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  1. #16
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    I've really been inspired with this story.

    a/n: The General does not come off smelling of roses in this chapter, but all I'll say is, he will not be a total jerk either.

    Chapter Four

    Lois loved the precious moments she got to spend with her daughter. Even if those moments were spent changing a diaper. She sipped a cup of coffee and watched the chubby infant laying on her back on the floor of their cabin, her limbs flailing every which way as she giggled and babbled.

    She picked up a plastic rattle and shook it. Kally reached for it, one end going straight into her mouth.

    “Oh great, now it’s gonna have your drool all over it,” Lois complained half-heartedly. Kally babbled something at her, using one hand to shake the rattle experimentally. She seemed delighted with her efforts.

    Lois heard a tap on her door and got up to answer it. Bubsy smiled at her.

    “You have a visitor, dear.”

    Someone to see her? Lois frowned. As far as she knew, no one in her family had any idea she was living at the inn and no one in town knew her.

    She glanced at the clock Bubsy had given her and noted she still had about twenty minutes before she had to start her shift. She was on lates tonight.

    “Um, who’s here?” she asked her boss.

    “A young man,” was all the older woman would say. Lois had the feeling she knew his name but wasn’t about to spill the beans.

    Lois glanced back at her daughter and went out, closing the door just enough to leave it ajar so she could hear if Kally needed her. A tall man with dark hair stood on the back porch of the inn, but stepped down when Bubsy nodded at him.

    Clark!

    She stared at him, feeling more than a little nervous at seeing him here. It had been a week or so since she’d gone to see him at the farm. She hadn’t sent him any messages and hadn’t told him where she was living.

    What was he doing here?

    “What are you doing here?” she asked as soon as her friend was out of earshot.

    “I needed to talk to you,” he said quietly. “Could we …” He gestured toward the cabin but she stood in front of the doorway, barring him from entering.

    “No, we can’t.”

    “Why not? What are you protecting?”

    “Nothing.”

    He looked sceptical. “Really? So that’s not a baby I can hear in there?”

    She frowned at him. “What are you? Part bloodhound?”

    “Lois!”

    She sighed and shook her head. “How did you find me?”

    “I did a little digging. It wasn’t that hard, really. This is a small town. When a girl turns up out of the blue with a baby in tow, people notice.”

    “Well, yay for them. Why are you here, Smallville?”

    “Maybe I want to get to know my daughter.”

    Her heart skipped a beat. Did he just say …

    “I know she’s mine, Lois. I did the maths.”

    “How did you even know about her?”

    “Chloe. She told me your dad’s had people looking up and down the country for you.”

    “How did she … I mean, how did you …”

    He sighed. “I told her I ran into you. I tried to make it sound like you’d already left town, but I don’t think she believed me.”

    “Well, of course she didn’t believe you! She’s a reporter, Smallville! How long do you think it’ll be before she figures out you’re Kally’s dad?” She paused. “Or before she tells my dad I’m here?”

    “I didn’t think …”

    “Do you ever?” she accused.

    He flinched. “That’s not fair, Lois. I had a right to know about Kally.”

    Lois had to concede he had a point. She had been wracking her brains trying to think of a gentle way to tell him about her … their daughter.

    Kally cried out in a fit of pique, obviously missing her mother’s attention. Sighing, Lois opened the door.

    “All right. Mommy’s coming.” She turned and looked at Clark. “You can see her. But only for a few minutes. I have to start my shift in ten.”

    Clark followed her inside and sat on the floor beside the infant. Kally stared at him, clearly wondering who this strange person was, but soon returned her attention to the rattle Lois shook in front of her.

    “She’s really cute,” Clark said. “Does she … I mean, she’s, um, healthy?”

    “Got all her fingers and toes in the right places. It was hard for a while, after I left my dad’s. We were sort of on the streets for a month. Then I came here and Bubsy found us.”

    “Bubsy?”

    “Miss Harrigan. She kind of adopted us.”

    Clark nodded. “So, who takes care of Kally when you’re working?”

    “Well, she sort of stays in a crib in Bubsy’s office. All the staff help take care of her, really.”

    “Oh. Would it be okay if I … I mean, would you mind if I came to babysit sometime? Spend time with her?”

    What could she really say to that? He had a right to spend some time with his daughter. She had to at least give him that. Even if she couldn’t really trust him.

    “You can trust me,” he said.

    “You won’t try to take her away from me?” Lois asked. “I mean …”

    He sent her a confused look. “Why would I do that?”

    “That’s what my dad wanted to do. He wanted me to have Kally adopted out, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t give her up.”

    For some odd reason, Clark looked almost relieved at hearing that.

