Super Friends

By Sheila <>

Rated: PG- 13

Submitted: November, 2005

Summary: Clark has met Vicky's friend from nursing school and is in love at first sight. Will his "job" get in the way or will love win?

This is a little something that I decided to attempt. This story has an alternate beginning and a couple of other well known players participating. In the beginning there is a lot of detail surrounding the other characters, but Lois and Clark are in there.


Clark Kent had graduated from Midwestern University's Veterinarian school two years ago. It was here in Gotham City that he was doing his residency at Gotham Memorial Hospital for Animals.

Clark had wanted to do something in medicine but being in his 'Super" situation, he couldn't foresee being a physician and taking care of someone when his super senses kicked in and he would have to leave them. That just wouldn't fly. Almost as an answer to a silent prayer, one day as Clark was leaving his microbiology class, he noted an advertisement for vet school on the bulletin board.

Clark knew from the word at MU that enrollment was down and the school was really struggling to keep the program. The standards for admissions had not been lowered by any means and MU had one of the best programs in the country, but nevertheless, the school was struggling with keeping enrollment up in the vet school.

When Clark applied it was no surprise to the rest of the school that he got an acceptance almost immediately. He was well known and well liked at MU. He had played college football, running back, and this made him also very popular. Though Clark was popular in college he was humble and didn't seem to know how great he really was. Because he was handsome, dark-headed, olive- skinned and brown-eyed, stood at an erect six feet tall and definitely a gentleman in every sense of the word, the female population just adored him.

The day was over at GMH and Clark left to head home. He always walked home because it gave him a chance to clear his head, enjoy the sites of Gotham and suck in nature. It was also easier to make a quick exit to 'help' on a super feat. Help is what Clark did in the form of his alter ego, Superman, because Gotham had its own hero…Batman. From what Clark could tell, Batman had no super powers but did have the ability to out think just about anyone. The 'Caped Crusader' was what he was dubbed. Clark could never get close enough to try to figure out exactly who he was and Batman was never still enough for Clark to 'take a peek'. Clark was pretty certain that Batman didn't know his identity either.

Clark walked his normal seven block route to his apartment, on this bright spring day in April. About four blocks of Clark's walk was through a very dangerous and run down part of Gotham, but he was safe. The days were starting to last longer. The time would spring forward next weekend. He thought he would get home, take a shower and concoct one of his many creative dishes to eat. He would have to call his parents today. He hadn't talked to them all week. He would have to do that before it got too late. They were early to bed and early to rise. They were always up early to tend their farm in Smallville, Kansas, where Clark called home for seventeen years, before going off to college at MU, in Wichita.

Just as Clark was about midway through the rough part of the walk, he heard a moaning noise, an injured human. He looked to his right which was looking into an alley between two buildings and there he saw him. It was Batman lying on the ground, gasping and moaning. Clark hurried to his side and got on his knees.

"Batman, I'm Clark Kent. I'm going to get you help…"

"No, you've got to help me. I cannot risk it…" Batman started gasping for breath. "…if you could just make a phone call for me, my bu…someone will come for me…," Batman continued to gasp.

"What happened?"

"Thugs, tried to mug an old man…they beat me…four of them…teenagers…"

"You need to go to a hospital, Batman. I'm a veterinarian. I don't know what to do for you…" Clark started to plead as he searched Batman's wrist for the quality of his radial pulse. <Weak and thready…I have to get him help>

"No!" Batman yelled in a strangling voice. Then his head fell and he was not responsive.

Clark looked around. He didn't know what to do. He knew that he had to get him help, but he suddenly understood why Batman was so resistant to going to a hospital. His identity would certainly be revealed. His effect on criminals would be no more. Clark had to think fast.

A thought occurred to him, but it would entail revealing Batman's identity to himself. He knew how scary it could be to be exposed. He would have to do it and just assure Batman that his secret would always be safe with him. He had to find out who he was in order to try to help him. So without further ado, Clark did it…pulled back Batman's cowl. Clark gasped at the surprise but knew exactly where he needed to go. Clark got up, scanned the area and found it clear of onlookers. He stepped back and did his trademark spin. Where Clark Kent once stood, Superman now stood. He picked up Bruce Wayne and headed to his estate, by air.

When he arrived, Alfred answered the door. Alfred rushed when he saw who Superman was carrying.

"Oh my, Sir…" Alfred started with fear in his English voice. "What happened?"

"I…a friend of mine, Clark Kent, found him…" Superman responded, "…lying in an alley after some teenagers jumped him. He managed to tell Clark that much before he went unconscious. Sir…"

"Just call me Alfred, son."

"Okay…Alfred…he needs a doctor. I'm a…I have a friend…Clark said that he refused to go to a hospital because he didn't want his identity to be revealed. Maybe if I get Clark he could do something. You see Clark is a veterinarian…and…"

"Very well sir…but you see, Dr. Kent would have to be…privy to…" Alfred started.

"Alfred, Clark found him. He knows his identity, but I assure you, he'd never reveal it to anyone. He had to see who he was in order to get him home and not just drop him off to a hospital." Clark assured Alfred.

"Very well, Sir, do whatever you need to help Master Bruce," Alfred responded with concern for Bruce's well being.

After assuring Alfred that he would bring Clark Kent back shortly, Superman flew out of Wayne Manor.

Within five minutes, Clark Kent was at the door. When Alfred got to the door to summon him in, Clark yelled and waved. "Thanks, Superman."

"Dr. Kent, I presume…?"

"Yes, Sir…Clark, please…"

"I was informed that you know…uh…shall I say…"

"Yes, Sir, I found him." Clark assured Alfred.

"Master Clark, right this way. And I'm Alfred, not Sir," Alfred instructed Clark.

Clark just smiled at Alfred's Old English manners.

When Clark saw Bruce, he noticed that he actually looked worse. He had multiple bruises and deep cuts which continued to bleed more than Clark was comfortable with. His breathing was shallow, and his pulse was weak. It appeared that Bruce may have had some blood loss. He didn't have any obvious injuries to his head. The thick rubber of his cowl must have protected him. Clark had some suturing supplies with him and some low dose Morphine. He also had some IV fluids. He first asked Alfred to help him to get Bruce undressed and he could have better access. Alfred did as he was asked.

Clark started suturing cuts using local anaesthesia for the pain. The cuts seemed to have been made by a sharp weapon of some sort, like a knife or another sort of blade and not a fist. Clark sutured seven deep cuts and finally got the bleeding under control. But Bruce was pale. He needed some volume. Clark had the IV fluids but, Clark was not exactly practiced at giving humans IV fluids. He was thinking as he was suturing Bruce. Then a thought occurred to him.

"Alfred…there is a nurse who lives in my building. I need her help. Now she will think she's helping Bruce Wayne. She doesn't have to know anything else, since we got rid of the suit. Her name is Vicky. She can help with the IV stuff. With her help, we may be able to get Bruce better, quicker."

"Shall I summon her, Sir?"

"Wait, let me call her first. I have to find her number. Do you have a phone book?"

A couple of minutes later, Alfred returned with a Gotham phone book. "Here, Sir…"

"Let's see, Vicky…Victoria Vale…ah…here…I found it."

Clark called Vicky and asked for her help. When she agreed, Clark didn't go into detail, but told her that a car would pick her up shortly.

Twenty minutes later, Alfred returned to Wayne Manor with Vicky, a petite, hazel-eyed, brunette, who stood about 5'1" tall. She wore her hair in a ponytail, styled jeans and a tee shirt that displayed a caduceus and some nursing jargon. She was beautiful and feisty.

When Vicky saw Clark she went into confrontational mode. However, Clark wasn't intimidated.

"Clark Kent, what's going on? Do you know who this guy is…Bruce Wayne…the richest, most eligible bachelor in this country. Why am I here? " Vicki ranted.

"Vicky, calm down. Bruce is injured and refused to go to a hospital. He was attacked by some teenagers. He needed medical help and I've done what I know how but I needed a nurse to start him some IV fluids and help to watch him. You're the only nurse that I really communicate with often enough to know you will keep this under wraps…right?" Clark asked.

"Okay…Kent…right," Vicky confirmed.

"Now do your thing…"

Clark and Vicky took shifts to watch over Bruce, Clark at night and Vicky during the day. Through Alfred's stories, Clark found out how Bruce became the Batman. Clark was surprised to know that Bruce was only six years older than his 27 years, at 33. He had taken over his father Thomas Wayne's company, Wayne Enterprises, which made him a billionaire upon his parents' deaths. Rather than have Bruce become a ward of the state, Alfred had become his guardian and continued to raise Bruce to an adult and had been with him since.

Vicky studied Bruce the first couple of days she cared for him. She figured that he had to be about 6'3" and approximately 220 pounds. She noticed his fat free physique, his masculinity. She placed in memory his strong chiseled face and the dark hair that flopped over his forehead. He was clean shaven most of the time when she saw him on TV, but now had a shadow of black facial hair. His skin was slightly tanned and she noted his dark…brown eyes when she would open his lids to check his pupil reactions. He had big strong hands and a strong chest. His abdomen was sculptured perfectly and she noted a trail of black hair that disappeared under the waist band of his boxers. Then Vicky would realize what she was doing and then her cheeks would flush. She would then seek refuge at the window facing Gotham Bay.

When Vicky cared for Bruce, mostly during the day, Alfred busied himself mostly with chores. Alfred thought to himself, 'Just what Master Bruce needs…a woman in his life'.

When Vicky would leave in the evenings for Clark to take over, she would lay a soft kiss on Bruce's forehead and promise him that she would return the next day. When Clark would appear in Bruce's bedroom, Vicky would up and gather her things to leave just like parting from another work day. Clark nor Alfred missed the glow that seemed to just appear over Vicky shortly after she started to care for Bruce.

Bruce was getting better. His bruises were clearing up, the slight fever was gone and his wounds were healing. He wasn't requiring much pain medication at all now, a week later. He still wasn't completely awake, but stirred occasionally.

One of the nights that Clark sat with Bruce, his super hearing kicked in. Alfred had just approached the doorway to offer him dinner when he noted Clark's faraway look.

"Uh, Alfred…I…Vicky…" Clark started nervously.

"Don't you think you need to go and take care of that, Sir? After all, Batman is…shall we say…ill. Gotham needs at least one of you to carry on. Don't worry, I'll see to Master Bruce until you return," Alfred reassured Clark.

"But…but…how did you…" Clark stuttered.

"Oh, rest assured, Master Clark. Your secret is safe with me. Just be careful," Alfred instructed.

The next morning on Vicky's shift, as usual, she went to the ten foot windows and opened the blinds. Today there was a breeze blowing off Gotham Bay, so Vicky opened one of the windows to allow the breeze to blow in. When she turned to get back to Bruce's bedside, she was surprised to see his eyes open and staring at her.

While Vicky was tending the windows, Bruce opened his eyes. The room seemed blurry but soon came into focus. Bruce noticed a woman's back to him and quickly looked down at himself to see what guise he was in. He felt his head to find his cowl absent. He recognized his bedroom and as best as he could tell he was only wearing cotton boxers. Bruce was starting to remember bits and pieces of his attack. Then, she turned around and her startled look was the most beautiful thing Bruce had ever seen.

"Hi…Mr. Wayne…," Vicky started nervously. "I'm Vicky Vale…RN. I'm a friend of Clark Kent's…you know the veterinarian who found you. He's…"

"I'm Bruce…just Bruce," Bruce started in a hoarse baritone voice that just melted Vicky. "Where's Alfred?"

"Right here, Sir. Miss Vale and Dr. Kent have been taking care of you, seeing as you refused to go to the hospital," Alfred assured Bruce. I made you lunch Miss Vale and I'll go and fetch something for Master Bruce, too…"

"Vicky, Alfred. How many times do I have to tell you, just call me Vicky…"

"Very well madam," was Alfred's reply. Bruce giggled to himself.

"Alfred actually, if Miss Vale would help me to the shower, I'll have something afterwards," Bruce stated with a questioning look towards Vicky as he struggled to gain his balance.

"Vicky…Mr. Wayne…"

"Okay…Vicky…point taken," Bruce responded as he smiled at Vicky.

"Okay, Bruce, I'll help you up to the shower."

Vicky helped Bruce to the shower and laid out his shaving supplies. She took the time that he was in the shower to make his bed and lay out some clean clothes for him. Of course Alfred would do it, but Vicky wanted to. As she performed the small feats, she found herself wondering if Bruce would ever be interested in a normal everyday nurse like herself. But a billionaire…probably not.

Vicky was so deep in thought that she didn't hear Bruce come up behind her.

"Penny for your thoughts," Bruce's thunderous voice said behind her.

"Oh…you're done," Vicky sputtered as she did a quick turn on her heels. "I guess I need to call Clark and tell him that you don't need our services anymore."

"Thank you for obviously saving my life. Whatever your price, I'll…" Bruce started to offer.

"This wasn't for money. I was helping a friend who was helping his friend. Keep your money, Bruce. You cannot put a price on friendship," Vicky responded, sincerely. "I'll get my things and go. I'll leave my number for you, just in case. Good thing Clark is so good at suturing," Vicky stated as she very gently touched one of Bruce's wounds. "You'll never be able to tell that this was an injury when it heals completely."

As Vicky's fingertips brushed against Bruce's wound, Bruce felt…butterflies? There was something about this little woman. He couldn't just let her go, never to hear from her again.

"Vicky…about Clark…" Bruce started.

"What about him?" Vicky asked wrinkling her eyebrows.

"Are you two…do you and Clark…" Bruce stumbled.

"No, we're just friends. He lives in my apartment building. He's cute, but not my type. He's like a brother…he always looks out for me. That's all," Vicky answered.

"Then, if I asked you out, it wouldn't violate any trusts?"

"Bruce really, you don't owe me anything. Don't feel like you have to do anything for me, okay?"

"I don't…I just…you just seem so gentle and…just once, Vicky, please, and if you're disappointed, then you don't have to ever go out with me again," Bruce pleaded.

Vicky seemed deep in thought for a moment, then looked up at Bruce with a smile.


"Friday, at seven, dinner? Wait…what's today?"

"It's Thursday, Bruce. You'd been out of circulation for almost ten days. For the life of me, I can't understand why you didn't want to go to the hospital where you could be taken care of with the best equipment…"

"People would exploit me if they found out that Bruce Wayne was in the hospital."

"Okay…I'll buy that. But, won't they exploit you if you're seen out with someone not in your social class?"

"I like you, Vicky. I don't care what they think about that," Bruce responded with a reassuring smile. He gently touched Vicky's neck and kissed her forehead.

"Thank you, again, Vicky. So, Friday…?"

"Yea, Bruce…Friday," Vicky responded as she turned to leave.

Vicky wasn't able to get in touch with Clark so he showed up at Wayne Manor at seven as usual. Clark was surprised to see Bruce answer the door.


"Vicky was gonna call you. I've been up all day. Thank you, for what you did for me. Alfred tells me you found me and brought me here. I assume this means you know…"

"Bruce, rest assured, it won't go any further. Vicky doesn't even know. All she knows is that she cared for Bruce Wayne. There were no traces of Batman around when she was summoned," Clark responded reassuringly.

"Thank you, Clark. Whatever your price…Vicky wouldn't take…"

"Just helping a friend. A true friendship is priceless. Even you, Bruce, can't afford that," Clark responded, sticking out his hand to shake Bruce's. The new friends shook hands and Clark parted from Wayne Manor.

Friday night came around and found Vicky Vale at the mirror getting ready for her big date with Bruce Wayne. He said that they would catch a movie then have dinner. The attire would be casual according to Bruce. After trying many outfits, Vicki decided on a sea-spray green mini skirt that zipped up the side, a pale pink summer sleeveless sweater and a white cardigan that she wore around her neck just in case she got cold. She wore her hair back held by a hair band and donned her neck with a plain white gold chain. Her shoes were white flats with the heels out.

Just as Vicky was sure that the last hair was in place, her doorbell rang. She didn't have to ask…she knew it was Bruce. She opened the door and saw her knight in shining armor standing there. He wore khaki pants, a pale green oxford shirt and brown leather string up shoes. He was dashing. The look on his face was priceless when Vicky answered the door.

"Hi…ready?" Bruce asked.

"Yeah, just let me grab my purse."

"Vicky, you look beautiful," Bruce said in such an endearing tone.

"You're quite dashing yourself, Bruce," Vicky responded with an endearing smile. "Shall we go?"

Bruce held the door for Vicky as they left her apartment and headed for his Lexus LX470 SUV. Alfred had offered to drive but Bruce wanted to be on his own tonight.

This date was the start of many and soon, Vicky and Bruce were 'a couple'. They were photographed often for the Gotham society page. Bruce did not have much patience for people invading his private life and Vicky just didn't know what to think of it all.

Bruce and Vicky had been dating for about six months and had headed for yet another night out. Vicky had not been really in the mood to go out but wanted to spend the time with Bruce. When Bruce approached the valet of the restaurant, he looked over at Vicky to see her looking out the window. It had started to rain just a little.

"Penny for your thoughts…" Bruce tried.

"Oh, nothing…just…"

"What is it Vicky? Talk to me," Bruce pleaded.

"I'm sorry Bruce. You've been so good to me and I appreciate it, but I just want to stay in tonight and maybe watch a movie and talk. I don't mean to sound ungrateful…"

"Oh, darling, why didn't you just say so? I thought…"

"No, Bruce, I'm simple, trying to fit into your lifestyle…"

"No, Vicky, I don't want you to change for me," Bruce started as he waved the valet away and proceeded back towards Wayne Manor.

Once back home, Bruce poured a couple of glasses of wine while Vicky kicked off her shoes and sat on the couch in Bruce's bedroom. This was her first time back in there since she had cared for him. Bruce returned with the two glasses of wine and sat beside Vicky.

Vicky had turned the TV to the AMC channel and was watching 'The Thorn Birds'. Bruce wrapped his arm around Vicky's shoulders and pulled her to him. She laid her head on his chest. They first talked for hours about everything and nothing. Bruce ran his fingers through Vicky's hair and she ran her hand across his chest.

