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Revelations: Chapter Twenty-Five

December 19th, 2010 (09:10 pm)

A/N: Sorry for the massive wait, among many other things I had Uni exams, crashed my car and served on a jury since I last posted, not to mention this was a big chapter and I wanted to get it right. Hope I succeeded.

Chapter Twenty-Five: Together In Solitude

--

"I think it's just a bit much," Jason sighed, adjusting his mic as he finished his sound check.

"It's just a Superman T-shirt." Tristan looked in the mirror and adjusted his hair for the fourth time in almost as many seconds. "And you're like New York's new Superman… except you're also the host of a kid's TV show so a lot less mysterious and undignified."

"And the red jacket?" Jason asked, choosing to ignore the rest of the comment.

"Take it up with the costume department if it bothers you that much- yeah, I'm hearing you loud and clear," he replied to the sound tech on the other end of his earpiece.

Two familiar voices caught Jason's attention then and he turned to see Richard and Eric coming down the hall, their backstage VIP passes clipped to their shirts.

Jason couldn't help smiling at the sight of them. For all his fear and worry over the past twenty years his father-turned-uncle had taken the news he'd helped raise a half-Kryptonian boy surprisingly well. His promise at the hospital that he loved Jason no matter what hadn't been an empty remark. Jason always loved it when he came to visit from Japan and especially when he bought Eric and the past weekend he'd need them more than ever and they'd been there.

"Jason," Richard returned the grin, "Tristan." He nodded politely to the other man who smiled back.

"He Uncle Richard, hey Eric," Jason replied, leaning down to greet his brother with a hug. "And- Tristan, you've meet my brother Eric, right?" Jason asked, introducing them.

"Sure, Jason's brother from another mother," Tristan joked, "up top." He held out his hand.

"Hey," Eric replied, returning the high-five.

"We meet at the Christmas thing," Tristan reminded Jason, "last year. And I've seen you at a lot of shows."

"I love BreakOut." Eric nodded. "I watch it every time I come to America. And Mom and Dad let me download in when I'm at home too sometimes."

"That sounds- sorry," Tristan broke off with a frown, putting his hand to his ear. "I gotta go sort out something on stage," he sighed. "I'll see you after the show though."

Eric waved as Tristan disappeared down the hall, passing someone Jason hadn't expected to see.

"You shouldn't be back here without a pass," Jason told his sister by way of greeting as she reached them.

"Sophie," Richard greeted his niece and goddaughter with a nod.

"Ah, Uncle Richard, just the person I wanted to see," Sophie said with relief clear in her voice, choosing to ignore her brother.

"Really?" Jason asked.

"What?" Sophie raised her eyebrows at her brother. "Am I not allowed to talk to Uncle Richard? He doesn't belong to you, you know."

"No, I mean-" Jason shook his head, acutely aware his mic was on and the sound people could hear every word "-of course you are, I was just-"

"Aw, poor little Superboy," Sophie teased, pouting at him, "are you jealous not everything in New York is about you?"

Jason just sighed, letting Sophie goad him into acting like a little kid was tolerable in front of Evelyn and at home but despite the target audience of their show being tweenagers, he was expected to act like a professional adult at work. Secret identity revelations or no. "Fine, I'll leave you two to it then," he conceded, "I've got to get out anyway. Enjoy the show." He nodded to his brother and Richard before turning to join Kate and Tristan on the stage.

He briefly considered eavesdropping on the conversation but years of his Dad's lectures on using his powers responsibly and respecting other's privacy were too deeply ingrained in his memory to let him do so without feeling like it was wrong.

And he did have other things to concentrate on. He just hoped Sophie's news wasn't anything bad.

--

Richard smiled as he watched Sophie tease her brother who was clearly annoyed but trying to remain professional. It was moments like this he wished Tomoko and he had had another child. Of course he knew Jason and Eric considered themselves brothers in every way that mattered but it would never be the same as what Jason had with his full siblings.

A few more days watching Lois and Clark deal with six of them should cure that urge though.

"Good luck," Eric called after his brother as Jason disappeared into the bright lights of TV land.

As soon as he was out of sight Sophie's face changed considerably from the light, joking expression she had worn for her brother. Richard felt his heart speed up. "What is it?" he asked, glancing at his son and back to Sophie.

Sophie frowned then smiled again. "Hey, Eric, can I talk to your Dad alone for a few moments? You won't miss the show, I promise."

The boy looked like he wanted to protest and Richard knew any other time he would have begged to be in the loop, but the past few days in America, watching his extended family struggle with their situation, he had come to understand things were more serious than just his Uncle Clark being able to fly. He nodded and walked over to lean against the wall further down the hall.