    “I wouldn’t give her up either,” he said. He looked thoughtful. “Is that why you left your dad’s?”

    “Yeah. That, and other stuff.”

    “Okay.” He stood up. “I should let you get to work. Um, when is your day off?”

    “Saturday,” she said.

    “Could I come and spend some time with Kally? If you wanted to, we could take her out somewhere, or I could just babysit if you wanted to go somewhere on your own.”

    She was reluctant to let him stay with Kally on his own. Not that she didn’t trust him not to take her daughter away somewhere, but because she thought he probably didn’t know how to handle a baby.

    “Why don’t we just take this one step at a time, Smallville. You come here on Saturday. After, say, nine, and then we’ll decide what to do. Okay?”

    “Okay. That sounds like a plan.”

    She picked up her daughter and carried her out of the cabin, locking the door. Clark looked at her.

    “It’s so guests don’t think they can just help themselves to my stuff,” she told him.

    “Oh. You don’t have very much.”

    She didn’t think he’d noticed. Most of what she’d managed to get from the charity shop had been for Kally. A crib, a few toys, some clothes. She had only a few things for herself. Her first tips hadn’t been all that much but the inn had a few regular guests and once they started to get to know her they gave her a little more, knowing she had Kally.

    Clark followed her into the inn and watched as she handed her daughter over to Bubsy, who was at the front desk talking to the receptionist. Her friend cooed over the baby, promising she would be fine while Lois worked. The older woman had told her she loved taking care of Kally.

    There were times when it really did feel like Bubsy was Kally’s grandmother the way she fussed over her.

    “I should get to work,” Lois told Clark.

    “I’ll be here on Saturday,” he murmured. “I promise.”

    She decided she wasn’t going to hold him to that. While he seemed to be completely different from Kal in his manner, she wasn’t ready to believe in the ‘nice guy’ persona. If he wanted her trust, he would have to earn it.

    Halfway through her shift, she had a chance to sit in the office and watch over her baby while eating the dinner Bubsy had cooked for her. The older woman came in and sat down.

    “How are you, sweetie?”

    “I’m okay.”

    Her friend leaned over the makeshift crib, which was really just a small playpen Lois had managed to rescue from being thrown out by the charity shop and set up with a new mattress.

    “Your friend coming back?”

    “On Saturday.”

    “He’s the daddy, huh?”

    Lois bit her lip. “I didn’t know he lived here when I … I met him in the city.”

    “I’ve known Clark since he was adopted by his parents. He’s a sweet boy.”

    “He was different when I met him.”

    Bubsy nodded. “There was a terrible accident at the farm spring before last. We don’t really know what happened, but Clark left. His parents almost lost everything trying to find him. I’m guessing that’s when you met.”

    Lois remembered Bubsy had told her some of the details the night she’d picked Clark up on the roadside. She’d forgotten about meeting Martha Kent in the hospital.
    Kally had grandparents. Even with the problems she had with her father, Lois wondered if she should at least let Clark’s parents know they had a grandchild. Then again, that was probably Clark’s responsibility.

    “Don’t try to overthink things, sweetheart. You’ve barely started to get back on your feet. If Clark wants his parents to know, he’s the one who should tell them.”

    She smiled at her friend. “How do you always know what I’m thinking?”

    “It’s a gift,” the older woman returned. “I can’t tell you how they’ll react but I do know that they will come to love you and your sweet baby girl once they’ve had a chance to get to know you.”

    “Unlike my dad,” she said bitterly.

    It had been a terrible fight that had forced her to leave home. Her father hadn’t been at all happy when she had eventually told him she was pregnant. He’d demanded to know everything. How it had happened and who the father was. She had wondered at the time if he’d planned to hunt the man down and either kill him or force him to take responsibility for his actions. Never mind the fact that it took two to tango.


    “Did you even use protection?” he’d raged. He’d already ranted to her about being too young to have sex until she’d pointed out that she was considered old enough by the law to decide for herself. In Kansas, at least. It was different in other states. Not that that mattered to him.


    “Yes, Daddy.” They’d used a condom. Even that, unfortunately, wasn’t completely infallible.


    He glared down at her baby bump.


    “I suppose it’s too late for …”


    She stared at him, placing a hand protectively on her stomach. She was almost five months along.


    “Daddy, are you suggesting I …” She didn’t want to say the rest. The very thought of getting rid of the baby was something she had never considered. Not even for a second. Even if it had been a mistake for her to have slept with Kal, even if things had ended badly between them, she would never ever consider her baby a mistake.


    “Well, I suppose once it’s born you can have it adopted out,” he said.


    Her eyes widened as she stared at her father. Give it up?