Eventually, Bruce started to kiss Vicky, releasing long suppressed passion and before either of them knew it, Bruce had lifted Vicky to straddle his lap.

In the aftermath of their lovemaking, Bruce gathered Vicky in his arms and just held her there, to his chest, silently, facing the windows to the bay, as he lay next to her. He looked out the window as he listened to her breathing become more regular and shallow. Soon, he knew she was asleep. At that moment he knew that this woman could destroy him and that was scary. Bruce Wayne, billionaire, was in love.

The next morning Bruce awakened to find Vicky's spot next to him in bed empty and cold. He had a sudden feeling of loss. As he sat up he saw that the patio door was open and further assessment revealed Vicky standing outside, dressed in only one of his button down oxford shirts that hanged to her knees. The shirt was much too big for her but made her look so sexy to Bruce. She was looking into the waters of Gotham Bay.

Bruce came up behind Vicky and put his arms around her from behind. Vicky just laid her head back into Bruce's chest.

"Did I mention last night Victoria, that I love you?"

"Oh, Bruce I love you, too."

It was that moment that Bruce noticed tears rolling down Vicky's cheeks. He quickly turned her around to face him. He held a soft loving expression in his eyes.


"I was…thought…maybe…last night was just…"

"Vicky, we made love. I do love you. I guess I never told you until now, but I do. I just want to make you happy," Bruce said sincerely.

"Oh, Bruce…you do make me happy."

Bruce was trying to play catch up at Wayne Enterprises from the time that he was injured and for the next few weeks he was bogged down in work. Whenever Vicky tried to get together with him, he claimed to be too busy. When Vicky called, Bruce claimed too busy to take her call but would promise to call her back. He never called her back.

Vicky stood at the window of her apartment and looked out. It had been eight weeks to the day the last time Vicky had seen Bruce and she was carrying a constant reminder of the last night that they spent together. She carried Bruce's child. She had decided to not try to contact him again. She would have her baby on her own and just not tell him about it. She now knew that Bruce had lied to her. He didn't love her. Those were just idol words that he spoke, a script that he read. She had no one to blame but herself.

Just as Vicky wallowed in self pity, there was a knock on her door. She opened the door and was surprised to see Clark.

"Hi, Vicky. I'm just checking on you. I haven't seen you around. Guess you've been spending a lot of time with Bruce, huh?" Clark noticed Vicky's eyes start to tear up when he mentioned Bruce.

"Haven't seen Bruce in eight weeks, Clark," Vicky started as sobs overtook her. Clark just grabbed her and hugged her to his chest.

"Did you have a fight…what happened?"

"He just stopped being interested in me. He is always too busy to see me or take my calls," Vicky choked out between sobs.

"Vicky…so he's being a jerk. Just forget about him. I know you. You're stronger than that. Where is the Vicky that I know, who is able to shake it off, who moves on…"

"She's pregnant, Clark…with Bruce's baby. The last night we spent together, the first time we ever…well…it happened. I guess he finally got what he wanted and…" Vicky tried to continue but finished with a vague waving motion of her hand.

"Does he know?"


"Do you love him?"

"Very much," Vicky sniffled.

"Then tell him."

"No, I don't want him to feel obligated to be with me and I don't want him to patronize me with his money. I make a decent salary and I can take care of me and my baby."

Clark led Vicky to the couch and they sat down. Clark was in deep thought.

"Vicky, it's gonna be okay…just believe that. I promise."

Clark kept his an eye out for Bruce whenever something went down but could never really get a moment with him. He knew that this whole situation was none of his business but he couldn't just stand by. It had been a week since he'd been at Vicky's apartment and he wasn't having any luck running into Bruce. So, Clark decided on another approach.

The next morning Clark stood in front of Wayne Enterprises and looked up to the 120th floor. Bruce was there. He was about to cross the line in their friendship. He wasn't sure how Bruce would take it but he'd try to help two friends.

Clark went up the elevator and approached Bruce's office. Bruce's assistant, a middle aged lady with auburn hair and a motherly demeanor, greeted him at the door.

"May I help you, Mr. …"

"Kent, Clark Kent. I need to see Mr. Wayne," Clark answered calmly.

"Do you have an appointment, Mr. Kent?"


Just then as if on cue, Bruce came out of his office.

"Clark, hi! It's good to see you. Funny I've been meaning to contact you about a proposal that I have for you. Come in…Millicent, hold my calls, please." Bruce held out his hand to shake Clark's as he was speaking. Clark returned the small gesture.

"Sure thing, Mr. Wayne," Bruce's assistant assured him.

"Clark, please take a seat," Bruce instructed. "The reason I've…"

"Bruce, wait…when was the last time you talked to Vicky?" Clark asked seriously.

"Is she okay?" Bruce asked concerned.

"When, Bruce?"

"Umm, maybe two months ago, why?"

"I thought you two were…you know…an item."

"Well, I've been busy and I discovered that I just don't have time for a rela…"


"Clark, that's personal! Now you're a friend and I…I just thought it would be easier to just let it go. I'm busy…and I don't want to…Batman…it's not fair to her and…"

"So, why didn't you break it off before you slept with her?" Clark's almost whispered.

"Clark, she assured me that you two were only friends. I would have never crossed that line…" Bruce started, defensively.

"Bruce! Vicky's pregnant…nine weeks. It's your baby she's carrying Bruce. She's tried to call you but you wouldn't return her calls. She finally stopped calling you and just decided to do this…have this baby…all alone. She's crucifying herself about this. She thinks that you dumped her after you slept with her. She is distraught…she loves you, Bruce."

Bruce looked at Clark with his mouth opened.

"Clark, I didn't know…I…"

"Do you love her, Bruce?"

"More than anything," Bruce said sadly. Bruce felt as though he was confessing to the priest.

"Then tell her…make it right. She needs you now, man." Clark encouraged Bruce.

"I haven't told her…about…about my other side…" Bruce said as he went over to the window to look out. He just needed some figurative distance from what Clark was saying. He was trying to clear his other thoughts and cycle all of this in his head.

"Then tell her. Listen, Bruce, I'll get with you about that proposal you had for me later. It can't be as important as this is right now." Clark paused, then continued, "Just a friend trying to help out a friend," Clark stated as he stood to leave.

"She'll never forgive me for what I've done to her."

"She's an adult. Try her and let her make her own decisions," Clark said as he headed for the door.

"Oh, and Bruce…"

"Yea…" Bruce creaked out in his broken baritone voice, still with his back to Clark.

"She has no idea that I came to you." Clark finished as he closed the door and left.

What Clark didn't know is that Bruce's emotions had gotten the best of him and a single tear escaped down his cheek as he heard the click of Clark closing his door. He had to make this right.

After Bruce regained his composure, he called the flower shop and ordered a dozen red roses to be delivered to Gotham General Hospital where Vicky was sure to be at work. He would cancel the rest of the afternoon and make time to see Vicky.

By 2pm Bruce got a confirmation from the flower shop that the roses had been delivered. He then grabbed his keys and headed for his Lexus SUV. Destination…GGH.

Vicky was coming from a patient's room when the young ward clerk called her.

"Hey, Vicky…there's something here for you." Her voice was excited.

When Vicky saw the roses, she began to tear. She opened the card that was attached and it read:

I'm sorry about the distance, lately. Maybe we can talk over dinner?

I Love You, Bruce

Vicky's eyes started to glaze over. She had to regain her composure and act as if the flowers hadn't affected her.

"Thought you said you weren't seeing that hunk anymore," the ward clerk pressed on.

Vicky had regained her bearings and turned around.

"Mandy, don't you have anything else to do?" Vicky said jokingly.

"Um…Vicky…turn around…" Mandy said as Vicky started to walk away. The uncertainty in Mandy's voice got a quick response from Vicky.

"Mandy, I'm not answering…" Vicky started as she abruptly turned around, right into Bruce's chest. Her gaze slowly went upward until it landed on his perfectly chiseled face.

"Hi…got a minute?"

"Bruce, what are you doing here? I can't talk right now,' Vicky said nervously.

"Then, is that a yes for dinner?"

"Bruce, don't do this…"

"Say yes or I'm not leaving," Bruce said with a big smile on his face, folding his arms across his chest.

Vicky looked over at Mandy who was absorbing this whole event and then back at Bruce.

"Yes," Vicky whispered to Bruce. "Now go."

"I'll pick you up at your apartment at seven thirty."

"Fine," Vicky whispered sharply to Bruce as she walked away.

Bruce knew that she had just brushed him off but he wasn't having any of it. He would be in the parking lot when she got off, waiting for her and he would make her talk.

At 5pm, Vicky headed out to the parking lot to her white Toyota Solara Convertible. She had no intentions of going out with Bruce tonight or any other night. She just wanted to get rid of him. She had planned to just go home and take a bath and claim that she forgot or was too tired to go out, just anything…to get rid of him.

Vicky had decided that her emotions couldn't handle another injury right now, especially with the baby. She had survived Bruce breaking up with her once but she wasn't sure that she could survive it again so soon.

As she unlocked the driver's door she thought to herself, <I'm gonna have to get a four door when the baby comes>. Just as she opened the car door, to her surprise, a baritone voice spoke to her.

"Vicky, please, wait," Bruce pleaded.

Vicky was startled and stilled just for a moment. She new that voice without any doubt.

"Bruce, you ended this, not me…" She was trying to keep her emotions in check.

Bruce held his door open to his SUV, which now was parked next to Vicky's car and beckoned, saying, "Please, talk to me."

Vicky looked up into his dark pleading eyes and reluctantly gave in. She knew she'd live to regret this.

"Let me put my flowers in the car."

Vicky placed her flowers in the car and then proceeded to the passenger side of Bruce's Lexus. He held the door open for her until she got in, then closed it. He then went around to the driver's side, got in, put the car in gear and proceeded to drive off.

"Vicky, I'm sorry…I've been busy and I…"

"Bruce, cut the crap. Don't patronize me. After we made…slept together, you had no more use for me and you used that busy thing to break it off. I got it. I'm okay with it!" Then tears started to roll down her cheeks. "Why don't you just leave me alone, Bruce? Why couldn't you just let it go Bruce? I had!"

"Because I love you, Vicky and I want to be with you."

"Bruce, take me back to my car…now!" Vicky screamed.

"I wanted to be away…alone with you, sweetheart, where you couldn't run off. I have something that I want to say and I want you to hear me out." Bruce had pulled over onto an empty shoulder of the road that looked over into a canyon. He then faced Vicky in the seat of his SUV. Vicky just looked straight ahead out the window.

Bruce started to tell Vicky the story of how he lost his parents so many years ago and how the emotional stress of it all led him to become somewhat of a vigilante. He finished his story by looking into her eyes and saying, "Vicky, I am Batman. Yes, I was playing a game, trying to break it off, by distancing, because I didn't want you to be subjected to that part of my life. I didn't think you would understand or accept it. I thought you'd hate me. I didn't want to endanger you. So I thought it the best thing to do." The look on Bruce's face was praying for understanding.

Vicky stilled, but continued to silently look out the window.

"A friend told me that if I love you to tell you and to tell you about Batman and let you make your own decisions. Well, I'm telling you," Bruce whispered as he grasped her hands. "I'm asking you to make a decision…marry me Vicky…come back in my life and make me happy again."

Vicky suddenly snapped back into reality with that proposal with her mouth agape. Bruce placed his index finger on her lips and looked at her lovingly and whispered, "Just say yes."

"I…I can't…not now. Bruce, why now? Three months ago I would have said yes without hesitation…"

"I love you, Vicky. What changed from three months ago? Did you stop loving me?" Bruce asked, knowing the answer, as he opened a little black felt box and showed her a 2-karat emerald cut diamond solitaire. "I don't want our baby to grow up without a father," Bruce finally whispered as the final trump card.

"Is this about…how did you…okay…I don't want to…I won't marry you, just because I'm pregnant! It wouldn't work anyway…just for a baby."

"Didn't you hear a word I said…I love you Vicky, and I know you love me," Bruce struggled. "If you can look me in my eyes and tell me that you don't love me anymore, then…I'll…" Bruce fidgeted to try to finish his thought. He couldn't say that he wouldn't bother her again, because the truth is that he'd never let her get away again that easily.

"Just for the record, Bruce, I didn't care about the Batman. I knew there was something about you when I took care of you. I'm not surprised. I loved you in spite of your 'weirdness'. But you hurt…"

"Then marry me, Vicky…I know now that I hurt you and I am sorry. Please, Vicky, marry me…" Bruce whispered.

Vicky looked deep into Bruce's eyes and hesitated. Then she smiled and leaned forward to hug Bruce. She then whispered in his ear, "I love you Bruce. Yes, I'll marry you…call me crazy."

The next day there was a situation where Batman appeared. Superman was also on the scene. After everything was under control, Batman walked up to Superman before he flew off.

"Clark…thank you for saving my but…again. I owe you for my life, my fiancée and my baby."

Superman responded with wrinkled eyebrows, "Batman I'm…"

"Clark, look man, you know my secret and I know yours. No need to pretend anymore. Thanks for being my friend," Batman finished as he held out his hand to shake Superman's. Clark smiled, shook his hand and just decided to go with it. Clark turned and started to walk away but turned again to ask Batman a question.

"But how did you figu…" Batman was gone.

The wedding plans went under way. It would be a small wedding, taking place in three weeks. Bruce wanted to keep the tabloids away. Clark agreed to be the best man and Vicky had a friend from nursing school, Lois Lane, who was incidentally moving to Gotham from Metropolis to attend anaesthesia school, as the maid of honour.

Vicky had kept Lois abreast of the happenings between her and Bruce so the wedding came as no surprise to Lois. Lois arrived in Gotham on Thursday before the Saturday wedding. She would have dinner with Bruce, Vicky and Clark that evening, at 7 o'clock.

A dinner party for the four was to be at Wayne Manor, compliments of Alfred. Bruce wanted to meet and get to know Lois, the maid of honour, Vicky's best friend, and he and Vicky wanted Clark to meet Lois. Vicky had explained to Bruce how relationships had become non-existent with Lois after Paul had broken their engagement. As Lois's friend, Vicky wanted Lois to be as happy as she was. Clark seemed lonely, too, sort of, in a way. Bruce and Vicky thought that Lois and Clark could do each other some good. Both Clark and Lois were oblivious to the alternative motive that Bruce and Vicky had in mind.

When Lois arrived from the 300 mile drive from Metropolis all she had time to do was take a shower and change. The dinner attire was Sunday dress and she had to hurry. It was still warm in Gotham so Lois chose a Black sleeveless knee length dress with a square neck and a white shadow around the neck. She also donned sheer black pantyhose and black leather pumps. She wore pearls around her neck and matching earrings. Her hair was a dark shoulder length bob, but tonight she would wear it up in a French roll.

After staring at herself in the mirror, Lois thought that she was running late and it would just have to do, but this dress just made her look too fat…and maybe it was her nose…too pointed…that lipstick just didn't do it… This was an ongoing battle that Lois fought with herself every time she looked in the mirror. Why couldn't she just be half as pretty as Vicky? Paul had done a number on her.

Lois was a petite dark haired 26 year old, about 5'5" and 105 pounds, and normally outgoing. She was beautiful though she had trouble accepting it due to being previously stripped of her self esteem. She had decided sort of suddenly to move to Gotham, after a very emotional relationship dissipated. Lois had been engaged to Paul, a physical therapist. Just three weeks before their wedding Paul had told her that he decided that he didn't want to marry her. He felt that he should be able to sample 'the goods' before buying them. He constantly reminded Lois that there were other women out there who would have sex with him without hesitation.

Lois thought that this would all pass the closer they got to their wedding date but she was wrong.

The fateful phone call came to Lois one night while she was at work. Paul broke off their engagement and told her that she wasn't really worth waiting for. She had tried to explain to him that she wanted their first time to be special and he had initially agreed to wait for their wedding night. But now he was saying that he would be homicidal if he waited for her and she turned out to be a lousy lay. That phone call haunted Lois almost daily.



"Paul, what's wrong? Don't worry, everything is going smoothly. The gowns…"

"Lois! There isn't going to be any wedding."

"Paul? What are you saying?" Lois said with tears threatening through her voice.

"Lois, I can't marry you. You obviously don't love me or you'd show me. You won't make love to me…"

"But, Paul, I wanted it to be special, you know, on our wedding night…" Lois choked out.

"Well, it wouldn't have mattered which night it happened if you really loved me," Paul grated out.

"Paul, I wanted to save myself for…you know…so that…"

"Lois, there are lots of women out there who wouldn't have to be asked twice…I can have any of them I want. I don't know what your problem is but they find me attractive enough…"

"Paul, I…"

"Oooh…I know. You think since you're fat and ugly and should be grateful that I even had any interest in you in the first place; people think the same of me. Well, you're wrong! The truth is I wasn't going to marry you in the first place. I just…felt…sorry for you. You see, I don't have a problem attracting women…right Miriam…"

Lois heard a woman moan in Paul's background.

"…and don't think for a minute that someone else is going to bore themselves with you and your 'I want to save myself' speech. God, Lois, you're 26 years old. Grow up!"

"Paul…" Lois started, sobbing.

"Bye, Lois. Oh…Jenny Craig has a special going on." Then Paul just hung up the phone.

By then the charge nurse had approached Lois and pretty much deducted what had just happened. She just grabbed Lois's report sheet and told her to go home. Lois did just that without saying another word. The tears told it all. Lois didn't return to work for a week and when she did, she took frequent breaks to the bathroom to just cry.

Lois had been devastated. The worst part is that she believed Paul's insults. She believed that she was fat and ugly.

There had been a time when Lois often thought about maybe trying to get back with Paul and offer a sexual relationship to him. And if Paul had offered to get back with her, she would have readily accepted. That was thinking with her heart. But fortunately her rational mind kicked in and guided her down the more secure path. She decided, then, that she'd never let another man hurt her again. She'd keep her distance.