Sophie turned back to him, looking serious. "Dad's gone," she told him simply, "and I don't know when he'll be back."

--

She found him at the Fortress.

Dean hadn't taken much breaking down before he admitted to covering for his Dad while he went off to think, but he had insisted Clark wanted to be alone. Like any good mother though Lois knew exactly how to get her children to do what she wanted and it hadn't taken long at all before they were hurtling north.

Dean shot low over the icy landscape of the Arctic, holding his mother close but she barely had time to register the change in temperature before they passed through the entrance to the huge crystalline structure and set down just in front of the long silent control panel.

Lois had been so worried about her husband that she hadn't thought to put on warmer clothes but thankfully the Kryptonian crystals the Fortress was built of were designed to naturally absorb the sun's energy and release it slowly when the outside cooled down, no power needed, and inside it was rather pleasant. Temperature-wise at least.

"He's over there," Dean said quietly, pointing at a wall. "He's just… sitting." He turned back to look at her and Lois felt her heart clench at the helplessly confused look he gave her. "Mom?"

"It's okay," Lois reassured him, forcing a smile, wondering how bad Clark looked if he'd unsettled the one person who'd actually talked to him before he left. "I'll bring him back," she promised, standing on her toes so she could hug her son properly.

Dean nodded and, with a last glance into the Fortress, took off, leaving only a faint sonic boom in his wake. No doubt to resume his vigil over his younger siblings.

Lois rounded the corner and immediately saw what had Dean so worried. Clark wasn't just sitting, he was staring. His eyes were open and completely unblinkingly and blankly focused on a point far beyond the wall of the room. His legs hung over the edge of the platform and his hands were gripping the edge tightly, his whole body tense and the slight rise and fall of his chest the only sign he wasn't a statue.

Lois didn't say anything, she just sat down beside him and leaned against him, resting her head on his shoulder and linking her arms under his. He didn't move, didn't relax, his body as unmoving as steel and his eyes staring blankly at nothing.

"I wanted to be alone," he said finally, his voice tight but lacking any sort of confidence in his words.

"If you didn't want me to find you, you would have gone somewhere I couldn't follow," she told him, "I hear the Moon's lovely this time of year."

"It's quiet here."

"There's no sounds at all in space," Lois reminded him.

Clark sighed, he knew as well as she did he had wanted her to come and find him. He relaxed his shoulders and picked her up effortlessly and pulled her onto his lap, wrapping his arms around her and holding her as tightly as he dared.

Lois wrapped her arms around him as he lay his head on her chest and started to cry. It could have been an hour or it might had only been a few minutes but sitting with her husband in one of the most isolated places on Earth time didn't seem to have any value.

His sobbing and shuddering slowed eventually but he didn't release his grip on her and Lois didn't feel ready to let him go either.

"I shouldn't have come here," he said, finally breaking the silence, and raising his head, "I don't know what happened. One moment I was heading back to the Planet, then I went by the apartment and I saw that headline and…" He shook his head. "How could they print that?"

Lois shook her head. "I think the real question is, who would tell them something like that?"

Clark shuddered again and Lois pulled him closer, rubbing his back and hoping what worked on her children when they were upset would work on their father too.

She had vowed to stay with Clark for better or worse and this was definitely one of the 'worse' moments. She could count on two hands the number of time she'd seen him cry, taking away their children's births left only one hand, and one of those had been at the hospital at Ella's bedside, with no one but her around.

He didn't like showing emotion like this in front of the kids, he believed that he needed to be strong for them. Maybe it was true, Lois certainly remembered how unsettled and almost frightening it was to see her own father after he had received the phone call informing him of his mother's passing. Yet, when she had looked back it had been a relief too, to realise that her father was human and could feel as much as anyone else.

Lois knew none of their children thought their parents anywhere close to emotionless though. Jason and Sophie at least were old enough to remember all four of their grandparents passing, excluding Jonathan but they had been just as close to Ben. Sophie and Jason had even comforted Lois after she broke down when the call of her father's death came until Clark had come back from saving lives in Italy. They had been teenagers at the time and probably would have been far more disconcerted had Lois not displayed emotion at the news.

Still, Clark didn't want them to see him like this and Lois wasn't going to argue the point now. She had come to comfort him not pass judgement. As much as she knew and reminded him this was their secret, it was Clark who had been the one with the secret identity, as much as he and Lois shared every part of their life she knew that she would never truly know what it was like to be the one out there living two different lives and wasn't about to insult Clark by pretending.

"Sorry," Clark muttered, looking up again, "I got your top all wet."