    She tried to pretend everything was fine and went on with her life as if everything was normal, but by her seventh month, there was no more pretending. The school where she was meant to be finishing her senior year decided she was setting a bad example and ‘suggested’ she drop out. It was less of a suggestion and more an order. She wouldn’t even have been allowed to repeat her senior year once the baby was born. The school would definitely not be welcoming her back.


    Stuck at home with nothing to do, she was forced to take the brunt of her father’s bad temper. Not that he was an abusive father, she thought. Just mostly neglectful. He started working later and later in his office on the base and came home tired and grouchy. If Lois even tried to broach the subject of the baby he would growl and mutter something before going off to his room.


    A social worker began coming by in her eighth month of pregnancy. Lois knew what the woman was doing. Her father was bound and determined that she was not going to keep the baby and had assigned the woman to persuade Lois to give her baby up for adoption.


    This continued even after Kally was born. Lois had taken one look at the screaming baby with her thick black hair and named her after Kal. Despite the way he’d behaved, part of her had liked him. Maybe she would never get the chance to know the real Kal, but at least with her daughter she had part of him.


    It was a good thing that the social worker was a decent sort who believed that Lois was old enough to make up her own mind about whether she wanted to give up her baby. The general, however, refused to take no for an answer. He would leave brochures for adoption agencies around and drop hints about families on base who were desperate for children, as if that would guilt Lois into giving up her daughter.


    The general wasn’t really a cruel man but he had his pride and the news that his teenaged daughter, who was supposedly so independent and so responsible, was pregnant, had embarrassed him.


    The final straw came when Kally was three months old. Lois had marked the day on her calendar as it was almost the one-year anniversary of the night she had met Kal. She’d thought of him often through the long months of her pregnancy, alternately hating him for the way it had happened and wishing he was by her side.


    Lois had never considered herself to be a sentimental kind of person but she had begun having dreams of meeting up with Kal. Of them walking off into the sunset together with their daughter. She knew it couldn’t really happen, but anything was better than home.


    The general came home early that final day. With guests. A sergeant and his wife. Within a few minutes of her meeting them, Lois’ father had handed over the baby. When Lois tried to take her back, he pulled her aside and shoved her into the next room.


    “I talked to them about adopting the baby,” he said.


    Lois stared at him incredulously. “You can’t do that,” she said.

    “You are too young to be a mother.”

    “You are not taking my child away from me,” she screamed at him.


    “You are destroying your future!” he screamed back. “You’ve already dropped out of high school and now you won’t be going to college either. You have embarrassed me …”


    Lois tuned out the rest of his rant and pushed past him, striding toward the couple who looked at each other nervously.


    “Whatever my father told you, he’s wrong. I’m not giving up my baby. I’m sorry. You seem like a really nice couple but he had no right to talk to you without my consent.” She took the baby from them.


    She packed whatever she could and left that night.


    Bubsy had listened to her story one night long after the front desk had closed down for the evening, tears streaming down her face.

    “Oh, Lois, I’m so sorry your father did that to you.”

    “I know he was doing what he thought was best for both of us but I just don’t understand why he wouldn’t listen to what I wanted.”

    “Some men can be so close-minded. I know my father, when he found out I was pregnant, was so angry and so hurt. In those days an unmarried mother was just not the done thing.”

    She remembered that conversation as she talked to Bubsy about Clark and how he’d found out about their daughter. While she was glad he hadn’t told Chloe she was still in town, she knew it wouldn’t be long before her cousin found out anyway. It wouldn’t be hard. Not for someone who was used to digging things up, like Chloe was. It was only a matter of time.

    The question was, would her cousin tell her father where she was?

    “I’m scared my dad will find me and will try to take Kally away from me again.”

    “I won’t let that happen,” her friend told her. “He can certainly try but he will have to go through me. And Clark. You should tell him what happened with your dad. I have a feeling he will understand.

    Clark was late getting to the inn. Chloe had asked for his help with an article she was writing for the paper but between football practice – he’d decided to join the football team, against his father’s wishes, but still – and his chores on the farm, he had wondered if he should perhaps give up working for the Torch, at least until football was over for the year.

    Knowing his friend needed him, he realised he couldn’t just abandon her and had spent an hour that morning doing some research for the article. He knew his future wasn’t on the farm – at least his dad agreed with that – and journalism was really the only thing he could see himself doing once he finished college.

    Once he’d managed to get away, he stopped in at the Talon. His mom had taken a job managing the coffee shop, since Lex now owned it outright. As he paid for the coffees, he was startled to bump into Lana.

    He’d seen her at school, of course, but they hadn’t really had a chance to talk since she’d got back from France. He’d assumed she was staying for a year, but didn’t ask her why she’d come home. After the way they’d left things before she’d gone away, he didn’t think there was any hope of salvaging their relationship.