After eight months, after finding out that Paul had been a jerk all along and had been sleeping around all along, Lois still found herself depressed and crying a lot. She knew that she had to get herself together and start living again. She was just so afraid of getting close to anyone else ever again. She was afraid of getting hurt. A new start is what she needed and Vicky being in Gotham helped to encourage Lois in that direction. So, when Lois was accepted into Gotham University's Nurse Anaesthesia program, she accepted without hesitation.

After the mental review of that awful phone conversation, Lois reoriented her bearings. She found herself still standing in the mirror looking at herself, but with tears streaming freely down her cheeks. She quickly dried her tears and reapplied her makeup to cover the streaks. This was Vicky's time and she was going to be happy for her and have a good time.

Lois had gotten directions to Wayne Manor from Vicky, but decided at the last minute that maybe it would be better if she took a cab. She didn't want to risk getting lost. Vicky had offered Alfred for Lois's transportation per Bruce's suggestion, but Lois declined.

The cabby went directly to Wayne Manor. It wasn't hard to find being a mansion. As they approached, Lois noted that Wayne Manor sat sort of back on a hill in the center of multiple acres, surrounded by a rod iron gate. It seemed almost intimidating. The gate opened. As the cabby drove Lois through the gate the massive structure seemed to become bigger and come to life as they got closer. Lois thought to herself that Vicky must have literally hit the jackpot with this guy. He was rich, in love with Vicky and from his pictures very handsome.

Once the cab reached the foot of the multiple marble steps to the door of Wayne Manor, Lois gathered her hand clutch and proceeded to the door. The door opened as she approached and a very proper Englishman, dressed in a black cutaway styled tuxedo, greeted her then announced her arrival.

"Ms. Lois Lane," he said, as he led her into the dining room.

Bruce recognized Lois from pictures that Vicky emailed her. The gorgeous gentleman sitting across from Bruce stood as she arrived. Vicky met her on foot and hugged her, so happy to see her.

"Lois, I'm so glad you came!"

"I wouldn't have missed my best friend's wedding for anything."

"Lois Lane…" Vicky started as she lead Lois by the hand, "…this is Bruce Wayne, my fiancé." Bruce brought Lois's hand to his lips and gently kissed it as he abbreviated a bow.

"So nice to finally meet you, Lois. I've heard a lot of great things about you from Vicky."

"So nice to meet you, too, Bruce," Lois returned, smiling.

"And this is Bruce's best friend and best man, Dr. Clark Kent…" Vicky announced as Clark softly kissed Lois on her cheek.

"Clark, please, and it's a pleasure to meet you, Lois," Clark responded as he released a megawatt smile. Clark pulled a chair out next to him for her to sit. Lois accepted the invitation.

Clark was the most handsome man Lois had ever met and had the most beautiful smile. But chances are he is a jerk in spite of the first impression that Lois got of him. He was educated but not condescending. He seemed confident but not cocky. And he had manners…old manners.

Again, Lois started to daydream of Paul and their breakup. This had all happened ten months ago and Vicky had been her rock through it all. But now Lois didn't completely trust and her self esteem was shot…wait, Clark was saying something.

"So, Lois, Vicky tells me that you're a friend of hers from nursing school. What moves you here to Gotham?" Clark inquired.

"I got accepted into nurse anaesthesia school. And since Vicky asked me to be her maid of honour, I just moved a little early." Lois responded, smiling but not making eye contact with Clark.

Clark made a mental note that Lois's smile did not reach her eyes. He wondered what hurt she was harboring deep down inside. Clark thought Lois to be the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He was immediately attracted to her but just couldn't help but wonder why she seemed so defeated. She was obviously smart and ambitious. If there was such a thing as love at first sight, this was it for him.

"So, Clark, what kind of doctor are you?"

"I'm a veterinarian, second year resident," Clark responded showing that megawatt smile again.

Lois just smiled in return.

"What about you, what area of nursing do you work in?"

"Pediatrics, mostly ICU, you know the really sick ones. It's kind of funny…I always enjoyed the kids and hated adults and Vicky, over there always hated kids and favored adults. To me, kids are just so innocent."

"Yea, animals are innocent and helpless, too. I really enjoy them," Clark responded.

Lois got a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach sitting next to Clark. There was just something about him. But her rational judgment kicked in and the fort went on lockdown. She really couldn't afford to have another relationship in this lifetime, especially with starting anaesthesia school. But there was something…so sincere…so innocent in Clark. He was such a gentleman. But he was probably just like all other men…out to get a quick lay. Some guys used cheap lines, Clark used old manners.

Dinner went well. The four friends talked touched on general conversation, their different careers, and the upcoming nuptials and baby. Clark spent most of his attention on Lois, finding idle conversation to involve her in. Lois felt the favored attention and it frightened her. Lois was careful, wanting to keep distant…she didn't want to be to disclose too much to this man who was already stirring up emotions in her that she thought were long dead.

Clark noticed Lois mentally distancing and gently touched her hand.

"You, okay?" Clark whispered with concern in his voice.

"Oh…yeai'mfine," Lois hurried as she snatched her hand from Clark's touch.

The electricity from Clark's touch was just too much and Lois found herself jerking her hand away almost scornfully. She didn't mean to be so…abrasive…but…

Clark thought that he must have really been repulsive to Lois, the way she snatched her hand away from his. Maybe she could tell that he wasn't human.

Vicky and Bruce witnessed the whole event because the conversation mumble suddenly ceased and there was complete silence. Vicky understood what had just happened and squeezed Bruce's hand, a subtle gesture she used to imply that she knew what had just happened and would explain later.

Clark felt a need to apologize to Lois, so he started to speak. Lois, at the same time, felt the need to apologize to Clark and started to speak.



They both started to laugh at each other. Being the gentleman, Clark said, 'You first."

"Clark, I'm sorry. I didn't mean…I was just startled. It's just been…well…I'm tired, the drive from Metropolis and all. Please, don't take offense," Lois said, her eyes pleading for forgiveness.

"None, taken," Clark assured Lois with a smile. "I shouldn't have startled you. I just…I was wondering…you just looked preoccupied…I was concerned that…" Clark fumbled, with the deer in the headlights look.

Lois just smiled and patted his hand.

"It's okay, Clark," Lois assured him.

Soon the atmosphere became relaxed again and conversation flowed freely. Before long, the clock struck midnight. Lois realized that she needed to call it a night. She was really having a good time if she was honest with herself and the time just flew by. Clark must have had an idea that Lois was ready to call it an evening because he stood and so did Bruce.

Clark held out his hand to Lois as she stood from her chair. Lois used Clark's hand as assistance to get up. She looked up at him and smiled.

"Thank you, Clark."

Clark smiled back at Lois, but then asked, sort of in an unsure way, "Can I drive you home? Or did you drive?"

"No, I didn't drive, but I can call a taxi. I don't want you to go out of your way…"

"Lois, you live in the apartment building directly across from the one that Clark lives in and I used to live in," Vicky interjected.

"Lois, please, don't call a taxi. I'd love to take you home. I really don't mind."

Lois looked over at Vicky for that subtle reassurance. Lois noted a very slight affirmative nod of Vicky's head, then she smiled.

"Okay, Clark. Thank you. You really don't mind?"

"My pleasure," Clark reassured Lois.

Before Lois could say anything else Clark had placed his suit jacket around her shoulders. He placed his hand in the small of her back and proceeded to the front door with Bruce and Vicky in tow. Lois gave Clark a puzzled look.

"It's a little chilly outside at night here." Clark answered her look with a smile.

Clark and Lois said goodnight and proceeded to Clark's gray Toyota 4Runner. He opened the passenger door for Lois and buckled her in then went around to the driver's side and got in. They left Wayne Manor.

Bruce and Vicky stood in the doorway of Wayne Manor as they watched Clark and Lois drive off. They looked at each other and smiled, knowingly. They were thinking the same thoughts. With a little nudge this could be the beginning of something wonderful for their friends.

"He loves her," Bruce stated.

"I know…but she's gonna fight it." Vicky responded.

"Why?" Bruce inquired.

"Because of Paul. He really did a number on her."

Wayne Manor minimized in Clark's rear view mirror as he drove away. He was very aware of Lois in the passenger seat next to him. He looked over at her out of the corner of his eye and noted that she had rested her head back against the headrest. Her eyes appeared to be shut. Clark could hear that her heart rate was normal and her breathing was regular. She was relaxed, unlike himself, with his senses on edge. Until tonight, Clark thought that his Kryptonian heritage inhabited him from having these feelings, the feelings of being in love that everyone always talked about. Boy, was he wrong. He'd just never felt this way about anyone before. He was in love with Lois Lane and couldn't even defend himself; helplessly in love.

Clark thought he should try to lighten the atmosphere…for himself. Lois was already relaxed, or so it seemed. Clark looked over at Lois and gently placed his hand on hers, just to see if she was awake or not. She slowly opened her eyes and looked over at Clark. She didn't pull her hand away that time. She just slightly smiled.

Lois had her eyes closed, thinking about being so close to Clark in such a confined space and keeping her reactions in check. The last thing she wanted was for him to know that he gave her butterflies. With her eyes shut, she could concentrate on breathing and he couldn't see what was lurking in her eyes. It wasn't helping much because with her eyes closed, she got visions of Clark, the way he looked at her, the way he talked to her, the way he…touched her? God, he touched her hand again. This time she wouldn't be afraid, she wouldn't pull back. His touch was so soft. Besides, it didn't mean anything. He was just a touchy feely person. He had briefly referred to growing up in the countryside of…Kansas?

Her thoughts were interrupted, suddenly as Clark began to speak.

"Lois, did you have a good time tonight?" Clark asked clearly fumbling for safe conversation.

"Yea, I did. Thanks again for driving me home," Lois added as an afterthought.

"Lois, you don't have to thank me. I offered, remember?"

"I guess." Lois just smiled to herself.

"So, what are you doing tomorrow?"

"I figured I'd unpack some of my things. I guess I don't have a lot of time tomorrow. I'd hate to be tired out on Saturday."

"Would you like me to help you move some things? I know that that stuff gets heavy…unless you already have someone coming over," Clark offered.

"No, I don't have…anyone…" Lois responded looking away from Clark outside of the passenger side window. "But you shouldn't feel obligated to he…"

"I don't feel obligated, Lois. I want to," Clark responded, still with his hand resting on Lois's and unconsciously gently massaging with his thumb. Clark did, however, catch the double meaning of Lois's previous statement.

They had almost approached home, Clark keeping his eyes on the road as it had started to drizzle. Lois noted that Clark was right…it was a little chilly tonight, especially with the sprinkling of rain.

Clark looked over at Lois again briefly, just to get another dose of her beauty. He wanted to tell her how beautiful she was but wasn't sure how she'd respond. He didn't want it to sound like a cheap pick up line. He soon aborted that thought and chose to try to get to know her a little better.

"Um…Lois, I'd like to see you again…after all of this is done…the wedding and all…if you're okay with it…if you're interested…unless there is someone else…" Clark added quickly.

Clark could immediately feel Lois start to tense and he could hear her heart rate speed up. He resented the thought that there could be a significant other in Lois's life.

"Um…Clark…I…I don't know…I just…" Lois accented with a hand gesture.

"You just…?"

"I just don't think…I'm just not ready…right now…" Lois hesitated, then finished, "No, there is no one…no one else."

Clark wondered if he looked as defeated as he felt. But more important than that he noted that Lois sounded almost tearful, just now. He knew that he had pushed a sensitive button and that Lois was deeply saddened by something. He hoped that they would at least have a friendship and that one day she'd confide in him what haunted her so deeply. He knew that the best thing to do for Lois right now was to give her support, reassurance and most of all space.

"Well, whenever you're ready, I'll be here. I'll wait for you." Clark reassured Lois without pressure and revealed a gentle smile.

Immediately, he felt her tense again.

Why did he have to go and say he'd wait? Paul had said that exact thing and that ended up so foul. Could this be Lois's sign not to see Clark again, to just cut him off? Lois was relieved to see her apartment building come into view. That simple event kept Lois from having to respond to Clark's 'open invitation'.

"Oh…we're here so quickly," Lois almost breathed out in haste.

Clark parked his truck and grabbed his umbrella from the back seat. He went around to the passenger side and opened Lois's door holding the umbrella over her. He walked her up the steps to her building and proceeded to open the door to the lobby.

"Clark, I'm fine. You've done more than enough. I'll be okay," Lois reassured Clark. "A little rain isn't going to hurt me."

Clark was hearing nothing of it.

"Lois, I drove you home. I want to make sure that you get inside before I leave. It's the proper thing to do. And besides, I couldn't…I don't want anything to happen to you. Bruce and Vicky would never forgive me," Clark finished, winking at Lois and smiling. Lois smiled back at him.

"I'll bet your girlfriend thinks you're impossible, always the gentleman." Lois said jokingly. Just as soon as the statement was out, Lois wanted to retract it. But, Clark looked at Lois and answered, soberly.

"I don't have a girlfriend, Lois." They made eye contact for a few seconds as if reading each other's minds. Lois broke the eye contact first and stared down at her feet. She then turned and proceeded to her door with Clark's hand in the small of her back.

Lois didn't dare let her mouth run away like that again. But, for some strange reason, she believed Clark. She just knew that he wouldn't lie to her. She silently turned the key to her door lock and stepped inside. Clark could see the boxes thrown all over the place from her arrival earlier that day. He could sense her nervousness, too. Lois turned to face him again and paused before speaking as if she wanted to properly phrase her words.

"Thank you, Clark. See you tomorrow? Whenever you get here is fine. The earlier the better, so we can finish early."

"I'll be here," Clark said as he turned to walk away. Then suddenly, almost as an after thought, Clark turned back to see Lois still standing in her doorway. He then gently placed his palm on her cheek while looking into her eyes. He traced her cheek gently with the pad of his thumb. Lois closed her eyes at the gentle touch of his hand and placed her hand on top of his. Clark then leaned in and kissed Lois sweetly on the cheek. Before he retreated away from Lois, he spoke to her just above a whisper.

"You were so beautiful this evening, Lois."

Lois didn't respond but her eyes flew open immediately and her hand came down. She just looked up into his eyes as a sheet of fresh tears formed in hers. Clark looked down into her eyes and on reflex pulled her into a loving hug. He could feel her stifling sobs against his chest. After a few minutes, Clark pulled away from Lois and looked down into her eyes again, with concern and…love…in his eyes?

"You okay?"

"Yea just tired. I'll see you tomorrow, okay? Oh, here's you jacket," Lois said with a teary smile as she handed the jacket to Clark.

"Here, Lois, take my numbers, home, cell and pager. Please, call me if you need…anything," Clark said, as he scribbled his numbers on a piece of paper for Lois. "I'm here if you just wanna talk."

Lois took the piece of paper and placed it in her purse.

"Okay. Thank you, Clark," Lois said, not making eye contact.

"Bye, Lois," Clark said as he left Lois.

Lois locked her door, went into the bathroom and wondered, what just happened. <I just let him see me almost fall apart. > Lois thought to herself. But she had to admit to herself that she felt so secure against Clark's chest. She felt as if Clark could protect her from everything, even her haunting thoughts and dreams.

Lois quickly undressed and got into the shower. The hot water felt so good. As always, she started to cry freely once she was in the shower with the door closed. Lois felt that if no one could see her or hear her cry then she could continue to hide her feelings. It was almost as if she was hiding from herself. After about thirty minutes, Lois exited the shower, dried off and put on her sleepers. She then crawled into her bed and fluffed it to her comfort. After another thirty minutes of fighting rising emotions for Clark and fighting off more tears, she succumbed to a peaceful sleep.

Just as Lois drifted off she whispered to herself, "Clark, I'm so afraid."

Clark got home and was just bum fumbled. Why was someone as beautiful as Lois so depressed? He started his shower while filtering his thoughts. Unconsciously he thought he heard sniffling…sobbing. He tuned in his super hearing and realized that it was Lois. It sounded as if she were in the shower. He was already attuned to her heart beat and her voice. The sound broke Clark's heart. He wanted so badly to go over and comfort her, but how could he just show up? Instead, he just sat on his bed and waited until she calmed down and stopped crying. The shower stopped at about the same time.

Clark then deemed it safe to proceed with his shower. He stood there deep in thought while the oily feeling of the softened water rolled down his taut body.

He thought about how he had fallen in love with someone after just a few hours. He just wanted her to love him, too. And there was the alien thing…Superman.

Clark had spent forty minutes in the shower before he realized it. Upon realization, he turned off the water and stepped out to dry off. Again, his super hearing picked up on Lois's muffled sobs. Then he thought he heard her say,

"Clark, I'm so afraid."

Afraid of what? Why? He knew he wouldn't sleep well tonight. Maybe Superman would be needed to pass the time. Otherwise he would think endlessly of Lois.

The next morning the sun was shining brightly when Lois awakened. She had not slept that peacefully in a long time and she felt so rested. She stretched like a lazy kitten. Maybe because she was thinking of that knight in shining armor. God, Clark was gorgeous and so sweet. But she couldn't get too caught up in him because, after all, he was probably just like the others. She couldn't ignore the tingling feeling she got when she just thought of him. He was coming over to help her unpack today.

Lois looked over at the clock. Boy she must have been tired because it was already 9 o'clock. She jumped up and went for the shower.

Clark had been up since 7 o'clock. He couldn't sleep for thinking about Lois. He'd laid there in his bed for hours, just thinking about her. He could have very easily gone off to sleep if she'd been there in his bed, lying next to him. Nothing sexual. If he could just hold her and make her fears and bad dreams go away.

He was helping her to unload and unpack some things today. He needed to get dressed. He could just listen in occasionally to see if he could hear her get up and then he'd head over. Then, he had the wedding to look forward to on Saturday. Boy did this little woman catch him off guard. Until he met Lois, he thought his Kryptonian heritage had made him incapable of loving someone in the passionate sort of way. But he felt something totally new and exciting when he met Lois.