Lois laughed, not too surprised to find her own voice thick with tears too. "I think it'll survive," she assured him.

"Sorry," he said again, but with a hint of a smile in his eyes this time.

"Hey, I'm free to be your cry-pillow or substitute teddy-bear any time, Smallville," Lois joked, though she did feel some relief when Clark loosened his grip and they rearranged themselves so they were sitting side by side, leaning against one of the crystal columns but still holding the other close.

"So what happened?"

Clark shook his head. "I just… I saw the article and I guess it all finally came down on me. How stupid and naïve I was being."

Lois could think of several replies to that but none of them would be helpful to Clark right now, though she filed several away for later. Instead she stayed silent and waited for him to go on.

"I wanted them to see we could still be normal so I sent them to school. Five days after my daughter almost died in my arms and I sent her and her brother and sister back to school without even thinking of what could happen."

"Clark they wanted to go back," she reminded him, "and all we did over the weekend was plan for that and try and make it as safe as possible."

"It wasn't enough," Clark insisted, "it's never going to be enough. I can't believe I thought things would 'calm down'," he laughed mirthlessly, "I never used to be this stupid."

"You're not stupid, Clark," Lois told him sharply, "and I sent them to school too, so don't think it's only your fault."

"I could have protected them better before this," Clark said, making Lois wonder if he was listening properly to her, "If we had moved out to Smallville when Ma died. There wouldn't be so many pictures out there. They could've had a normal life."

Lois kissed him though he didn't respond. "No, that wouldn't have worked either," she told him, "for starters they wouldn't have been happy, leaving their friends, their schools. Jason would have still been on TV everyday, Sophie still would have had it in her head to go off to Harvard. Dean would have still wanted to go off adventuring. Lucy would be off to Hollywood sooner or later, she's wanted to be an actress since she was seven, being famous is going to help, can't blame her at least for seeing the bright side."

"Chris is seven," Clark whispered, but the silence in the rest of the Fortress was so absolute he could have screamed the words. "I kept it a secret to give them a normal life, is he even going to remember what that was like?"

"Maybe," Lois replied, trying to recall how much of her life she remembered when she was that young. "But I know he'll remember how much his Mom and Dad loved him and how his brothers and sisters supported him too. Things will change for him, he'll have a different childhood to his siblings but we can still give him a good one."

"And he'll remember watching his sister get stabbed and his Dad sending him back to school not a week later… I sent them all back, oh god, what was I thinking? I should have told them all to stay-"

"Clark," Lois interrupted firmly, "you did what you thought was best, and stop taking all the credit, I thought we should send them to school too."

"After Ella almost died?" Clark's voice was close to breaking and Lois felt out of her depth for the first time in years. "She wasn't just in hospital, she was attacked, Dean and Chris as well. Someone made a plan and set out to deliberately hurt my children-"

"Our children," Lois corrected him.

"He was after Superman's children," Clark said, his voice more level but his eyes blank again. "Clark Kent and Lois Lane made their share of enemies but none hold a candle to how many Superman has. And even after we had proof people were going to try and hurt them I still sent them back to school. Where they're vulnerable."

"They wanted to go too," she reminded him, "being cooped up in the apartment was doing no one any good."

"It wasn't putting them in danger either," Clark said before frowning, "but it's still not safe. They're in just as much danger there as they were in that alley outside the parking garage."

"You know that's not entirely true," Lois reminded him, "Vaderworth Academy has always had a brilliant security program and Eastview Primary was more than willing to put in extra security measures."

"How long will that last anyway? They can't afford to hire all those guards forever. Maybe they'll be safe today, and tomorrow, but soon enough-"

"Do you really think anyone will object to extra security?" Lois asked, feeling a bit more confident in her ability to bring her husband back to himself. She was familiar with this format, using questions to the turn the tide of a conversation. She'd done it for thirty years and right now Clark was too distracted to combat it properly, if he wanted to at all. "Even parents who don't make enemies like we do are paranoid nowadays, few are going to object to paying a bit more for extra assurances their kids will be safe."

Clark was silent. Lois tried to read him but his face gave her nothing more than she had got before. He was afraid, terrified of what was happening and scared he wouldn't be able to keep his family safe anymore.

"Why did you leave?" Lois asked, trying to get him to open up more, "why did you come here instead of to see me?" She knew these were exceptional and completely new circumstances, but she wasn't going to lie and pretend it hurt that when Clark had needed her the most he had turned tail and run as far away as possible. Well, he hadn't gone to the moon but he's still gone far.

"I thought it would be better if I left," Clark began.

