"Clark, what's the matter?"
"Well ,you kind of fazed out for a minute."
"Sorry. Lois, could you come with me? I need to go up to the roof."
Knowing he could trust her as she already knew his secret and was married to his future self, he decided to just tell her the truth. "Well, a voice that sounded like me contacted me and say he was telepathic."
Before Clark could say anything else, Lois was already running towards the stairs. In his haste to protect her from whoever was on the roof he completely forgot to x-ray it and find out who it was.
He caught up with Lois and opened the door to the roof so he could go first. What he saw made him stop cold. There, standing only a few feet away, was a man who looked exactly like him.
"Clark!" Clark turned round at hearing Lois scream his name but he realised she wasn't calling to him. He saw Lois run up to this other Clark and jump into his arms.
He watched as they hugged and kissed and laughed and realised this was the Clark from the future who had come to get his wife. He felt a pang of jealousy, directed towards his future self for having everything he had always dreamed of. But he reminded himself that all the pain he would experience would be worth it if this was his future.
After a short talk and a promise that the Lois from this time would be returned and nobody from this time would remember anything, Lois and Clark went back to their time.
Clark and Lois came into their townhouse laughing together. "The look on her face when you went through her purse and found a note that says 'Clark is Superman.' She looked like she wanted to kill you."
"Well, I know myself and I know what I would have done, and *have* done. I'm glad she did finally realise it was better to let the future be a mystery and let it play out the way it should have been, or in their case, will be."
Clark smiled at his wife and, quickly checking no one was in the house, whisked the two of the them upstairs to continue their lunchtime activities.
Meanwhile, Tempus was looking at the timeline and screaming in frustration. He looked up at his wall and saw a picture of Lois and Superman with a number of dart holes in it. "Next time, I promise I will get you next time."