Clark had taken the next two weeks off since he had never taken a vacation. He thought Bruce's wedding to be a good reason. He was glad that he'd have some time to get to know Lois and hopefully win her heart. She would eventually start working at the same hospital where Vicky worked, GGH. Clark had a surgery rotation coming up where he went over to GGH to practice in their pig lab. Hopefully, he would be able to spend some time with Lois while he was over there. Maybe have lunch with her.

Lois got out of the shower and dressed in a pair of Lee® jeans and a coral colored summer sweater. She stood in the middle of the floor and looked at the stacks of boxes that had to be unpacked. She would just let Clark come over in his own time. She decided to get a yogurt from the refrigerator for breakfast and then she would get started.

Clark's super senses had picked up on Lois getting in the shower. He quickly spun into the suit and made a quick trip to Paris for some croissants. He'd take them over to Lois's for breakfast. He returned just as Lois was getting out of the shower, as he heard the water turn off. He quickly spun into his jeans and oxford shirt, waited for about twenty minutes and then headed over to her apartment.

Lois's doorbell rang just as she started to eat her yogurt. She was hoping that it was Clark.

When Lois opened the door, she gasped as she saw Clark standing there. He wore a pair of …oh God…Levis® that were old and faded with tiny wear holes in them, a short sleeved light blue oxford shirt and a pair of Nike® tennis shoes that were broken in comfortably. His biceps flexed unconsciously where the sleeves ended on his shirt. Through the shirt his chest looked so…firm…and… He was the sexiest thing she had ever seen and he didn't even seem to know he was sexy, which made him sexier. She was sure that her eyes lit up. The room suddenly became much hotter. Clark looked almost edible in the suit that he wore last night but the suit did him absolutely no justice compared to this. The suit hid a lot of his 'better assets'.

"Hi…" Lois said nervously.

"Hi…" Clark replied staring into Lois's eyes. He paused there for a moment. Lois then quickly looked away from Clark's eyes, down to the floor. Clark thought Lois looked so soft and feminine. She was the most beautiful woman he'd ever laid eyes on. She wore her hair in the shoulder length bob that she usually wore, which framed her face so delicately. He could see all of her curves so well with those jeans on. And she smelled so…Lois.

Clark gently lifted Lois's chin with his index finger and looked her in the eyes. When he had her gaze locked with his, he gently placed his palm on her cheek then tucked a lock of hair behind her ear.

"I brought you some brunch…thought you'd be busy moving in and wouldn't get a chance to cook."

"Thank you, Clark. What is it? It smells so good and buttery." Lois's eyes lit up.

"Just some croissants."

"They're still hot. Oh…um…and delicious. I can't eat a whole one. Gotta keep the pounds off, you know."

"Lois you look great. You don't need to worry about your weight. Just enjoy your brunch," Clark assured Lois.

Clark took a look at Lois and again wondered why…where was her confidence, her self-esteem? She was so unsure of herself and intimidated. Clark decided against saying anything at this time but eventually he would approach the subject. Surely all of this insecurity was linked.

After Lois ate four croissants, she and Clark started to unpack and move stuff around. Her apartment was suddenly starting to look like home. She had a sofa and love seat that Clark found both to be uncomfortable and certainly for decorative purposes only. Lois laughed at him. Actually Clark had her laughing throughout the day. It was the first time Lois had laughed that heartily in a long time.

Bruce and Vicky had called to see if they could be of any help earlier, but Clark assured them that everything was under control and that Vicky should really just take it easy. Bruce and Vicky knew that Clark was being territorial and really just wanted this time alone with Lois. They pretended to be oblivious to the situation.

Before they knew it, Clark and Lois had unpacked everything and put everything away. They were laughing and talking so much that they lost track of time. Clark was so easy to talk to. Lois noticed the time first.

"Clark, it's almost 6 o'clock. Um…I'd love it…if…if you'd have…have dinner with me, my treat, just to show my appreciation for your help. I would still be struggling with boxes if it weren't for you." Lois amended her invitation. She didn't want to leave herself open for rejection. Clark immediately picked up on her quick amendment of her invitation. In his mind he thought that he would never do anything to hurt Lois or make her cry.

"How about you go and shower and get relaxed for bed and I'll go and whip up something by the time you get out of the shower," Clark offered innocently.

"Clark that's sweet, but…"

"I won't take no for an answer. I'm going over to my apartment and I'll be back in just a little bit, okay?" Clark promised Lois as he gently held her face between the palms of his hands.

Too defeated to argue, Lois just said, "Okay."

When she surrendered, he kissed her on the forehead and headed across the street to his apartment.

Lois got a long hot shower and washed her hair. By the time she put on a pair of sweats and dried her hair there was a knock at her door. Lois knew that it was Clark, but she thought that they were eating at his apartment. She opened the door with her eyebrows wrinkled into one brow. Clark found the questioning look on her face humorous and so adorable.

"I didn't want you to walk across by yourself…" Clark answered her questioning look. "Ready?"

"Oh…yes, I'm ready."

Clark placed his hand in the small of Lois's back and guided her out of her apartment. Clark locked Lois's door and they headed across the street to his apartment with his arm placed loosely around her waist. Lois was oblivious to the small gesture.

Clark's apartment, unlike Lois's immaculate but stiff apartment, was clean and tidied, but lived in, a feeling of home. His furniture was comfortable and the décor was of the many places that he'd traveled. Clark beckoned Lois into the kitchen and pulled a chair for her to take a seat.

"Something smells delicious, Clark. What is it?"

"Sit and let me get you a plate."

Lois did as she was instructed and Clark served her homemade spaghetti with meat chunks. He only had 45 minutes to whip that up.

When Lois tasted the pasta, she moaned while savoring the sweet Italian herbs and spices. "Oh, Clark this is delicious. You made this?" Lois continued with a mouth full of food.

"Yes, I did." Clark grinned at Lois as she appeared to really be enjoying her food.

"Oh and let me pour you some wine. It's a bottle of wine that I got when I was in Italy a couple of years ago. I was saving it for a special occasion."

"Oh, Clark, I'm sorry. You didn't have to open it for me."

Clark started to respond with 'you are special to me Lois', something that it was too soon to say so instead he just said, "I wanted to." She seemed to just be getting relaxed and comfortable with him and he didn't want her to regress.

"Where did you learn to cook like this? It's a wonder that you're not as fat as a country possum."

Clark laughed at Lois's reference. "I guess I learned the basics from my mom. The rest I picked up as I traveled. I learned the cuisines of many cultures."

"Just so you know, I have no cooking skills…at all…none. Now that I know that you can cook you may never get rid of me."

"I don't plan to," Clark slipped before he had a chance to think about his reply.

Lois suddenly stopped chewing and just sat still for a moment. Then she picked up her glass and had a big swig of her wine. Clark noticed the change in her demeanor and wished he could take back his statement, not because he didn't mean it, but because he didn't want to scare her off.

"Lois, I'm sorry…I…I don't know…" Clark fumbled.

"No, Clark, you didn't do anything wrong. It's me. I…I…" Lois babbled.

"Shh, let's just enjoy dinner." Clark smiled at Lois.

The two friends ate dinner and talked. Before they realized it, it was 9 o'clock. By this time they had migrated over to the couch to watch a Lethal Weapon DVD that Lois had found in Clark's video library and put in. They had both seen it numerous times but it was one of those movies that was funny enough to watch over and over again.

Lois hadn't felt this relaxed in a long time. For some reason she immediately trusted this guy. He was so easy to talk to and Lois didn't feel pressured into anything. She wasn't aware that Clark felt the same thing. He had been pretty certain thought that he was immune to the emotion of love between a man and a woman, that his Kryptonian heritage made it impossible for him to feel these emotions, but then he met Lois and it was safe to say that he was already in love with her.

"So, Clark, where exactly are you from?" Lois started the conversation. She thought this was a safe approach.

"Smallville, Kansas. I was raised on a farm…" Clark proceeded to tell Lois about his upbringing. He finished by saying, "I'll have to take you there some day."

Almost as soon as the statement was out of his mouth, Clark realized that he was being just a little too presumptuous, again. Why did he keep doing this? Lois just stared down at her wine to regain her bearings.

Then to Clark's surprise and Lois's, she replied simply, "I think I'd like that."

Clark just cleared his throat and pressed on. He dared not tamper with that statement just yet.

"Are you from Metropolis, born and raised?" Clark asked in an attempt to lighten the atmosphere and change the mood.

"Um, yes, born and raised. Got my BS in nursing from Metropolis University." Lois gave Clark somewhat of an abbreviated version of her childhood, without all of the painful details. She wasn't quite ready to dump that much of a load on such a sweet guy. She didn't want to run him off already. For some reason, Lois sort of trusted Clark and knew that she at least needed his friendship.

Lois and Clark chatted about just about everything. They were enjoying each others company so much. Clark hadn't felt that alive in probably forever. Clark was helping Lois to forget her painful past with Paul.

There was silence for a while. Clark could feel the air thicken when Lois talked about her childhood.

"So, are you all ready for the wedding tomorrow? I mean, have everything together?"

"Yes, I think so. I'm excited for Vicky and Bruce. You?"

"Yes, I am."

Lois was sitting next to Clark on the sofa, which was so much more comfortable than that thing that Lois called a sofa. She folded her legs up under her and rested her head on Clark's shoulder, sort of in an unsure gesture. Clark confirmed that he welcomed the gesture by bringing his arm up around Lois's shoulder, loosely, as not to wig her out. He wanted her to feel that she had a route of escape if she needed one. They seemed engrossed in the movie for a little bit as they sipped on their wine refills.

Clark suddenly drifted from the movie, like he was thinking really hard about something. Then, he started to speak again, almost as if he had to summon the courage. In the back of Clark's mind, he knew that someone, a guy, had hurt Lois and she was trying to keep it under wraps. He would give her a gentle nudge but he wouldn't push too hard.

"Lois, want to talk about it?" Clark asked with genuine concern in his voice.

"What?" Lois asked, looking up at Clark. She hadn't noticed his drifting off into deep thought.

"Lois, what happened in Metropolis? Why did you move here, to Gotham? Don't get me wrong, I mean…I'm glad you came. It's just that the best nurse anaesthesia program in the country is in Metropolis."

"I just needed…wanted a change, start over…new friends." Clark could feel the change in Lois's posture. She became stiff, her heart rate increased.

Clark slowly lifted Lois's chin with his index finger so that he could look into her eyes. When he had her eye contact for a few seconds, he placed his palm along her cheek. Then he started to speak again.

"Lois, Sweetheart, what did he do to you that hurt you so much that you're running away from me?" Clark spoke just above a whisper.

Lois looked up into Clark's brown eyes with those big doe eyes of hers. She suddenly had tears that just started to pour uncontrollably and her body shook in sobs. For once, Lois didn't try to hide her tears. She wasn't alone this time. Clark gathered her in his arms and just held her there whispering meaningless endearments into her hair. He didn't try to stop her tears. She would stop when she was done. All he wanted to do was hold her and make her bad dreams go away. As he held her, Clark found himself fighting back tears of his own. He had no idea how much damage had been done to Lois.

"Oh, God Lois, I want to understand. Please, help me to understand." Clark whispered to Lois as she cried in his arms.

When Lois's sobbing seemed to cease, Clark reached over to the end table and grabbed a few Kleenex for Lois's eyes and nose. He just continued to hold her in his arms. He knew that she'd talk when she was ready. Finally, Lois lifted her head from Clark's chest and started to speak. She started with the phone call that she got from Paul that one dreadful night at work. For the next thirty minutes or so, Lois told the story about hers and Paul's relationship. She explained that he was her first love and how it ended so tragically. She'd talk and cry, talk and cry some more. Clark never interrupted her. He just let her talk and held her when she cried.

When Lois was done, Clark just held her in his arms for a while. The way Clark held her, she felt so secure, protected…and loved? Surely he was just being a good friend.

Lois looked up into Clark's eyes and was moved by what she saw. Clark had unshed tears in his eyes. He tried to look away, but too late. Lois just put her head back down on his chest and hugged him back.

The Lethal Weapon movie had long ended and the TV had flipped back over to the local station, but both Lois and Clark were oblivious to it. When Clark thought he was okay to not break down, he started to speak again.

"Do you still love him, want to be with him?" Clark wasn't sure that he wanted to hear Lois's answer.

"No. At one point, I thought I wanted to be with him still, but not now. He cheated on me. I thought maybe I should have been willing to…make love…with him, after all I was going to marry him."

"Do you think that he would've stayed with you if you had? Lois, no! And if he was screwing around, he could have hurt you, you know, brought you some disease…you could have…" Clark was trying desperately to not be angry. After all, he had no claims on Lois.

"I don't know, Clark. Probably not."

"Probably not?" Clark started but quickly changed his course. "Listen, Lois, I think you are the most beautiful thing that I've ever seen, inside and out. You're smart and you're sweet and you're beautiful. Don't think for a moment that you are any of the negative things that he said. Last night, you almost took my breath away when I met you. He had to be demeaning to you to make himself look better, feel better. You're better than that, Lois. And he knows that. You probably intimidated him. He didn't deserve you." Almost in a whisper, he continued, "But you have to let yourself heal."

"Oh, Clark…"

"Don't worry. We'll get through this," Clark assured Lois as he hugged her again.

"We…Clark this isn't your problem. I can't ask…"

"Lois, just let me be here for you. Just talk to me, be honest with me, tell me what you're feeling. I promise, I won't ever leave you."

Lois could see the sincerity in Clark's eyes. She knew that he was true to his word.


Lois finally broke the eye contact and laid her head back on Clark's shoulder. He wasn't saying anything. He just kept his arm around her shoulders. He seemed now to be in deep thought. How could anyone be so cruel, especially to Lois? She was such a sweet person yet so emotionally fragile. But, she didn't need that jerk and he would be there for her to make sure that she got through this hurt. If he ever ran into that Paul guy…

Lois and Clark talked into the later evening. By midnight, they knew enough about each other that it seemed that they had known each other a lifetime. Of course Clark was still harboring that one little secret, Superman. He knew that if he planned to have a serious relationship with Lois he would eventually have to tell her. But not yet. Timing was essential for a secret as big as Superman.

Most of the time, Clark kept his arm around Lois's shoulder but occasionally would hold her hand instead. She would rest her head on his shoulder when he had his arm around her.

At about 1 o'clock, Lois noticed the time again and thought she should be heading back home.

"Clark, I need to be going. It's late and we have a big day tomorrow. I want to be well rested."

"Stay, Lois…"

Lois's eyes stretched.

"No…Lois…I mean…you can have my bed and I'll sleep here on the sofa. I just don't want you to be alone, tonight. I'd feel better if…I just…"

"Really, Clark, that's sweet, but I'm okay. And besides, I have your numbers and I'll call you if I need to," Lois assured him with a smile.

"Okay, then. But let me walk you home."

"Well…okay, if you insist," Lois said with a teasing smile.

Clark held an expression that was not so teasing when he answered, "I insist." Lois looked in his eyes and saw concern and…love?

Clark walked Lois home and then returned to his apartment. He wouldn't sleep again tonight, because he couldn't stop thinking about her. He wished that she had given in and stayed with him tonight…forever even, but after all, she was right. They had just met.

Clark finally turned in to bed. Just before he got comfortable, Clark tuned in his super senses to make sure that Lois was okay. As far as he could tell, she was peaceful, no tears this time. Surprisingly he then drifted off to sleep.

Lois got settled in her bed and thought of the most wonderful time she had ever had with anyone…this past day with Clark. He was so strong, but gentle. He waited and listened patiently. He was a good listener. He was kind and understanding. Lois just hoped that he was feeling the same things for her as she was beginning to feel for him. She was sleepy and tonight, for the first time in ten months, there were no tears as she drifted off to sleep.

It was Saturday and the wedding was at 1 o'clock. When Lois awakened, it was 8 o'clock. Again, she had had a very good night's sleep. She stretched and smiled when she thought of the day before. She knew she had to get up and make sure that everything was in order.

Lois got up and showered. Her gown was hanging on her closet door. She put hot curlers in her hair and made sure that her pearls were laid out.

Just across the street, Clark had had a surprisingly restful sleep. Superman had not been needed all night. He'd gone to sleep thinking about Lois and she was the first thing that he though of when he awakened. Clark was so looking forward to this wedding. It was his chance to see Lois again, dressed so beautifully. But then again, she was just as beautiful or more dressed in jeans or sweats.

Clark's tux was hanging on the closet hook and his cuff links were sitting on his dresser. The wedding was going to be at Wayne Manor and Bruce had a hired driver to be the transportation for his wedding party. Clark thought that maybe he should drive and ask Lois to come with him in his truck. He had planned to make it an early night, anyway, especially since Bruce and Vicky had early AM honeymoon plans. This way maybe he and Lois could have a little time together after the wedding and reception…

Lois wanted so badly to see Clark, to see him dress in his tuxedo. Now that she knew what lay beneath the suit, she figured that she would probably be struggling with inner lust for most of the evening.

Clark was doing some straightening up when his phone rang. It was nine thirty in the morning. Who could that be? Probably a call from the animal hospital.


"Hi…Clark…" a nervous female voice came on.

"Lois…hi…is everything okay?"

"Yeah…I was just wondering…if you don't mind…are you driving to the wedding today or are you utilizing Bruce's driver? I was planning to drive…and…but since you live near me…I can drive my Jeep…and I…" Lois stammered.

"Lois…umm…I would love to…for us to go together," Clark said nervously. "I was actually thinking that I was probably not going to be out late especially since Bruce and Vicky are leaving early in the morning for their honeymoon, and thought I had better drive so that I can leave when I'm ready…but if you want to stay later I wouldn't mind and…"

"Clark, you're rambling…" Lois responded with humour in her voice. "I was a little hesitant…didn't want to sound…too…I didn't want to impose on your plans." Lois finished with uncertainty in her voice.

"You didn't need…I'm glad you called," Clark assured Lois. "I was actually thinking of calling you and asking if you would like to come along with me."

"I'd love to," Lois answered simply.