"Clark…" Lois felt her heart clench, he couldn't be serious. There was a time she wouldn't have even considered he'd do that to her, but… even after so long, the memories of the five years without him were painful to recall.

"I thought," Clark continued, "that maybe you'd be safer. That if people didn't think I cared about you anymore they'd leave you alone. Maybe."

"You can't leave," Lois told him, already knowing from the way he spoke he wasn't going to.

"I know," Clark agreed, "I'm too selfish. I thought about it and I realised I couldn't live never seeing the kids again, not being with you again, even if it puts you all in danger. How selfish is that?"

"That's not selfish, that's being a parent," Lois informed him, relaxing as she realised he didn't ever mean to leave her again. "And besides, if anyone's allowed to be selfish once in a while, it's you."

"When me being close to them could get them hurt or… worse?" he finished, unable to say out loud what the worst could be.

"Clark, you leaving wouldn't solve anything." Lois frowned as her leg suddenly cramped and shifted into a more comfortable position before she continued. "That won't stop them being your children."

"I know but… Ella…" he closed his eyes. "I can still feel her in my arms, not moving and her blood going through my shirt-" he broke off, placing a shaking hand to cover his eyes like he was trying to push the memory from his mind.

Lois knew how he felt. Seeing her baby girl lying in a hospital bed with an unearthly green pallor and only the very slight rise and fall of her chest indicating Sophie and Clark had arrived on time. It had felt like she had been stabbed herself, like someone had cut out a piece of her heart.

She had never anticipated that, when she had first become a parent. That the untold joy and love children bought could be match by the unimaginable pain and fear when she saw them hurt or in danger. That day, so long ago now, on Luthor's yacht, Lois had come to realise that, had Luthor allowed it, she would have traded her life in a heartbeat if it meant her son would be safe.

She had never thought she could love anything as much as she had loved Clark until she laid eyes on Jason for the first time. Then she had been utterly certain her heart was full. Of course Clark with his farm boy charm and maddening good looks had proved her wrong… five times over. Every child had proved her so wrong, whenever she thought she had no more room, her quiet fears when Clark wasn't looking that this child would be the one she couldn't love, all unfounded when she saw them for the first time.

"I wouldn't want to live without you," Clark said quietly, "any of you. I couldn't."

"I know," Lois said simply. "That is one thing I can understand completely."

"I don't know what to do though, how do I make this right?"

A gust of Arctic wind wailed in the silence that followed Clark's question. Lois was at a loss again. It wasn't something she liked, not being in control, but she loved Clark more so she desperately searched for a way to answer him.

"They only way I can think it could be different if I had changed it back then." Clark's voice was emotionless but Lois could hear the tightness keeping them in check. "If, I just hadn't jumped in front of that rocket and blown the secret."

"A lot of people would have died," Lois said slowly.

"Our children would be safe," Clark replied, in the same tightly emotionless tone.

"You wouldn't have done it," Lois told him, with complete certainty. "Clark, if you hadn't done everything you could have to save those people you wouldn't be the man I feel in love with," she said softly, "you wouldn't be the father our children look up to and a re so proud of. And, yes, I do wish there had been another way but if there was… you may be Superman but even you can't take all the time in the world to examine a situation, you did what you had to."

Clark didn't reply but Lois could tell by his face she'd said the right thing.

"I think…" she continued slowly, hoping it hadn't been a fluke, "That we made the mistake of thinking that because Ella's physical injuries healed so quickly then everyone else would too," she said quietly, "and she's trying to encourage that as well. Every time I've asked she's brushed me off. I don't want to push but…" she sighed, "I think I'm going to have to."

"She's been different," Clark agreed, "but they all have, especially after-"

"You know what I'm talking about," Lois interrupted him gently. "Even before the attack she was taking it hard. Harder than the others."

"We need to talk to her," Clark sighed, "we really need to talk to all of them. One at a time. Properly. No matter how hard it is."

Lois nodded then gave and exaggerated sigh. "That's going to take time." She tutted and shook her head. "I told you having six of them would be a problem."

She glanced at his face and was pleased to see the corners of his mouth twitch upwards, just ever so slightly. Even though it disappeared just as quickly, Lois knew that so long as there was still the possibility of a smile, of them being happy again, there was hope of working this all out.

"Sounds like a plan," he agreed. Lois nodded, leaning against her husband. He responded by wrapping his arms around her and pulling her closer.

"But they'll never have a normal life now," he said, "never."

Lois knew Clark liked to have her close but he was clinging to her like a security blanket and his body heat was quickly overcoming the Artic chill. She shifted gently and Clark seemed to understand what she wanted, he left her move a little further away but kept holding her hand which Lois didn't mind the least.

"You know," Lois mused, leaning back against the crystal column, "it's not like their life was normal to start with. Big family, both parents with dangerous jobs, and of course, the superpowers."

Her statement didn't draw the smile she'd hoped. Instead Clark's frown deepened. "They were only in danger from our articles," he told her and Lois knew his mind had gone back several years to the only other time someone had gotten the upper hand on them and almost shot Sophie and Dean over an article that put his father in prison. That had been an oppurtunistic criminal though, he'd come seeking the Planet's Editor in Chief who just happened to be babysitting two of the children of the journalists who's authored the story. He'd decided they'd make better victims and Perry had taken a bullet protecting the kids and Superman had shown up to send the man to join his Dad. Clark hadn't slept for weeks afterwards but years had passed and they'd grown comfortable with the idea it was a one-time deal.

"Now they're in danger from everyone with a grudge against Superman," Lois finished his thought.

"So… what are we going to do?"

"I want to pull the kids out of school," Clark said, in a tone that seemed even he was surprised by the decision. "They're in too much danger."

"That's a big change," Lois commented, a bit surprised at how unsurprising such a suggestion was. She didn't disagree outright with the move though. As much extra security as the schools had invested in their children's safety, it might not be enough. It was slowly becoming clear that the loss of the Secret was only the beginning of the huge changes the family would have to endure.

"I'll resign from the Planet," Clark continued, his voice slow and unsure, as if he was only now daring to put these thoughts to words. Lois didn't say anything to that, it was strange to think a week ago such a comment would have made he laugh because it would have had to be a joke. A lot had changed in just a week though.

"I can home school them," he added, "and once we get a new place we can put in better security. I'll have to ask Jason, Sophie and Dean to help as well." He shook his head. "It's not their fault but I need them-"

"You know they're more than willing to help."

"They shouldn't have to!" Clark exclaimed, "We're their parents. We're supposed to be the ones worrying about things, we're supposed to be the ones taking care of them and helping them." He shook his head. "Not causing the problems and putting them in danger."

"Clark, they knew this could happen one day and if you don't know that every one of them happily lived with that risk in return for having you as a father then I don't know who's kids you've been raising but it wasn't ours." Another tiny lift around his mouth, it vanished quickly but Lois had seen it.

"They didn't have a choice," Clark muttered, a note of bitterness in his voice, and hint of a smile gone completely with that thought. "We made the choice to have children knowing full well what could happen if the secret ever came out."

"No one chooses their parents, Clark," Lois reminded him softly. "God knows I didn't choose mine, but you are such an incredible father it would have been a worse crime if you didn't have kids," she said, knowing from twenty-two years of seeing him raise their children that it was completely true. "And if everyone based their decisions to have children on what one day might happen to them, then the human race would have died off centuries ago. There's a history of breast cancer in the Troupe family but that didn't stop my sister having kids with the man she loved, did it?"

"I-" Clark began but a frown creased his features as something occurred, "your sister-"

"I got a hold of her," Lois assured him, recalling the four hours she'd spent calling people trying to track down the obscure African village her sister and husband were working in and contact her, "the phones are down but the organizers forwarded her my message, she replied last night, I don't think she believes me though, you may have to fly us over there sometime. She'll be perfectly fine there though, it's pretty remote, most people probably haven't even heard of Superman let alone Clark Kent."

Clark nodded slowly. "Maybe we should move out there then," he suggested, his tone mostly a feeble attempt at humour but holding a hint of seriousness, though Lois doubted he'd get much co-operation from the children on that idea.

They were silent for a long while, Lois wasn't sure what to say. She'd come to listen and convince him to come back and she hoped she had succeeded. Finally the silence became unbearable for her, though Clark didn't seem to mind.

"Have you decided what you're going to say tomorrow?" she asked, more for something to say than anything. She was curious though, they'd only just decided to hold a proper press conference and an interview one-on-one was one thing, especially with someone they knew, but this was an entirely different arena and she wanted to know if Clark had planned at all.

"You haven't said anything about that."

Lois raised her eyebrows at the unexpected reply. "I've said a lot of things." Though she thought she knew what he meant but she wasn't sure he wanted to hear it.

"Not about that. What do you really think I should do?"

"You need someone to listen. Not someone to have an opinion."

"You're Lois Lane, you always have an opinion," he replied, raising an eyebrow. "You know I love you so much for everything you've done in the past week but I know you, you want to tell me what you think I should do and I'm just saying you don't need to keep it to yourself."