"So, I'll see you at 12 noon?"

"Yeah, 12 noon…Bye, Clark."

"Bye, Lois."

At 12 noon Clark arrived at Lois's apartment to pick her up. When she answered the door, Clark gasped. Lois was even more beautiful than she was at dinner on Thursday night. She wore a faint coral colored satin gown that bore ¾ length sleeves and a V that went down her back to just above her waist. Her neck bore pearls with matching earrings and again she wore her hair up in a French roll with dangling ringlets framing her face. Her pumps were of an off white lace and she carried a single white rose.

When Lois saw Clark at the door with his black tuxedo, she too, gasped. He was so handsome standing there. His cummerbund was black with a black bow tie and a white shirt. His shoes of course were black patent leather. They stood in the threshold of the doorway in awe of each other. Clark spoke first.

"Lois, you look absolutely beautiful." It was just above a whisper.

Lois blushed then responded, "So do you."

"Ready?" Clark asked as he stuck out his elbow for Lois.

"Yes," Lois responded as she smiled and took Clark's arm.

When they got into Clark's truck Lois gently touched Clark's arm. Clark looked over at her.

"Clark, about last night…I'm sorry for falling apart on you. I…"

"Lois, it's okay. Any time you need to fall apart, I'll be there. Okay?"


They headed off to Wayne Manor.

Lois and Clark stood by as Vicky and Bruce made their vows to each other in front of about fifty guests. Neither of them knew, while they witnessed Bruce and Vicky exchanging vows with each other, that the other was imagining that it was the two of them getting married. But they both were. They would occasionally just glance over at each other and smile.

After Bruce and Vicky were officially married and were presented to their audience, they recessed to the ball room, smiling happily with Lois and Clark in tow.

Clark watched Bruce and Vicky recess from the room where the wedding was held and immediately looked over at Lois. He held out his hand for hers and she accepted. Together, hand in hand, they followed Bruce and Vicky out.

The reception was fabulous. Clark kept Lois close the whole evening. They danced exclusively with each other except when the best man had to dance with the bride. Bruce then took Lois as a partner.

Lois found very quickly that Clark was a great dancer. He always had his left arm around her waist and held her left hand with his right hand close to his chest. Lois kept her right hand on Clark's left shoulder and occasionally it would drift up to the nape of his neck. Once when Lois's hand drifted, Clark closed his eyes and let out a very soft unconscious moan. Lois wasn't quite sure what to think so she quickly moved her hand back to Clark's shoulder. Clark just opened his eyes and smiled down at her, to say that it was okay.

"So, Lois, Vicky and I were right on target to introduce you two, huh?" Bruce asked while he danced with Lois.

"Bruce! You…you and Vicky set us up?" Lois demanded in false anger.

"Yes…and?" Bruce replied with a big grin.

"Well, we'll see," was all that Lois would commit to.

Bruce just laughed. Across the floor, Vicky and Clark were having a similar conversation.

"So, Clark, what do you think of Lois?" Vicky asked, trying not to laugh out loud. She already knew the answer to that question.

"What do you mean," Clark asked with the deer in the headlights look.

"You love her don't you?" Vicky said trying to hold back her smile.

"Yes, busted. How'd you know?"

"Oh Bruce and I discussed it when you left here the other night. I told him you'd be great together."

"You did, did you?" Clark asked with mock anger.

"Oh, Clark, you belong together. Just be gentle with her…patient. She should tell you this but Paul, her ex jerk, did a number on her."

"I know. She told me. But she's gonna be okay. I promise that I won't ever hurt her or make her cry, intentionally," Clark said sincerely.

"I know, Clark. Bruce and I just want you two to be as happy as we are together. You two mean a lot to us."

When Clark and Lois ended up back together, dancing, they related their respective conversations with the bride and groom. Of course Clark didn't tell Lois that he told Vicky that he loved her. They found it quite peculiar that they were the only ones who didn't know that they had been set up.

Shortly thereafter, Lois and Clark said goodnight. It was 6 o'clock then.

Clark and Lois arrived back at Lois's apartment. Clark dropped her off to change and he went home to get more comfortable. The plan was for Lois to come over when she got changed.

A few minutes later, Lois was knocking at Clark's door. Clark opened the door and welcomed Lois in. He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt that Lois thought looked almost better than the tuxedo did. Lois wore jeans and a button down sweater.

Lois came in and sat on the couch. Clark sat beside her. He popped open a bottle of wine that he had had in the refrigerator since that morning and poured two glasses. Neither of them were hungry because they had eaten considerably at the reception.

As Lois and Clark sipped on their wine, they started to talk about school starting in January and Christmas rapidly approaching. Clark had cancelled his plans to go to Smallville for Christmas since Lois was new at the hospital and would have to work Christmas Eve. He would fly over to see his parents briefly, while Lois was at work but planned to be back before she got off work at 3 o'clock. He would try to get Lois to Smallville maybe for New Years.

"So, Clark, what do you want Santa to bring you?" Lois asked innocently.

"That's easy, Lois." At the risk of losing everything he had established with Lois, Clark decided to go for it. He first took his wine glass and sat it on the table then took Lois's wine glass and sat it on the table next to his. Then he grasped both of her small hands with his much larger ones which demanded eye contact. Then he said, "I want you to go out with me, on a date. And I'd like to take you to Smallville to meet my parents."

At the look on Lois's face Clark added, "Lois I'd never do anything to hurt you or make you cry intentionally."

"I…I…" Lois started, but Clark interrupted her with his lips slowly and softly touching hers and expressing his feelings in a passionate but non demanding kiss. Lois quickly succumbed to Clark's passion. She threw caution to the wind and kissed him back with all of the suppressed passion that had been building for the past few months.

Clark was a wonderful kisser. Lois thought she had never been kissed like that before. She thought she was seeing stars. Clark thought the same…that Lois was a great kisser and he could very easily get used to kissing her.

After Lois reluctantly broke the kiss due to lack of air, Clark spoke. Initially he seemed out of breath.

"You don't have to answer right now," Clark whispered to Lois. But then he amended, kidding, "But my birthday is in February."

Lois just blushed and looked away. Clark gracefully guided her face back to look at him and raised his eyebrows at her as if to silently ask for an answer.

"Clark I don't know…I don't know what to say…"

"Say yes…"

Lois smiled, then said, "I think so. I just need some time."

"All right."

Clark leaned over and kissed her again. This time it was a slow kiss that relayed Clark's patience. It told Lois that he would take it slow, be patient with her; wait for her as long as she needed him to.

Clark slowly pulled away from that kiss. He looked dizzy, like he had to gain his bearings. After recovering from that kiss he then asked, "Lois, what do you want from Santa?"

Lois first sighed, then proceeded, "I don't know Clark. Christmas has never been a happy time at my house. My parents were always fighting, my Dad always had a mistress on the side to spend the day with, my mom would get drunk and my sister was too young to know any better so I tried to make sure that she had a good Christmas."

"Lois, there has to be something…"

"I guess I just want someone to love me unconditionally, accept me and all of my flaws, be there for me, struggle with me. But, Santa can't bring that in his sleigh now can he?"

"I wouldn't doubt Santa if I were you," Clark kidded Lois.

The couple sat close and made plans to get a Christmas tree. They would decorate it in Clark's apartment because it was so much cozier and more like home.

Ten days later it was Wednesday, Christmas Eve night and Lois had worked until 3 o'clock. She had the rest of the weekend off. Clark was off, too. Clark had gone to Smallville earlier as he had promised his parents and returned by the time Lois got home from work.

After Lois showered and changed from her work scrubs, she got the present that she had bought for Clark and headed over to his apartment. They had been seeing each other every day, after work. They had dinner together most of those days and they always cuddled up on the couch at Clark's apartment and talked or made out. Clark had never demanded any more from Lois during their make out sessions. He always let her take the lead. But that didn't mean that she didn't stir up emotions in him that were totally new.

Clark opened the door as Lois approached. He heard her coming. She wondered how he always did that, which was another issue. He needed to tell her about Superman in order for their relationship to start out right. He was going to ask her tonight if they could be exclusive and if she said yes, he was going to tell her about Superman.

"Hi, come in."

"Hi…" Lois started as Clark leaned over and kissed her on the lips.

"I have some hot chocolate for us as we decorate the tree."

Lois removed her jacket and took a spot next to Clark to decorate the Christmas tree. They talked and laughed. After the tree was decorated, Clark went to make sure that Christmas dinner was doing okay in the oven. When he got back, Lois had fallen asleep on the couch. Clark effortlessly picked her up and carried her into his bedroom and laid her on his bed. It was a cold evening and they were supposed to get some snow in Gotham so he pulled the covers up around her. Before he turned off the lights he kissed Lois on the forehead and quietly said, "I love you Lois," as he headed back to the living room. He would wake her up at about 9 o'clock if she didn't wake up on her own.

Lois opened her eyes and looked around. She couldn't quite place the soft cocoon she was lying in. Then she smelled something wonderful cooking. As she looked around she started to remember that she had fallen asleep at Clark's and that she must be in his bed…his bed! Lois jumped up and went out into the living room looking for Clark. He was sitting on the couch with his back to her looking at a Christmas cartoon. Almost as if he sensed her presence, he looked around and smiled. It was almost time for him to go and wake her. He patted the couch next to him for Lois to sit. She obliged.

"How was your nap?"

"Wonderful. Your bed is so comfortable."

"I'm glad you slept well," Clark said as he placed his arm around Lois's shoulders.

The couple laughed and talked until midnight. Then Clark got up and pulled Lois up to standing with him. He reached under the tree and handed her a small box with jewelry store wrapping on it and a pink bow. She gave Clark a questioning look but he just smiled and encouraged her to open it.

When Lois opened the box he mouth fell open and her eyes started to tear. There in her hands were the platinum one karat diamond earrings that she had wanted for so long.

"How did you know?" Lois squeezed out while fighting tears, happy tears.


"Thank you, Clark. They are beautiful."

"So are you, Sweetheart."

At that last remark, Lois could no longer dam the tears, but for once these were happy tears. She kissed Clark and then handed him her gift.

Clark opened his small jewelry sized box and was elated to see a white gold Seiko watch.

"Thank you, honey…how did…"


The two hugged each other and laughed together.

"Oh, I have something else for you…"

"Lois, honey, you didn't have to…"


"I'm sorry…I…"

Lois interrupted Clark's attempted explanation with a kiss.

"I sort of like it."

Clark just smiled.

"Oh…your other gift…"

"Honey, you shouldn't have…"

"I am ready to go out with you and meet your parents…" Lois continued.

"And I have what you asked Santa for…I want to be that person who loves you unconditionally, flaws and all, who will always be there for you. But Lois I don't want to share you with anyone else. I have to say that I only want this if we can be…you know…exclusive to each other." Lois answered Clark with a wide smile that surely included her eyes this time, and a passionate kiss that relayed confirmation.

Breathlessly, after reluctantly breaking away from that kiss, Clark said, "I'll take that as a yes."

"Yes," Lois simply replied.

"But there is something else that you should know." Clark cleared his throat nervously. "I'm…" Clark decided against finishing his sentence and decided to show Lois instead.

Clark stepped back and started to spin until Clark disappeared and Superman appeared. Lois got that 'deer in the headlights' look and Clark saw fresh unshed tears in Lois's eyes. Clark was afraid that Lois was going to reject him, be afraid of him. But instead, she just held out her hand to him silently asking for him to take it. He pulled her in for a hug instead and just above a whisper said, "I want to be with you, if you'll still have me." Lois didn't resist. She just hugged Clark tighter.

"You're Superman, Clark. You can have anyone…why would you want me?" Lois said as she hugged Clark. "I want to be with you, too. I'm just afraid…of getting hurt again. I don't…I just don't know if I could survive another…"

"I will never hurt you on purpose," Clark assured Lois. "Honey, I love you. There's not anyone else that I want. Before I met you I thought I was incapable of loving someone, the way a man and a woman love each other. But then you changed all of that."

"I love you, too, all of you," Lois added smiling through tears. "I guess the next thing you'll tell me is that Bruce is Batman."

Clark didn't say anything. He just got that 'deer in the headlights' look. Lois saw his expression.

"No…Bruce is Bat…"

Clark just kissed Lois to make her stop talking.

"Bruce is my friend Lois. I wouldn't want to betray his trust either."

Lois read between the lines, took that as a 'yes' and moved on to asking Clark about his Kryptonian heritage. Clark was relieved to get through that ordeal and it really didn't turn out so bad. He knew her deepest secrets and she knew his.

Lois and Clark ate some of their Christmas feast. Lois decided at about 2 o'clock that she should be going home. Clark placed his hand on her arm.

"Lois, please stay…with me this time."

"Clark I can't…I…"

"It's Christmas and…I won't ask you to do anything that we're not ready for. I just want to be with you."

"I…okay," Lois said nervously.

"I'll take the couch and you can have my bed."


Clark gave Lois one of his tee shirts to sleep in. Though it fit Clark perfectly, it came down almost to Lois's knees. She kissed Clark goodnight and got back into his comfortable bed. Clark made a place on the couch and soon dozed off. He thought to himself that all of his dreams had come true.

"Please, Clark, you promised. Why are you doing this?" Lois cried, sobbed. Clark had been asleep for all of about thirty minutes when he was awakened by Lois's cry. He jumped up from the couch and ran to his bedroom. He saw Lois crying while still asleep and reaching…for someone?

"Clark…I can't do this again…"

Clark sat on the bed beside Lois and gently lifted her into his arms and awakened her gently with calming words of nonsense.

"Lois, baby I'm here. Wake up. I'm not leaving…not going anywhere."

Slowly Lois opened her eyes. She first seemed disoriented and looked around the room. Then it seems that it suddenly dawned on her where she was. She then wrapped her arms around Clark's torso and hugged him tight.

"I…I'm sorry, Clark," Lois started, stifling sobs. "I guess I was having a nightmare."

"It's okay. I'm right here, honey," Clark consoled as he held Lois in his arms and rocked with her.

He sat and held her there until she quieted down and appeared to go back to sleep. He gently tried to slide his arm from under her to lay her back in the bed when she opened her eyes and tightened her hold around his torso.


"Clark, please don't go, stay in here with me."

Clark at first seemed uncertain, but then agreed. He slid into his bed next to Lois and she laid her head in the crook of his shoulder. He involuntary brought his arm around her shoulders and his other arm went around her waist. He kissed her in her hair as she dozed back off to sleep. Clark waited to see if Lois would have another nightmare soon after she fell asleep, but she didn't. At that moment he didn't know if he'd ever be able to sleep without her again.

Christmas morning at about 8 o'clock Lois opened her eyes. She felt like she was in that cocoon again, but this time it was softer and warmed. She looked up into Clark's face. His eyes were still closed but as she stared at him they opened.

"Morning, Sweetheart. Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas to you, too."

"Did you sleep well?"

"Oh…did I!"

"No more nightmares?"


"Ready for some breakfast?"

"No. I just want to lay here for a bit. I don't know if I'll be able to go back to my…my routine…you've spoiled me." Lois realized that she was about to reveal just a little too much ammunition and abruptly changed her statement. Clark recognized the diversion. He just looked at her and smiled as he tucked her hair behind her ear.

"Sounds good to me. Oh, it's snowing."

"How do you know?"

Clark just pointed to his eyes. Lois thought that this super stuff was going to take a lot of getting used to.

The couple stayed snuggled in bed and talked and cuddled for a while then reluctantly got up. Lois went home to shower and dress then came right back.

Lois and Clark spent Christmas day together, watching movies and eating off and on. There were a few minutes where they stood at the window and held hands while they watched the snow fall. They had talked to the Kents by phone earlier during the day and assured them that they would be there for New Years.

Lois had never been this happy, even with Paul. There was just something about Clark that was different.

Christmas day came to a close much too soon. When Lois started to yawn, Clark got up and led her to the bedroom.

"You are staying aren't you?" Clark asked with pleading eyes.

Lois looked up at Clark with a smile and gave him a slight nod of approval. Clark just hugged her. God, he didn't ever want her to go back across the street and if it were up to him, she wouldn't.

"I love you, Clark," Lois said nervously.

"Oh, God, Lois. You just don't know how much I've wanted to hear you say those words. I love you, too."

Lois just smiled and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. She went to the bathroom and got changed then she got in bed and scooted over to the other side. She patted the mattress next to her as an invitation for Clark to come to bed with her.


Clark first hesitated, uncertain, then said, "Yes. I just want you to know something. I love falling asleep with you in my arms. Your beautiful face is the last thing I see before I close my eyes and the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning. I don't want you to ever feel like you *have* to give more."

"I know."

Clark smiled then went off to the bathroom to change into his sleep boxers. Lois and Clark snuggled like they did the night before and were soon off to sleep.

Lois and Clark spent their nights together until Monday morning when they had to get back to work. There was a lot of intimacy but without sex. Superman was needed a couple of times but Clark always reassumed his post in the bed next to Lois.

Wednesday, New Years Eve came and Lois and Clark headed to Smallville via Superman Express. Martha and Jonathan were at the door when they arrived.


"Hi, Mrs. Kent…it's so good to meet you."

"Martha, honey…and we are so glad to have you. Clark has told us so much about you," Martha finished as she hugged Lois. "Oh, and this is Jonathan, Clark's father."

Jonathan, too, hugged Lois and welcomed her to the Kent's farm.

Throughout their visit, Lois learned why Clark was so…Clark. It was his parents, his upbringing. They were so open and loving.

"Lois, dear let me show you where you're sleeping. Clark can have the sofa, unless you two are…"


"No…Mom…" Lois and Clark said in unison. "Lois has spent the night but we haven't…" Clark finished with a hand gesture.

Lois looked over at Clark and he had that look of 'please help me' on his face.

"Well, honey, I'll leave that up to you two."

Clark gave Lois the Kent farm tour and related stories about his upbringing. Martha cooked the most wonderful meal and they sat around the table and talked like a real family after dinner.