"You really want to know what I think?" Lois asked, she had come here to be his rock and not to serve judgement. But he was right, she did have strong thoughts on the issue and after almost three decades together it wasn't just his secret anymore and she was no longer afraid to tell Clark her thoughts about it. "Are you sure?"

"I think I can handle it," Clark said, his mouth lifting at the corners again. Four almost-smiles, this was good. Maybe she could make it five later, but not with what she had to say now.

"If I were you, I'd tell them all to shove it," Lois said bluntly, "everyone who's whining on about how you hid it from them, how they as your adoring public had a right to know all your private business, I would tell them to piss off and that I owed them nothing at all. If I'd given as much of myself to them everyday as you have for the last thirty years, asking nothing in return, I wouldn't feel I owe them anything, they'd owe me," Lois could feel herself getting louder and angrier but she couldn't stop, all her frustration at the way the world was treating her husband rushing out in one go.

"You don't owe them anything, Clark," she told him, "not an explanation, not all the details of your private life or secret identity, what the hell did they expect? You to just slip it into an interview somewhere? Even now after Ella…" he voice caught slightly as she remembered the pain of seeing her daughter hurt, but she pressed on, "after they saw solid evidence that people will use this information to hurt you they still persist, like the fact that you've given them so much entitles them to take everything. Well, it doesn't.

"Every Average Joe seems to think you should have told them over the cup of coffee they sold Clark Kent on the street five years ago. You didn't, these people don't deserve your apologies, you're the one that deserves theirs. You had their respect as Superman and you still deserve it- no, you deserve it even more now they know you're Clark Kent and know all you gave up every day to go save their sorry asses when they jump the barrier and almost have a glacier collapse on them.

"If I were you I'd show up tomorrow and demand they apologise to me, not the other way around."

He didn't reply, he didn't agree but to Lois' surprise and satisfaction he didn't immediately disagree.

"I want you to be yourself tomorrow," Lois told him simply, pressing her advantage, "don't be Superman and don't be 'klutz' Kent, be Clark, be the Clark Kent who's journalism took down Intergang and who can hold his own in an interview with a criminal genius. Be the Clark Kent that our children know, be that Clark Kent Martha and Jonathan raised you to be."

"You make it sound so easy."

"You'd be surprised."

He didn't reply for a while and Lois winced as she started to cramp again. Clark could have chosen a more comfortable setting to flee to, she thought as she massaged her leg. Or at least moved to sit on the bed even.

She sighed with relief as her leg suddenly relaxed and warmth spread along the aching limb. Clark must have read her mind as he helped her up to sit on the edge of the bed as he used his heat vision to massage her other cramping muscles.

"I'm sorry," he apologised as Lois lay back on the comfortable bed, letting her husband take care of her for just a moment.

"It's okay," Lois tried to tell him but a yawn caught her off guard and she was surprised to find how drained she was. She had no idea how long she'd been talking with him but as soon as Clark had helped her move off the floor it seemed like a spell had been broken and now the toll of experiencing so many emotions in such a short time was really catching up.

The bed dipped beside her as Clark sat. "Do you want to go back now?" he asked.

"Do you?" Lois replied, opening her eyes and sitting up, thanking the cosmos for super powered husbands that could take care of sore muscles.

"I want to pick Chris and the girls up myself," he said, not giving a truly direct answer, "I don't want them to think I just left."

Lois couldn't help raising her eyebrows at that and Clark winced. "I know," he sighed, shaking his head. "I did just leave and I should have stayed but- I- I don't know-"

"It's okay," Lois assured him, feeling a little bad for her reaction. Clark was allowed to freak out every so often like anyone else, especially in such a stressful situation.

Clark nodded. "We'll tell them together what we're going to do," he said, getting up and stretching before helping Lois to her feet. She was surprised at how stiff she was, how long had she been sitting there?

"We'll talk to them," Lois repeated. In truth, while Clark seemed sure, she still hadn't made up her mind. She wanted the kids safe as much as Clark but she didn't want them to be unhappy. She had an idea in mind that might help but Clark wouldn't like it if she told him now, she'd have to wait until she could speak to the kids about it. He still wouldn't like it but at least she'd have back-up.

Their lives were going to change, that much was inevitable, they already had. The kids were in danger now, from those who wanted to hurt her husband for trying to make the world a better place. But Lois was prepared to make as many sacrifices as she had to, to lessen the impact of this for their kids. As clear as it was to her that their children loved their parents, they hadn't chosen to put themselves in the position of prime targets for those who wanted to get back at Superman.

"Let's go home."

--

Evelyn Jones was trying to concentrate on her work but she was, rather understandably distracted. Not only did she have to deal with this whole… thing with Jason and his family but the client had suddenly changed his mind on her designs and she would now have to stay late to redraw several pages.

She decided to take a late lunch, she had planned to work through it but an hour after the usual time her stomach had rumbled so loud, Leah at the desk next to her had told her to eat or she'd call noise control.

Evelyn wasn't in the mood for a sit-down lunch. She wouldn't be able to relax anyway and she had other things that needed dealing. Sooner rather than later.

"You know," the taxi driver told her, as he pulled out into the traffic, "you look kinda familiar."

Evelyn felt her heart jump slightly but she had thought about what to do if this happened. She rolled her eyes, "Let me guess, Evelyn Jones?"

"Yeah! That girl who's dating Superman's kid," he cried, snapping his fingers before frowning. "You're not?"

"No," she lied, "but I've been getting that every five minutes since last Monday. You think I'd be taking a cab if my boyfriend could fly?"

The cabbie laughed. "No, fair enough." And they spent the rest of the ride listening to the radio speculate whether Eleanor Kent really had been as severely injured as reported as she had left the hospital pretty quickly.

She paid the driver and hurried into the building he'd taken her too before she lost her nerve.

She hesitated for a moment when she arrived at the apartment but gritted her teeth and knocked on the door before she turned and fled.

Her mother answered the door, which gave her a few more moments. "Evelyn!"

"Hey, Mom," Evelyn greeted her, smiling tightly.

"Your father's just in the study, do you want me to…"

"Have you talked to him about what he did?" Evelyn asked, looking towards her Dad's study. "I mean-"

"I know, but, please, Evie, you have to understand he did what he thought was best for you."

"By going on national TV do say something that should have been only between me and him. Or actually me and Jason," Evelyn snapped, trying not to raise her voice but finding it difficult.

"Lorene? Who are you talking to?" Evelyn felt her heart jump into her through as her father came out of the study, rubbing his eyes.

"Dad," she said shortly.

"Evelyn," he replied, sounding a lot happier to see her than she was to see him. Maybe her Mom had talked some sense into him…

"You need a place to stay? You shouldn't be living with Jason anymore, especially not if you're not together."

Then again, maybe not.

"I'm not leaving Jason, Dad," she said, her temper rising again. Maybe coming to see him wasn't a good idea, she'd thought she could keep her emotions in check but her control was already fraying.

"Evie, that boy is only going to hurt you. His father's bad enough but now-"

"Dad, I love Jason," Evelyn told him with absolute certainty. "He's not going to hurt me-"

"Where was he when my brother died then?" her father interrupted, his voice suddenly increasing in volume and Evelyn. "You know why I never liked Sup- his father, but don't you see now him and the other like him are worse?" It took Evelyn a moment to realise he was referring to Jason's siblings. "They could have saved thousands of lives, my brother's life, but instead they just went off to their cushy jobs on TV or riding through Harvard on a scholarship, not giving a damn that people were dying all around them, deaths they could prevent! People like that are not people who you want to trust, Evie."

Evelyn tried not to react to that. It was the exact same question she had asked Jason that morning and the question that still lingered at the back of her mind, but "They couldn't do it without putting their family in incredible danger," she reminded herself and her father, though her voice was a lot less certainty than before. "It took less than a day for someone to track down some kryptonite and-"

"Oh, that?" her father snorted, "The kid wasn't even in hospital for two days and back at school in under a week, yet they all expect us to believe it was some kind of life threatening injury?"

"Dad…" Evelyn sighed, really wishing she hadn't come now.

"Your father does not agree with what happened to Jason's sister," he mother said sharply, glaring at her husband.

"Maybe I don't agree with someone attacking a kid," her Dad admitted, "but the ones over eighteen and Superman/Clark Kent are fair game if you ask me."

"Dad!" Evelyn couldn't believe what she was hearing. "You're saying you'd be okay with someone attacking my fiancée?"

"He was not!" her mother snapped, "Henry, tell your daughter you don't want her boyfriend to be hurt."

"I didn't want my brother to be killed either!" he yelled back, jumping up. "Evelyn, I meant what I said at that TV station, he'd better back off, and if he doesn't-"

"You'll what?" Evelyn challenged her father. "C'mon, Dad, what will you do if Jason decides he doesn't want to 'back off'? Or if I don't want him too, are you just going to disown me?"

"Please, stop!" Her mother yelled, holding up her hands. "The both of you! Stop it!"

Evelyn could hear her heart hammering in her chest and hoped Jason had enough sense to stay away. He was probably filming right now but she wouldn't put it past him to come running to her side if he thought she was upset.