When the count down started, Clark sat next to Lois on the couch. Martha and Jonathan stood close by. When the ball fell and it was the next year, Clark shared a kiss of promise and future with Lois.

"Happy New Year," Clark whispered to Lois just before he leaned over and kissed her.

"Happy New Year."

Martha and Jonathan just smiled and exchanged glances with each other. They knew that their boy loved Lois Lane and she loved him.

After the four made a quick champagne toast, Lois went up to Clark's room to bed. Clark stayed on the couch just because it was his parents' house. He hadn't slept beside Lois since Sunday night and he was missing her. He snuggled into his makeshift bed and closed his eyes. Then he heard a faint, "I love you Clark," coming from his bedroom upstairs. He just smiled and went off to sleep. Lois knew that he would hear her.

It was spring and Lois and Clark were still spending most of their spare time with each other. Lois would stay at his apartment three or four nights a week. Clark had wanted to ask her to marry him and just move in permanently, but he wanted to take things slowly for her sake. They had only been dating for 5 months and it had been just over a year since Paul. Clark didn't want to overwhelm her.

It was April and Superman had been called out for a rescue. He arrived at the same place where he first found Bruce wounded. But there was no one who appeared to be in distress. Just as he was about to fly away, four teenagers approached him.

"Yo Supes, Back off of the Bay operation. The boss doesn't like it when his product doesn't move. We'd hate for the same thing to happen to you that uh… happened to Batman."

"Are you threatening me? You can't hurt me," Superman threatened.

"Oh, but your girlfriend Lois Lane…the things that I can do to her…if you don't back off!"

"I don't have a girlfriend…she's Clark Kent's girlfriend."

"Oh, then you must be sharing her because we've seen how you look at her. Just keep in mind; there is a man on her every move at all times. You interfere, Lois may… get hurt."

Clark was so mad and so afraid for Lois that he flew off to find her. Clark found Lois safe and studying at her apartment. Lois wondered why Clark seemed so freaked out.

"Clark, what's wrong?" His whole presentation was scaring Lois.

"Lois, has anything unusual happened to you today or recently? Have you noticed anyone following you or acting suspicious?" Clark was clearly frightened.

"Clark what's wrong? I've never seen you like this."

"Lois! Answer me!" Clark yelled.

"No…no…why? What's wrong with you?"

Clark sat and related the event in question to Lois. She promised him that she would always be careful and try to stay with a crowd at all times. That wasn't good enough for Clark. He would personally watch over her as much as possible.

The couple of weeks were uneventful even though Superman and Batman were making progress with taking the Bay operation under. Clark seemed to be everywhere. He saw Lois off to school and back home. He saw her off to work and back home. He insisted that either he stayed with her or she with him every night. At first Lois thought that it was sweet, the way he cared for her, but then she became annoyed with him.

"Listen Clark, we need to talk. I'm okay. I promise you, I'll yell if something…"

"Lois, I think we need to talk, too," Clark cut her off. "I love you way too much to allow something to happen to you…because of me or because of something that Batman and Superman are up against." Clark had the grace to look away from Lois.

"What are you saying?" Lois asked as a sheet of tears surfaced in her eyes.

"I think you know," Clark whispered, sadly. "We can't be together anymore. I can't put you in danger all of the time. It would kill me if something happened to you."

"You promised me…promised that you wouldn't leave…that you'd never hurt me…" Lois sobbed violently.

"…intentionally…and Lois this is not intentionally to hurt you. It's to possibly save your life." Clark was desperately fighting tears himself.

"So is Bruce going to leave Vicky every time things get dangerous for Batman?" Lois asked defiantly.

"Lois…" was all Clark could whisper, with his bottom lip clearly trembling and his nose getting red. He was desperately trying not to break down in front of Lois.

Lois just turned away from him, shaking from her sobs. She vaguely heard the swoosh of Clark flying away.

Clark couldn't stand himself for what he had done to Lois. Truly she was never going to be the same after this. She trusted him and he hurt her, just like Paul did.

Clark had been flying around aimlessly for hours, thinking. Somehow though, he ended up in Smallville.

Lois finally dropped to her knees sobbing. She didn't know what to do. Clark had pursued her and she had fallen in love with him after she thought that she would never love again. Why didn't she stick to her guns and not attempt another relationship. Tonight would likely be the beginning of many months of her crying herself to sleep again after a five-month dry run.

Lois began to think that just like Paul, Clark never loved her. He was just playing those country boy manners until he got inside of her defenses only to break her heart, again. Maybe since she hadn't shown any signs of wanting to start a sexual relationship with him, like Paul, he'd bailed and this Bay operation thing was just convenient. But she had to say that at least he bailed in six months rather than almost two years. At least he didn't waste that much of her time.

Martha saw Clark's expression as he came in from the porch.

"Honey, what's wrong?"

"I broke up with Lois, Mom."

"You what?" Surely Martha thought she hadn't heard Clark right. "What happened? You have a fight…"

"No, Mom. It's just too dangerous for her, the stuff that Superman is involved with now. I just couldn't take it if…"

"Clark, honey, I really think you should have thought this through. Did you discuss this with her…hear what she wants to do? Do you have any idea what this is probably doing to her right now, especially after what you said about her previous relationship and her trust issues?"

"No, Mom, I just told her that I love her but I thought it was too dangerous for us to be together," Clark revealed, just above a whisper with tears threatening again. "I hurt her, again Mom, after I promised her that I wouldn't."

Martha just hugged her boy to her chest as he shook with sobs. This was the start of the healing process though she knew that the best this wound would get would be a bandage. She knew that Clark would never get over Lois.

"Clark, I'm not trying to tell you what to do but I think you should go find her and talk to her. I know that she loves you and well you've just got to trust her to make her own decisions, honey."

"Mom, I want to but I just can't right now. There are hard criminals out there who will use her to get to me."

Martha realized that Clark was going to have to come to an understanding on his own terms because regardless of what she said, he was not thinking rationally. He didn't seem to see that even if they weren't together, he'd still try to protect her, love her and worry about her. Nothing else would change.

For the next couple of weeks, Lois just moped around her apartment. She went to school and work and back home. Clark would occasionally catch a glimpse of her in her comings and goings. She looked so sad, even sadder than when he'd first met her. She looked pale and unhealthy. He knew that she wasn't sleeping well because he would hear her at night in the shower crying. Her crying would continue once she got to bed until she would finally doze off to a restless sleep, just as she had when he first met her. The last cognitive verbalization that Lois would make every night before finally succumbing to her nightmares was, 'I love you, Clark'. He would hear her every time. Somehow, he thought she knew that he would hear her declaration. Witnessing this was slowly killing Clark.

Lois thought that if she could just avoid seeing Clark, she would get over him faster. If she saw him before he saw her she would make a quick detour. She just didn't feel that she could face him right now. She painted her face every morning with makeup to hide the dark circles under her eyes and the tear streaked evidence of her nightly crying.

May had come around pretty fast and the semester was winding down, thankfully for Lois's sake. She really needed this break from school. She and Clark had been broken up for a month and had managed to not see each other except at a distance. Clark would be graduating from his residency in August. Though he and Lois had never talked about it, she figured that he would be going back to Kansas where there would surely be lots of business for him. Once he left it would be a lot easier to get over him.

Clark still watched over Lois. He made sure that she was always safe. He had started to do his surgical rotation at GGH and would have a more probable chance of running into her. He braced himself daily for his course of action if he did.

Clark was trying desperately to get through his surgical rotation. He was pretty much in a mechanical state except when he was watching over Lois. The mechanical state helped to keep his emotions under control.

On one occasion during Clark's routine walk to GGH, he heard her…her heartbeat. He looked up and there she was, Lois at a distance where he could see and hear her but she couldn't see him. Another young man approached her as she walked down the stairs at the hospital's entrance. Clark wasn't sure about this guy so he tuned in his super hearing.

"Hi, Lois? Right?" David asked as he and Lois were approaching each other's paths.

"Yes. Hi…" Lois returned. She was carrying books in her arms as she walked.


Lois just stared at him. David then gently touched her arm and Lois very abruptly withdrew from his touch, hugging her books tighter to her chest, and then looking away from him.

"Um…you're in my assessment class, Lois, and I was going to ask you if I could get your notes from yesterday for the final. You see, my wife had the baby two days ago and I missed class, you know, to be with her. And, well, I just wondered…"

"Oh, yes. Here you go…" Lois said reaching into her notebook.

"I'll just copy them and bring them back to you in the…Peds ICU right?'


"Thanks, Lois. You're a life saver."

"Sure. Oh and congratulations, David, on your new baby."


Clark heard the conversation and saw Lois's body language and cringed. He had done that to her.

Lois knew that Bruce and Vicky's baby was due at the end of June so it really surprised her when she got a call from Vicky on June 8th to say that she and Bruce had a new baby boy. She had asked Lois to stop by her hospital room whenever she got a chance to. Lois agreed.

Lois walked into Vicky's hospital suite after knocking. When she walked in there was Vicky holding little Thomas Bruce Wayne who weighed in at 6lb 8oz. He was a beautiful dark haired bright-eyed baby who seemed so full of life. Vicky had just finished nursing him. Bruce sat on the edge of the bed, clearly a proud father.

Lois walked over to the bed and hugged Vicky. She hadn't seen her in a couple of months. She had called her occasionally to see if she was okay but had not told her about Clark. It just didn't feel right to burden Vicky with her life's problems during her pregnancy.

"Congratulations, you two. He's beautiful," Lois said to Vicky.

"Just like his mother." Bruce interjected.

Vicky just smiled.

Lois sat and she and Vicky talked and laughed. Vicky and Bruce could clearly tell that there was something going on because Lois's heart wasn't in the conversation. Bruce and Vicky exchanged knowing glances.

Vicky would take a stab at it.

"Want to talk about it?"

"Talk about what," Lois asked innocently.

"What's troubling you? You're just not…not right."

"No…nothing," Lois responded flatly.

"How is Clark?"

With that question, Lois looked first at Bruce then at Vicky and her eyes started to tear. Vicky thought, "Bingo!"

"I haven't talked to Clark in about six weeks. He…he bbbroke up with me."

"He what!" Bruce yelled. "Why?"

"I can't Bruce. I can't…"

Vicky just looked perplexed. What Lois didn't know is that Vicky had figured out while talking to Bruce one night that Clark was Superman. Bruce had neither acknowledged it nor denied it. Vicky thought along the lines that Superman had something to do with their breakup. Vicky gave Bruce that knowing look that she would give him to indicate that she'd discuss it with him later. Bruce gave Vicky a very subtle nod of understanding.

"Vicky can I hold him?" Lois asked, referring to Thomas in an attempt to divert the conversation.

"Of course you can," Vicky assured Lois as she handed her the newest Wayne.

Lois went over to the sofa and sat down. She just looked at Thomas and smiled as she touched his little fingers and toes. She talked to him and rocked him. She promised him lots of adventure when he was older. She promised him that she would always be there to give his parents a hand when needed. Bruce gently grasped Vicky's hand and they just smiled at Lois.

Just then there was a knock at the door. Bruce yelled, "Come in."

Clark was surprised when Bruce called and told him that Vicky had delivered their baby. He assured Bruce that he would handle the streets tonight so that he could spend some daddy time with Vicky and Thomas. He'd also promised to stop by and see them at the hospital. He had roses for Vicky and bubble gum cigars for Bruce. He was so excited for them. Before Clark knew it he was at Vicky's hospital room door. He knocked gently.

He heard Bruce say, "Come in."

Clark opened the door and started into the room only to be stopped in his tracks. There to his right was Lois sitting on the couch holding little Thomas looking so mother-like. A whirlwind of emotions attacked him all at once. Lois looked so beautiful sitting there. He very easily imagined her holding their baby and being so motherly to it. And it seemed to come so natural to her. Clark heard Lois's heart rate speed up.

Lois looked up as Clark entered the door. She wasn't quite sure what to do. Her heart started to race and she started to feel claustrophobic. Clark was so handsome standing there. God how she still love him so much. Just then Thomas spit up a little bit of milk and brought Lois's attention back to the present.

Bruce and Vicky just sat and watched the exchange of looks that went between Lois and Clark. Then Clark broke the silence.

"Hi Vicky…Bruce. Congratulations," Clark said as he shook Bruce's hand and handed him the box of blue bubble gum cigars. "Oh, and Vicky these are for you," He finished as he handed Vicky the dozen of blue roses and gently pecked her on the cheek.

Then almost on autopilot, Clark picked up a few baby sponges and went over to Lois on the couch and kneeled in front of her. He looked into her eyes and very softly said, "Hi," as he helped Lois to blot away the baby's spit up.

"Hi," Lois responded just above a whisper. "Thank you," Lois finished as she fixed Thomas's blankets back and gently rested her hand on him. Clark seemingly unconsciously rested his hand on Lois's. He seemed to be preoccupied with looking at her, trying to silently will her to understand what was in his eyes.

Clark wanted Lois to see how much he loved her and missed her. He knew that his emptiness showed in his eyes. But he still thought it to be too dangerous for them to be together.

Vicky and Bruce just silently looked at each other then back at the other couple. Boy this encounter couldn't have been any more perfect if they had planned it.

Lois shyly looked away from Clark and started fidgeting. She started to stand and Clark stood too to help her balance with the baby in her arms. He put his arm around her waist.

"Guys, I've really got to get back to work. I just took a little break." Lois preceded in Vicky's direction to hand her back the baby. But Clark reached out beside her and said, "Here, I'll take him." Lois passed Thomas.

"Vicky, Bruce, congratulations again. I'll stop by later, okay."

"Sure," Vicky and Bruce said in unison. "Oh, Lois, before you go, since we've got the two of you here together, Vicky and I wanted to ask you two to be Thomas's God-parents. Would you grace our lives with this simple gesture?"

Lois looked at Clark and he looked back at Lois. He gave a subtle nod of affirmation. Lois then said, "I'd be honoured."

Clark added, "So would I."

Lois proceeded out of the door and yelled behind her, "See you guys and congratulations again!" Clark could detect the false happiness in Lois's departure.

When the door closed behind Lois Bruce walked over to Clark and whispered, "I'll take Thomas. You go after her."

Clark turned his back to Vicky and said to Bruce, "I can't. She's in the bathroom…crying. It's killing me, Bruce. I can't…" His voice was starting to crack.

Bruce decided to divert the conversation until he could talk to Clark more extensively.

"So, Clark, remember the proposition that I wanted to discuss with you that day you came to my office?"

"Yeah. What was it?"

"Well, I need a research person at Wayne Enterprises, preferably with a strong biology background. I didn't know what your plans were for practicing after residency, but I wanted to offer you, first, the position of Director of biological research. Actually, I created the position for you, hoping that you'd stay around. And it would give you freedom…flexibility…" Bruce finished, raising his eyebrows in an emphasizing motion. "$350,000 per year…"

"Bruce, the money doesn't…"

"I know Clark. I just wanted it to be worth your while, make it comparable to what you'd make in private practice…"

"Yeah, if I were in Hollywood."

"What will it take?"

"Well, I thought of going back to Metropolis with Lois when she graduates, but since…" Clark emphasized with a wave of his hand.

"I could use you at the Metropolis office if you'd prefer."

Clark first sighed as if in deep thought then said, "Okay, Bruce, it's a deal," Clark said as he shook Bruce's hand. "Thank you for thinking of me."

"Clark, you've been a great friend, one of three people that I trust completely. I know you won't let me down."

Clark stayed around for another half hour or so and then left. Bruce could tell that he was still very confused about the Lois situation.

Late into the night after Vicky was asleep, Bruce left the hospital briefly. Batman had someone to see.

Superman was sitting on the Statue of Colossus that stood in the center of Gotham Park. He had his cape wrapped around him, clearly in deep thought. Clark was not aware of someone approaching him. Then a familiar baritone voice stole his attention from his thoughts.

"My best friend once told me, 'She's an adult. Try her and let her make her own decisions.'"

"I know that she still loves me and I love her but I've hurt her so badly, for so long. She'd never give me another chance now."

"You'll never know unless you to go after her. She was hurting today. You were so close, but so far…I'm learning from Vicky," Bruce finished humorously.

Clark giggled a little.

"From what I know about Lois, she's going to have her defenses up for a while but you've got to show her that you're in it for the long haul," Bruce said as he patted Clark on the shoulder.

Clark sighed then said, "It's too late tonight. I'll talk to her tomorrow. Thanks, man."

"Just a friend trying to help a friend…"

Clark turned to shake Bruce's hand but he was gone. Clark just giggled to himself. There it was. He'd find Lois tomorrow and apologize to her for causing her so much pain. He would tell her how much he loved her and missed her and wanted her back in his life forever.

Most of the next day Clark was busy in the pig lab and only managed to get a very quick break. As much as he wanted to see her he didn't once run into Lois. By early afternoon, he had decided it best to just wait and talk to her at home. That would be better anyway because they could have the uninterrupted privacy that Clark wanted.

Suddenly the day wasn't moving fast enough. Clark couldn't wait to see Lois. When he had seen her at the hospital visiting Bruce and Vicky, he could see that she still loved him. Besides, she said it every night. Clark acknowledged to himself that he loved Lois just as much as she loved him.

It was 4 o'clock when Lois was leaving the unit to head home. It had been a long day. There had been lots of admissions of really sick kids. For the first time in a long time Lois was tired. At least being tired would insure her of falling off to sleep very quickly tonight and maybe escaping her nightly cry.

The elevator door chimed announcing its arrival to the third floor and the doors opened. Lois got on and pressed the button to the first floor. She prayed that the elevator didn't stop and she could just get home. But to Lois's chagrin, the elevator did not follow her mental instructions. The box halted on the second floor to allow a passenger on.

The door opened to the elevator and a gentleman stepped on. Lois was just sort of staring at the floor wishing the elevator to the first floor. Just as the doors closed the gentleman said hello and Lois looked up to return the greeting. To Lois's surprise she looked up into the eyes of the last person she ever expected to see in Gotham. What business could he possibly have here?