Her father still had a furious look on his face and now Evelyn wasn't yelling at him, her anger was starting to be replaced by a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. Her father had acted so incredibly rashly and out of character but even if he claimed he'd only done out of love for her she still had to deal with seeing the video on TV every five minutes.

Yet… only that morning she'd had the same thoughts. She'd never go so far as to believe what happened to Ella was deserved or wish any of the Kents harm but there was no denying Jason could have saved so many lives and hadn't. So could Sophie, and Dean.

It hadn't occurred to her at first but now, after a week of watching Jason save lives she had started wondering just how many people had died while he was sitting at home with her.

Were people falling to their deaths while they were eating dinner? Getting hit by bullets and bleeding out on bank floors while Jason curled up with her on the couch? Watching their homes burn to the ground when they were in bed together? How many lives had been lost all because of this secret? Because Evelyn, even when she knew what he could do, hadn't ever asked, hadn't thought about all the things her boyfriend could be doing instead of cooking her dinner.

"This was a mistake," Evelyn said finally, "I'm sorry I came, Dad, I thought you might have been willing to talk but I guess I was wrong."

"Evelyn," her mother called, running after her as she headed to the door.

Evelyn waited until they were it the hall then closed the door so her father couldn't hear. "What?" she asked, trying not to be angry at their mother but unable to be entirely calm after that.

"Please, if you let me talk to him now, will you come over for dinner tomorrow? Nina is coming but your brother can't make it, and you know your sister, she's as angry as you, I was hoping-"

"Hoping what Mom?" Evelyn asked, "that we could sit down and discuss this like the adults we are? Yeah I thought we could too, but apparently that's not possible. What has gotten into Dad?"

"He's just worried about you," her mother insisted. "Look at what happened to Jason's sister? Don't you think you might be in danger too, someone could hurt you to get to Jason."

"I know, Mom," Evelyn exclaimed, her frustration mounting again. "But it's my life, it's for me and Jason to decide how we deal with this, how we cope with all the new stuff coming. For better or worse, I agreed to that when I agreed to this." She held up her hand so the diamond on her finger caught the light.

"You haven't agreed yet," her mother reminded her. "Evie, I love you and nothing will ever, ever change that but... other things have changed and I don't want you to get hurt."

"Well I think Dad's already done that," Evelyn muttered glaring at the closed door.

"Evie-"

"Mom, I need to talk about this with Jason first okay?" Evelyn interrupted, not wanting to listen to any more excuses for her father's behaviour. "I just need more time, I thought we could get this out of the way but… I'll call okay?"

Her mother nodded. "Okay, I love you."

"Love you too, Mom," Evelyn sighed, before turning down the hall to the elevator, already deep in thought by the time she pressed the button.

She was calming down slightly but still unsettled. The worst part of the whole thing was she didn't entirely disagree with some of what her Dad had said. Jason could have saved so many lives yet… he hadn't.

She knew she needed to talk to Jason about this, about the hundred and thirty-two people he had saved in the past week and all the ones he could have saved in the weeks before. It wasn't for her and her parents to talk and wonder about behind his back. It was for Jason to explain to her face.

Then they'd decided what to do. For better or worse.

--

A/N: I don't much like most incarnations of Lois' sister Lucy so I made my own, in this 'verse her and her husband, Ron Troupe, are doctors currently volunteering in Africa. This will not be important to the plot before you get worried :P

Reviews are love!

Comments

Posted by: love_is_my_goal (love_is_my_goal)
Posted at: December 20th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)

I can't wait to read what Lois and Clark decide to do with the younger kids about school and stuff. What a dilemma. And I can't help but agree with Evelyn about the fact that the older ones could have been helping earlier and yet her dad is being a huge jerk about it!

I can't wait to read the next chapter! Great job on this chapter!

Posted by: Grace (repmetsyrrah)
Posted at: December 29th, 2010 12:01 pm (UTC)
Revelations; Family

I'm looking forward to that too, I've had it sorted for quite a while and I'm eager to see what people think of their final decision.

I love the reaction to Evelyn's thoughts and the conversation with her Dad- people are so mixed about it, half agree with her and the other half say they can completely see why the older kids never did anything. Unfortunately it's a little longer before we come to the full explanation, but it is coming.

Thanks, hoping to have it up soon!

Edited at 2010-12-29 12:02 pm (UTC)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Grace (repmetsyrrah)
Posted at: December 29th, 2010 07:36 am (UTC)
Comic; Lois; Action shot

Thanks, I was really nervous about how that would go over but everyone seemed to understand his reaction and think it appropriate. And writing Lois is always fun :P

Thanks for commenting!

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