"Fancy meeting you here. Well, how are you?" Paul asked with saccharine in his voice.

"I'm doing great." Lois forced a smile. "We've just been busy today and I'm a little tired." She quickly did a self-check. The emotions that she thought would surface upon seeing Paul again didn't show themselves. She actually felt indifferent towards him.

"So…how did you end up here in Gotham? New job? New boyfriend?" Paul coughed. Then he said as if remembering, "Oh, yeah, you got into anaesthesia school here!"

"Yeah, anaesthesia school," Lois confirmed.

The elevator door chimed and Lois and Paul got off.

"Well, Paul, it's been good to see you again, but I've gotta go. I've got some studying to do and I'm just exhausted."

Paul couldn't believe that Lois wasn't crawling all over him, begging him back. She actually seemed indifferent. Lois's reaction or lack there of was really bothering him. It actually made him feel somewhat uncomfortable.

"Uh, Lois, I just want to say that…well…I'm sorry for the way things happened, the things that I said to you. You really didn't deserve that. I'm sorry, really." Paul seemed sincere.

"Paul, you don't owe me any apologies. I've gotten past it all. I've moved on with my life. See, I'm in anaesthesia school now."

"Let me make it up to you, Lois. You said that you're tired. I know you don't feel up to cooking…well I know that you don't cook." Paul smiled. "Have dinner with me tonight. No strings. Just let me…I owe you that much."

"Paul, you don't owe me anything. I think I'll just go home and go to bed. I'm…"

"Please, Lois…a peace offering. Or do you have someone who is going to get jealous and cause a big commotion…" Paul asked with some acid in his voice.

"No, Paul, I don't have anyone…that's going to get upset if I…" Lois quickly amended. Paul was sharp and caught the faux pas.

"Then…for old times…" Paul held out his hand to Lois.

Lois didn't take his hand but said, "Okay, Paul. But this is goodbye. I guess I owe you a proper goodbye." She didn't take his hand. "I have to go home and shower and change."

"Give me directions and I'll pick you up in say…an hour?"

"No. I'll meet you. Where?"

"Lois, you don't trust me do you?"

Lois didn't answer. She just stared at Paul, looking impatient.

"Arrington's. Is that okay? Or would you like to go some place else?"

"Sure. I'll meet you there in an hour."

With that Lois walked away, to her car. What had she just done? She was about to dine with the devil. She summed up that the only reason that she agreed to have dinner with him in the first place was mainly because she was lonely. She felt a need to say good- bye to him in a proper way, too. She needed closure. But then again, why did she owe him proper when he hadn't given her the same respect. Whatever. It would at least get her mind off of Clark temporarily.

Once at home Lois showered and changed clothes. She didn't want to dress in any way to make Paul think that she wanted anything more from him than what she had stated. After putting on a little makeup to hide her tiredness…and loneliness Lois was off to meet Paul.

Clark had been waiting for Lois to get home so that he could go over and talk to her. He was finally going to lay it all on the line and ask…her to marry him? Where did that thought come from?

Clark walked over to Lois's apartment to find her not there. He stood outside of her door in the hallway wondered where she could be. She was due home from work a little after four. He thought that maybe she had to run an errand and he'd just missed her. Maybe she went to her favorite place at the park to be alone. She was spending a lot of time there lately.

Clark would sometimes fly over that park and see her staring out into space deep in thought. She always seemed so sad and preoccupied. Occasionally he'd witnessed a tear roll down her cheek. Sometimes she'd wipe it away and other times she seemed oblivious to the fact that she was crying. Oh, how Clark wished he could just go down to her and wipe her tears away, tell her that it was going to be okay, tell her that he loved her, still, that he'd be there for her…ask her to be his wife.

He realized that he had hurt her so badly. He had to, like Bruce had told him let her decide for herself if she wanted that life with Superman…with him. He was so much in love with her. How could he have been so stupid? He saw how guarded she was when he first met her, so why had he taken the chance and betrayed her trust. She didn't seem to trust easily. If the situation hadn't shown its ugly face, he would have asked her to marry him by now. He knew that he loved her and that she at least *had* loved him, too. But, somehow now, he didn't think that love was the issue.

When Clark realized that he'd been standing outside of Lois's apartment for a while, thinking, he finally left to go and look for her. First he went to her favorite place in the park. Lois's preferred spot was rather secluded by the wild flowers that took residence there. He knew that it was not likely that she would be there at this late hour in the evening, but it wouldn't hurt to look.

Just as Clark suspected, Lois was not at the park. He had looked in a few places for Lois but she was nowhere to be found. He had even gone back to the hospital parking lot to look for her Jeep, just in case she was working late but…nothing. Clark decided to head over to the Gotham gym to work off some of the emotional strain that he suddenly felt. He would give it a rest and then try to find her again later. If Clark were honest with himself, he was starting to get worried.

Lois met Paul at the restaurant as promised. He had a reservation so they were immediately seated when they entered. Lois and Paul ordered dinner, a full course of seafood, salad, bread…and beer for Paul. Lois didn't seem to be able to eat too much these days. She ordered a bowl of clam chowder, a salad and had water to drink. Somehow, she felt that wine was not an option. She needed to keep a clear head tonight. Conversation seemed forced and superficial. It didn't seem to flow as naturally as with Clark.

"So, Lois, not eating much, huh? Trying to stay trim?"

"No, Paul, I just don't eat very much," thinking painfully about the comment he had made to her on that dreadful night, about being fat.

"Lois, look, you're not fat. I just wanted you to be mad at me so that I wouldn't hurt you so much." He sounded sincere.

"Paul, how could you expect me to be anything but hurt? I had to call off my wedding, send back gifts, stop the seamstress from finishing the gowns. What the…" Lois said, noticing the gradual rise in her voice as emotions began to over take her. More quietly and more in control now, Lois finished. "I am okay with it now. I have some closure now and can go on. I came here to get away from old memories. I don't hate you or anything. I wish you luck, happiness and many children. I…"

"You make this sound like goodbye forever, Lois," Paul said sounding disappointed. "I admit that when I asked you to dinner I was hoping that we could start to see each other again. You see…you've taught me so much about unconditional love and I want the chance to reciprocate that wonderful emotion to you. Please, say you'll give me another chance. Those other women that were chasing me, they saw someone successful, dollar signs, someone who could take care of them. They didn't want to be self sufficient, like you. Look at you, back in school to better yourself, for your masters. You're a smart woman and I admire you for that. One of them was already making plans for our half million dollar house and her Volvo station wagon."

"Paul, I'm sorry that things turned out the way they did…for you. I now know that I don't want the same things that you want out of life. I do wish you happiness, though."

"Lois, what do you want out of life?" Paul seemed really interested in Lois's answer.

"You know, it's really not important, now. Please, I really need to get going. It's getting late and I've had a long day. I'm really exhausted. Please accept my thanks."

"Lois, please don't go. You hardly ate anything. You…"

Standing, Lois quickly cut Paul off, "Really, Paul, I'm fine, but I need to go."

"Let me walk you to your car," Paul insisted, standing.

"Sure," Lois said very reluctantly.

Paul paid the ticket and proceeded to follow Lois out to her car. Lois opened her Jeep door with the key remote and started to get inside. Suddenly, Paul's awful lips were covering Lois's as he leaned into her, pinning her to the side of her Jeep.

With every chance Lois could get to form a word she managed to say, "Get…off…of me! I don't want you…I don't want this! I told you, Paul…this is goodbye!"

Lois's struggling only made Paul angrier and pin her tighter.

"Please! Stop! Get off…" Lois continued to yell as she fought to get from between Paul and the car. He wasn't a very big man but he was a lot stronger than Lois.

"You little tramp! You owe me! I was your fiancé for God's sake and you said that you wanted to wait until we were married. Well, we're not…we can get married if that's what you want now, so I at least deserve what I'm entitled to for waiting for so long, being so patient with you! Did anybody ever get it before?" Paul asked mockingly.

"Please, get off of me…" Lois begged, sobbing.

Then a baritone voice broke the terror of it all.

"The lady asked you to leave her alone. Let her go!"

"No, see Batman, you don't know what's going on here. You see, she promised me. I gave her another chance and now she says that she doesn't want me any more. No slu…what kind of man do you think I am to let something as fat and ugly as her, refuse me, turn me down?"

"Off now or I will whip your ass," Batman threatened as he grabbed Paul by the back of his neck.

Lois turned her head what little bit she could and caught sight of the Batman who had come to her rescue. She noticed that Bruce had Paul by the back of his neck and Paul slowly released her.

Bruce looked at Lois as he started to walk away with Paul still in his grasp. He then said to Lois, "Get in your car and wait a minute."

Bruce proceeded to escort Paul to his car. When they reached Paul's Corvette, Bruce said, "The lady has every right to press charges against your sorry existence. The only reason I'm not taking you to jail is that she knows you and I'm going to let her decide. Don't go too far," Bruce finished as he pushed Paul into his car.

Lois couldn't believe how much of a jerk Paul really was. Nothing had changed, at all. Batman was walking back to her with his cape flowing behind.

"Lois, you okay?"

"Yeah, Bruce, I think so. Thank you. I just want to go home," Lois responded as she sat down across the driver's seat of her car.

Batman gave Lois a strange look.

"Clark didn't tell me. I figured it out. Don't worry. Your secret is safe. I would never do anything to betray you or Vicky." Batman gave a slight nod of gratitude.

"Let me to drive you? You've had a rough night and I just want to make sure that you get home safely."

"I'm okay, Bruce, really. You don't have to…"

Bruce asked, "Would you like me to call Clark, instead? I kno…"

"No! I don't want him to know. Please, don't tell him. Bruce you've got to promise me that you won't tell him about this," Lois pleaded.

Sounding concerned, Bruce replied "Lois, I cannot make a promise like that to you. What happened between you two anyway? You two seemed to be so much in love."

"I'd really rather not talk about it but I guess I could say that I think you know the reason. You're all in this together, so to speak."

"He loves you, Lois. Why won't you just hang in there for a little bit…for him?"

Lois yelled in a teary response, "I've told you…he broke up with me…he stopped seeing me…"


"He said that it was too dangerous to have a relationship with me, basically."

"Have you talked to him…today?"

"Not since the hospital."

"Let me get you home," Bruce said as he slid into the driver's seat of Lois's Jeep.

The ride home seemed longer than usual, to Lois's apartment. It gave her time to think some. All she wanted to do was shower, and go to bed.

Bruce got Lois home and inside safely. Bruce pulled back his cowl since he didn't have to hide from Lois.

"Lois, Clark is going to come around. I know he will. He loves you."

Lois just looked at Bruce with a new sheet of tears forming.

Bruce opened his arms and hugged Lois to him. His embrace was reassurance of strength and confidence.

Bruce made sure that all of the doors and windows were locked before he left her. The Batmobile had followed them by remote control and was waiting for Bruce outside of Lois's apartment. He pulled up his cowl and headed to his waiting car.

Bruce couldn't leave fast enough for Lois. She wasn't sure how much longer she would be able to hold back her erupting emotions. She went into the bathroom and turned on hot water for a bath. She didn't feel like a shower tonight. She wanted to soak in a bath. Lois poured bubbles into the tub as the water ran. Finally, she unclothed, stepped into the tub and closed her eyes. Suddenly the tears started to overflow. Weeks of pain came pouring from her eyes. Lois sobbed first silently and violent sobs overtook her body. She cried because she felt so stupid for going to dinner with Paul. She thought that they could part amicably and be done with their differences, but no such luck. Lois stayed in the tub for an hour before attempting to get out and only then because the water started to get cold.

Lois got out of the bathtub and put on a pair of pajama sweat pants and tank top. She slipped on her bedroom slippers and sat in the corner of the couch. She put her knees up to her chest and hugged them to her as the tears started to flow endlessly again. There was nothing on in the apartment; no lights, no TV, radio. Just silence and an occasional nose sniffling and pulling Kleenex from a box.

Batman got into the Batmobile and sat for a moment. He had to find Clark. He wasn't really worried about Paul showing up anymore, but Clark needed to know what happened. He was sure that there would be some sort of wrath to suffer if Clark somehow found out otherwise what happened and found out that Bruce knew and didn't tell him. Bruce would be sure, then, to see the other side of the mild mannered veterinarian. After some thought, he exited the Batmobile and went over to Clark's apartment.

After knocking and calling for Clark for what seemed like forever outside of Clark's door, Bruce accepted the obvious and left. Clark was not at home. He got into the Batmobile and drove off. While driving he tried to locate Clark. He was unable to reach him by phone, home or cell. Bruce tried to think of where Clark would go off to if not in his Superman guise. He could be in Smallville visiting his parents or he could be…just about anywhere in Gotham.

After searching some of Clark's historical hangouts in either guise, Bruce decided to head on home to Wayne Manor. He had even checked both hospitals thinking that maybe tonight was a late work night for Clark. Still, Bruce was unable to locate Clark. He would go home and change and head back to the hospital. Lois was okay so he could try again in the morning to find Clark.

Bruce showered and changed his clothes before heading back to the hospital in his SUV. Vicky would be discharged in the morning and he wanted to be waiting to bring his new family home. As he drove back to the hospital he thought he'd drive by Clark's apartment just once more. This time Clark was there. Bruce noticed his truck, which wasn't there before.

Bruce went to Clark's door and knocked. "Clark, are you in there?"

Clark had just returned home from the gym. He would shower and then head over to Lois's. He wanted so badly to talk to her. He prayed that she would have him back, that she would understand why he broke up with her and forgive him for being so stupid. He wanted to show Lois that he was still in love with her. Suddenly, he felt the need to hurry so he took an accelerated shower.

Just as Clark exited the shower he heard a knock on his door. Then he heard a baritone voice say, "Clark, are you in there?" It was Bruce. Then he wondered if everything was okay as he looked at the clock. It was almost 9 o'clock.

Clark opened the door.

"Bruce? Come in. Everything okay?"

"Got a minute? We need to talk," Bruce said as he entered Clark's apartment.

"I was headed over to see Lois. I couldn't find her earlier…"

"Clark about Lois…"

"What? She is okay…" Clark started as he stretched his eyes.

"Yeah, she is now." Bruce sat in the chair across from Clark who sat on the couch. He then took in a deep breath and started to tell what had happened to Lois while she was at dinner with Paul.

"Lois had a little trouble this evening after she had dinner with that Paul guy."

"Why was she at dinner with him?" Clark asked as his eyes darkened with anger.

"My guess…she was lonely, just needed to be with somebody and he just happened through. But, well, let me finish. As they left, he apparently felt entitled to…having his way with her. He had her pinned against her car in the parking lot at Arrington's. She was fighting him when I…Batman…arrived…"

Clark stood up suddenly. "That bastard did what?"

Batman finished the story. He watched as Clark's eyes glazed over with fresh tears only to darken with anger in a matter of seconds. Bruce came over and sat beside Clark on the couch. He placed his hand on Clark's back.

"Bruce, this is all my fault, for breaking up with her. I tried to find her today. That must have been where she was. I was going to tell her…ask her if we could be together again…try to fix this whole situation. I need her Bruce," Clark said just above a whisper, trying to maintain composure.

"She's at home and okay. I took her home…"

"Thanks Bruce."

Bruce stood to leave. Then he stopped and turned to Clark.

"Oh, and Clark…I'm not sure about this…but from what that scum was saying to her, I think she's a…well…you know…a virgin. She's vulnerable right now, so don't hurt her."

"Yeah, I kind of thought that from a conversation that we had a while ago. I won't hurt her…any more."

Then, Bruce was gone.

Lois sat in the corner of her couch for what seemed like forever, crying with intermittent convulsive sobbing. She could not believe that Paul had actually tried to…assault her. Was this the way it was going to be for her?

Lois thought that maybe she was being unreasonable. Maybe this virgin thing was not what it was cracked up to be. After all, Vicky obviously had a sexual relationship with Bruce before they were married and they are now the two most happily married people. Maybe…

Lois was startled out of her thoughts and crying by a "knock – knock" on the front door. She looked over towards the door but didn't move. Surely Paul wouldn't be foolish enough…

Again came the "knock – knock" and a voice.

"Lois, please open the door. It's me, Clark." Clark waited. He heard nothing, except Lois's heartbeat.

"Lois, please." Clark pleaded.

When Lois didn't respond after what seemed like forever, Clark said, "Lois, I'm going to use the key that you gave me. You're scaring me."

There was the rattle of the key being inserted into the door and then the lock turned. Lois never changed positions. Tears continued to freely fall.

When Clark entered Lois's apartment he was not prepared for what greeted him. It was totally dark and Lois was sitting in the corner of the couch hugging her knees to her chest like a terrified child, silently crying. This was more than Clark could handle. The tears started to freely fall down his cheeks. Then, self-blame set in.

Clark very slowly approached Lois and sat next to her on the couch. Her back was to him. He cautiously reached out to place his hand on her back. Lois jumped and withdrew from Clark's touch like a scared rabbit. But instead of withdrawing his hand, Clark gently placed both of his hands around Lois and hugged her to him. He started to whisper calming nonsense to her as he rocked with her.

"He didn't…touch you…you know, hurt you…did he?" Clark asked as he hugged Lois to his chest. He was afraid of her answer as evident by the uncertainty in his voice.

"No, Clark…no. He just…" Lois started as tears overtook her again. She relaxed against Clark's chest.

"Lois, I am so sorry. It's all my fault…if I hadn't been such a… a lunkhead, none of this would have happened. Honey, I am so sorry."

"It…it isn…isn't your fault. It's mine. What was I thinking? Why would he want to be out with me if there wasn't an ulterior motive? Why would anyone want to be out with me when…"

"Lois, look at me. This is not your fault. Don't ever think it is. And any man graced with your presence in his life should count his blessings. I know that now. You are beautiful, smart and so many other things. I don't deserve to be here because I screwed up so badly and it almost cost your…something sacred," Clark creaked out with love, concern and tears in his voice. "If he had…hurt you…I would have never forgiven myself."

Just by looking into his deep brown eyes Lois knew that Clark felt every word he said.

"Lois, why did you go with him in the first place? Do you still love him after…do you still want him?" Clark asked in a non- threatening tone.

"No, I didn't still…I don't…I just wanted someone to talk to. I was just lonely. But, I made it clear to him that this…dinner…was just dinner, and nothing else."

Clark just hugged Lois tighter.

"Honey, I looked for you all evening, to ask you if we could talk. I realize now that ending our relationship was the wrong thing to do. It's been killing me and I wanted to ask if…if you would have me…back…again. I know that I hurt you and again, I am so sorry. But I won't ever do that again. I promise that regardless of the situation, I will never break up with you…leave you again, if you'll have me."

"How could you still want me?"

"How couldn't I still want you?" Clark responded as he rested his cheek next to Lois's cheek.

"Clark, I don't know. I fell in love with you even after I thought that I could never love again. You got past those barriers and took my heart. Then you hurt me Clark! I just can't do this again." Lois looked up at Clark and saw the disappointment and hurt in his eyes.

"Lois, sweetheart, I fell in love with you, too. You're all I've thought about since I allowed my clouded judgment take over. All I've wanted to do was touch you and tell you that I loved you. And that day at the hospital, you were the last person I expected to run into. When I saw you sitting there, so beautiful, holding Thomas, all sorts of thoughts ran through my head. I wanted you back so badly, then and I still do."

"What changed today? Why now?"

"Seeing you sitting there was just my undoing, I guess. Listen, Lois, please don't say no. Think about it. I'll give you as much time as you need. I'll wait for you as long as you need me to. Just don't shut me out. It broke my heart to hear you crying every night, to hear you say that you loved me. I tried not to listen but I couldn't help myself." Lois just looked down at her wet Kleenex filled hands. Clark continued to talk.

"I watched over you, trying to make sure that you stayed safe but I hated to see you walk around, so sad. And to know that I had caused your sadness just got the best of me. I guess I really didn't do a good job watching over you or this wouldn't have happened tonight."

"Clark, it's not your fault," Lois assured him.

The couple sat in silence, Clark cradling Lois against his chest. Lois had missed Clark's hugs and he had missed holding her. They just seemed so right together. Then Clark broke the silence.

"Lois I miss this. I miss us…"

"Me, too."

"Then give us another chance," Clark said just above a whisper as he ran his fingers through Lois's hair. She smelled so good.

"I'm scared, Clark," Lois said with those exact emotions lingering in her tone.

"I know, sweetheart, I know."

Lois turned in Clark's arms to face him and looked up into his eyes. She saw love and sincerity in those eyes.

Clark cupped Lois's cheeks with both of his large hands and looked beyond her teary red swollen eyes. But what he saw really hurt him. Clark saw love and trust in her eyes but also raw fear.

"I won't hurt you…intentionally…" Clark started as he leaned forward and tentatively touched Lois's lips with his own. Lois closed her eyes and got lost in that long craved kiss. Clark noted that she didn't pull away and that she was responding to the kiss with as much love as she could give.

It was a short kiss. Lois pulled away first and looked away.

"Honey?" Clark said, as he gently guided Lois's eyes back to his.

"I'm just so afraid."

"Then let me show you that I love you and I am here for the long haul. Give me a chance," Clark asked again.

Lois gave a slight nod of affirmation.

"I love you, too Clark. I've never stopped loving you."

"Did we just make up?"

"I think so."

Clark smiled and hugged Lois as he laid butterfly kisses in her hair. All was right again…almost.

"Come home…with me, tonight. I don't want you here alone. Or I can stay here. Either way, I'm not sleeping without you in reach tonight."

Lois looked into Clark's eyes at first with hesitation. When she saw all of the love that he had for her, she then gave a slight nod of affirmation. "Let me get my jacket," Lois said as she stood up from Clark's embrace.

"Just pack a bag, Lois, so you don't have to rush over in the morning for anything," Clark yelled at Lois as she retreated to her bedroom.

A few minutes later Lois and Clark arrived at Clark's apartment with Lois's overnight bag in tow. He took her bag to his bedroom and placed her things in drawers?


"I just don't want you to have to take things back and forth." Clark smiled. "I know that you've had a long day and that you are tired so let me get you tucked in. Want me to make some tea?"

"No, I'm fine. Clark, I can't take your bed. You need…" Clark cut Lois off with a kiss. Silently he was wishing that they could sleep together tonight, hoping that he could hold Lois, but he would move at her pace. They couldn't just start where they left off and that would be okay.

"No, honey. I can sleep out on the couch."

"But, Clark…"

Clark cut Lois off with a kiss again.

"Honey I just got you back. Whatever it takes…" Clark said as he smiled. "So let me get you tucked in," Clark continued as he held Lois's hand and led her to his bedroom.

Once Lois was tucked in, Clark kissed Lois on the forehead and said goodnight. He switched off the bedside lamp as he headed for the couch.


"Yes…" Clark turned back just as he was leaving his bedroom.

"Please stay…with me. I don't want to be alone."

Clark first hesitated then said, "Sure, sweetheart. Let me just make sure that everything is off."

A few minutes later, Clark slid into the bed next to Lois and reached over to for her. He was offering her his chest to lie on, the way they used to fall asleep together. Lois complied as Clark hugged her to him and placed his other arm around her waist.

"I love you Lois," Clark said just above a whisper

"I love you, too," Lois responded.

There would be no tears tonight.

Superman and Batman cleaned up the Bay Operation within a couple of weeks. There were no fatalities or injuries. Most of all Lois was safe. She had started to stay with Clark at night again, at his request. Things were pretty much back to normal, like they were before their break up. Lois was willing to bet the farm that Clark would not risk losing her again. She could tell that he had really been scared that he had lost her forever with their previous break up.

It was Friday night and both Lois and Clark had had a long day. Clark was making dinner.

"Sweetheart, what would you like for dinner?"

"Oh, I don't know. Maybe some spaghetti with your homemade marinara and basil sauce." Lois loved Clark's spaghetti. It was almost as if pasta was an aphrodisiac for Clark because he became very passionate after consuming it.

But regardless of how much he wanted Lois, he never pushed her.

Clark just smiled. "Spaghetti it is, then." He thought to himself that this night would probably be the most difficult test of his will power.

Lois sipped on a glass of wine and watched TV as Clark cooked. Occasionally she would look back into the kitchen at him and they would exchange glances and smiles. Lois wondered how she got so lucky.

"Dinner is served," Clark said a few minutes later.

Lois made her way to the kitchen and sat. Clark sat next to her as they consumed their dinner. Lois made moaning noises as she savored the taste of the herbs and spices that Clark used. Clark thought that he would just die if he had to listen to Lois moan too much longer.

The couple made trivial conversation during their dinner. They shared smiles and there was a lot of touching. They just wanted to enjoy each other's company. Lois seemed completely comfortable and trusting with Clark again.

After dinner Lois helped Clark with the dishes. Then couple retired to the couch to watch a movie with wine refills in their glasses. Just as they got comfortable, there was a small spark and the television went out. Lois and Clark looked at each other.

"Oh, Clark, I really wanted to see that movie. It's Harmful Intent, based on a book by Robin Cook. Maybe we could go over to my place and watch it."

"I'm sorry, Lois. That TV is so old. It's been time to put it out of its misery for a long time. We can watch the TV in my bedroom if you want. The TV is smaller, but…"

"Okay," Lois said as she stood and proceeded to Clark's room. They both lay across Clark's bed, with Clark spooned behind Lois.

Lois seemed to get really engulfed into the movie. Clark was half watching the movie but mostly in deep thought about something. Lois would occasionally look back at Clark during a commercial and notice that he wasn't really there.

"Clark, wanna talk about it?"


"What's got you some place else?"

"Uhm…no…honey later, okay. Let's just watch the movie."

Lois then kissed Clark on the lips and said okay as she turned back toward the TV. Clark nuzzled his nose in her hair and laid butterfly kisses.

After the movie, Lois turned to face Clark. Clark held out his arm to her, the way he always did when they went to bed, to invite her to lie on his chest. Lois did as she always did and laid her head on Clark's chest. Clark just gently made circular patterns on her back.

They lay there for a little while in silence before Lois looked up at Clark and laid a kiss on his lips. When she went to end the kiss and retreat back to her post on Clark's chest, Clark placed his hands on Lois's cheeks and held her there to him so that he could kiss her thoroughly.

"I love you, honey."

"I love you too, Clark." They kissed again. This time Clark rolled Lois over on top of him and continued to kiss her. Soon they were involved in a full make out session.

Caution stepped in and Lois suddenly halted their passion.

"Lois, I'm sorry. You don't ever have to feel like you have to give me more. I am so sorry…"

"No, Clark. It's just that I've never…I don't know what to…I don't want to disappoint you."

"Lois, honey, we don't have to. I shouldn't have…I've just…well I've never…you know…I've never felt this way about anyone before…and well…you would never disappoint me."

Lois got the just of what he was trying to say. He was a virgin, too!

"But Clark, your first time should be…a good experience…"

"If it's with you, it will be."

"But what if I don't make you…if you aren't satisfied…if…"

"Lois, sweetheart, what's this all about?" Clark asked with genuine concern in his voice. "Does it have anything to do with what that…that prick said to you?" Lois could detect the anger rising in Clark's tone.

"Well I…I…"

"Lois, we love each other and that's all that matters. Whenever we do make love, because we love each other, it will be wonderful. And if there is a deficiency somewhere, we can work on it together. But, I don't think there will be a problem because my body reacts to you…sometimes to the point of embarrassment. I know you've noticed," Clark finished with some embarrassment showing in his color.

"Oh, Clark…"

"No rush. We have the rest of our lives," Clark said as he kissed Lois again. "Let's just get ready for bed then I can hold you while we talk, okay? I'm gonna go and shower. I'll be out in a minute."


Clark went to the shower as Lois sat and thought about what he had said. This man really loved her and he had saved himself for the right woman…27 years…her… That was just unheard of these days. Of course a 26-year-old virgin female was just as unheard of. The shower came on which pulled Lois from her thoughts.

Clark stepped into the shower and let the water run down over him. He thought about his conversation with Lois. She really was a virgin. And Paul could have very well raped her the other night. If Paul had raped her… Just then the shower door opening distracted Clark from his thoughts. He turned and watched as Lois stepped into the shower with him. She had a perfect body.

Lois gasped as she saw Clark's body for the first time fully naked. He has a strong muscular chest and abdomen.

"You are so beautiful," Clark whispered to Lois as he held out his hand to her. She took it. She moved closer to Clark and he held her. After a few minutes, he looked down into Lois's doe eyes and was sucked into a passionate kiss where she trailed the outline of his lips with the tip of her tongue. Lois trailed that kiss down Clark's neck to his chest. Clark let out a soft moan.

Clark followed Lois's lead, careful not to move faster than she was ready to go. In the back of his mind he knew what she was asking, what she wanted.

Clark was nervous and so was Lois. He had read lots of books but books could hardly prepare him for what he was feeling now.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." Lois whispered, simply.

"I won't hurt you," he whispered.

Lois just shook her head in the affirmative.

Lois and Clark made love in the shower. It was the simple most incredible experience of their lives.

After they made love the couple dried each other off and got out of the shower. They got sleeping clothes on and got into bed. Clark held Lois, to him from behind.

"You okay, honey?"

"Yeah. Thank you for making my first time so…incredible."

"Thank you for making my first time so…beautiful."

"How are you feeling…down there?

"I'm just a little sore but it was worth it. But you know what would make me feel better…down there?"


"If you would make love to me again."

"I would love to."

And they did.

In the aftermath of their lovemaking, Clark had rolled Lois over on top of him. He kissed her as he held her face in his palms. Clark then leaned over a little and pulled a small box out of his bedside table. He rolled Lois over to her side facing him. Then he opened the box. Lois covered her mouth with one hand as tears rolled uncontrollably down her cheeks. Inside was the most beautiful solitaire engagement ring she had ever seen.

"Lois? Honey I hope those are happy tears," Clark said, as he wiped away some of Lois's tears with the pad of his thumb.

Lois just smiled.

"Will you marry me Lois? We don't have to plan or go away or any of that stuff. Just marry me. I don't want to spend any more time without you beside me."

"Oh yes, Clark, yes!"

Clark placed the beautiful one-karat platinum diamond solitaire on Lois's hand.

"You know, it's probably a good thing because we didn't use any birth control."

"It doesn't matter to me if our lovemaking results in the creation of another human being or not, Lois."

"You okay with that, Clark?"

"Do you have to ask? Are you okay with it?"

"Yes. I just really want to finish school. But I wouldn't regret it if it happened."

"You know Bruce has offered me a job in Metropolis at Wayne Enterprises there. I told him that it depends on what you want to do. But, it would allow me to be Superman without a lot of questions and it's $350,000 per year. You could work part time if you just really wanted to work. It would allow you to raise our children and not have to worry about childcare, that is if you want to stay at home for a while…"

"Clark you're babbling."

Clark just smiled. He couldn't stop smiling.

"So, get married tomorrow?"

"No, we have to get a license and we can't do that until Monday."

"Lois, I can't wait that long." Clark saw Lois raise her eyebrows. "Okay, okay…Monday it is."

Sunday was Thomas's christening and Lois and Clark were present as his Godparents. Bruce and Vicky stood at the altar with the priest and Lois and Clark stood in their flanks. Bruce was holding Thomas in his white gown as the priest spoke.

"…and if for some unforeseen reason Bruce and Vicky, Thomas's natural parents, need assistance or are unable to lead Thomas in the way that God intended parents to, who will step in and assume guidance?"

"I will."

"I will."

Lois and Clark answered in unison as they looked at each other with all of the love in the world showing in their eyes. They each had a sense of déjà vu…tomorrow they would be standing in a similar arrangement exchanging their own vows. Clark held out his hand to Lois and she took it. They then stood together beside Bruce as he handed them Thomas.

As Clark watched Lois hold Thomas all sorts of dreams ran through his mind. Mostly, he imagined Lois standing there holding their baby. Clark just smiled at Lois and she reciprocated. She thought she couldn't be any happier.

Monday came around and Lois had stayed at her own apartment for the last time. She and Clark would finish moving her stuff into his apartment after they were married.

She and Clark were married at 11 o'clock that morning. It was a beautiful August morning, very fall like. Vicky and Bruce had come along as witnesses and wished them well after they exchanged their vows. When the judge pronounced Lois and Clark husband and wife and they kissed, Bruce then kissed Lois on the cheek. The Waynes walked out of the courthouse with the Kents and watched as they got into Clark's 4Runner and headed to the airport for their honeymoon flight. It had been timed just right because Lois was on a break from school and Clark was waiting to graduate from his residency the next week.

As a wedding gift, Bruce and Vicky had given Lois and Clark a honeymoon to Georgetown, Cayman Islands. They would see them when they returned on Sunday.

Clark graduated the Friday after he and Lois returned from their honeymoon. He left Gotham briefly to start to set up his office in Metropolis. Until Lois graduated he would commute back and forth between Gotham and Metropolis. Clark was grateful that he could fly. He didn't know if he could stand to be away from Lois for long periods of time.


Sixteen months later…Bruce and Vicky and Jonathan and Martha Kent sat with Clark at the Gotham University Auditorium as the watched Lois graduate, with her Masters Degree from nurse anaesthesia school. Lois's sister had her usual drama going so she couldn't attend. Her father was out of the country with his latest bimbo and her mother was going to France with some girlfriends. There was nothing new there.

Lois graduated Magna Cum Laude and Clark was so proud of her. She had been through so much to get where she was. He had silently promised himself that he'd never hurt her again. Clark's parents were more unconditional than Lois's own parents were. They would always be there for her.

Angela Jameson…Ian Januka…Laura Kane…Lois Lane Kent…

Applauds and salutations went out from Lois's personal peanut gallery. Clark watched her in awe as she walked across the stage to receive her degree. She was so beautiful. There was just a slight bump under her gown where her belly was just starting to bulge. At just twenty weeks pregnant with her and Clark's first baby, Clark thought that Lois just glowed.

When they found out about the baby Clark had picked Lois up and spun her around in excitement. In after thought he had been afraid that he had hurt her or the baby, but all was well. Clark had been wrong about one thing…he didn't think he could be happier after his wedding day until Lois announced that the Clear Blue Easy read 'pregnant'.

Lois had already taken her board exam and passed but wasn't planning to go to work until after the baby. Clark had tried to convince her that she could stay at home as long as she wanted to, but that independent streak in her would not allow her to be a complete stay at home mom.

After the graduation ceremony, the elder Kents went to Wayne Manor with Lois and Clark for Lois's graduation party. There was dinner and a cake. Vicky had wanted to make a big deal of it but Lois had expressed that she only wanted to share the occasion with her family and closest friends.

The small family was well into the celebration when Clark got that far away look that he got when his super hearing zoomed in on something. Bruce then got that knowing look as Alfred approached.

"Master Bruce, the phone sir…it's essential that you take this call," Alfred said in his very proper English accent. "The caller simply refused to leave a message. He said that it was urgent."

"Very well, Alfred…If you guys would excuse me…" Bruce asked as he got up from the table. Everyone continued mingling.

In a few minutes, Bruce returned to his guests trying hard to ask their pardon for 'an emergency that came up'. Clark made eye contact with Bruce and there was a…communication…telepathy. Lois could tell that Clark was about to fumble with making up an excuse. Lois looked at Vicky and then the Kents exchanged glances. Then almost as if practiced, everyone said all at once to Bruce and Clark, "Go!" Bruce and Clark looked at each other, shrugged and left on separate paths.

May 3rd of the following year, Vicky and Bruce received an email and pictures from Lois and Clark. Their baby girl was welcomed into the world that day weighing 6lb 15oz. Little Maria Teresa Kent had dark hair and doe eyes like her mother.

At the bottom of the picture was a caption that read, "Bruce and Vicky, look what Lois and I were blessed with at 0659 this morning! She's so beautiful, just like her mother."