    Truth be told, the knowledge that he was a father to a little girl had changed his perspective somewhat.

    He hadn’t decided whether he should tell his parents. They were not going to be happy. He knew that much. After the summer he’d run away, there had been some tension between them all for a while. They’d basically walked on eggshells around him, afraid he would leave again. He’d thought about it. Even considered going to look for Lois. Even if it was just to apologise for his behaviour.

    Telling them they were grandparents was just going to open up another can of worms and he wasn’t sure he wanted to put them through that.

    “Lana.”

    “Oh, Clark. Didn’t see you there.” She looked at the small tray of takeout coffees. He’d ordered one for himself and one for Lois. When they’d gone out on the motorcycle that day, she’d confessed she only liked one particular blend of coffee. A lot like Chloe, he’d thought with a grin. “You working at the Torch?”

    “Hmm?”

    “The coffee. You usually drink black. I didn’t think you were into the other kind.”

    Of course, he thought. She must have overheard his order.

    “Oh, no I’m not working at the Torch today. Chloe’s got that all under control. I’m just going to visit a friend.”

    “Oh. I see. So, how are you?” she asked.

    “I’m fine. You?”

    Geez, could this get any more awkward, he thought. He used to be able to talk to Lana about anything, even when they were on the outs as boyfriend and girlfriend but now …

    “I’m good. Well, I should get going. I have to get to the market.”

    “Yeah, I need to get going too. I’m late,” he said.

    She frowned as if wanting to ask what he was late for, but didn’t ask. Clark left the shop and went out to the truck. The clock on the dash told him he was already twenty minutes late.

    The inn was quiet when he pulled up five minutes later. He parked in a space and got out, taking the coffee with him. Miss Harrington stood at the front desk, looking at something on the computer. She looked up.

    “Hello Clark. Come to see Lois?”

    “Yes, ma’am.”

    “She’s just in the dining room. Go on through honey.”

    Clark went into the dining room. Lois was sitting at a table, a high chair in front of her. A small bowl was on the tray and she was attempting to feed Kally with some green goop. Clark grimaced, then chuckled as the baby made a disgusted face.

    “It’s good for you,” Lois told her daughter.

    “I don’t know,” Clark said. “I wouldn’t eat it either.”

    Lois turned and glared at him. “Are you criticising my parenting skills?” she accused.

    He shrugged. “No. Just agreeing with Kally. I hate mushy green stuff too,” he responded, setting the coffees down. “I bought you a coffee. I wasn’t sure if you were allowed to drink coffee. I mean if you’re … you know …” He gestured toward her chest.

    She smirked at him.

    “Breastfeeding? It’s not a dirty word, Smallville. Yes, I’m still breastfeeding and yes, I am allowed coffee. In small doses.” She got up and handed him the spoon. “Here.”

    He stared at her. “You want me to try?”

    “If you want to be part of her life, you have to learn how to take care of her. So, you try feeding her while I drink my coffee.” She picked up the cup and sipped, looking surprised. “You remembered how I like my coffee,” she said.

    He shrugged. “I remember a lot of things about you.”

    “Yeah? Like what?”

    “Like how you hate uncomfortable silences. How you tend to babble when you’re nervous.” He picked up the spoon and watched as the green goop dripped back into the bowl. “What is this, anyway?”

    “Broccoli,” Lois said. “I hadn’t had a chance to get any more baby food so this was all I had.”

    “For breakfast? No wonder she’s complaining!”

    “She’s a baby, Smallville. She doesn’t even talk yet.”

    He grinned as he tried to feed her the broccoli. Again she made a disgusted face and a sound that resembled ‘yuck’ in his uneducated opinion.

    “Sounds like a complaint to me,” he said.

    “She still has to eat it.”

    He looked with sympathy at the baby. “You’ve got a mean mother, kid.”

    “I’m not mean!” Lois replied. “You take that back!”

    Clark laughed at her expression. She was pouting. At least she knew he was teasing. Lois sat down beside her daughter.

    “Come on, sweetie, I know it’s not your favourite apple and custard but it’s all Mommy has right now. My check doesn’t come in until the end of the month and I’ve only got a little bit in tips.”

    Clark looked at her. “If you need money, I can help.”

    “Clark …”

    “No,” he said. “She’s my daughter too. I’ve got enough to get her some baby food and anything else you need.”

    “Thank you,” she said quietly.

    He turned back to look at the baby. “Okay, kiddo, you heard your mom. I know it’s green and kind of gross but it’ll help you grow nice and strong.”

    Kally looked dubiously at him, but accepted the spoonful. She still made a face but ate it, then accepted more until most of it was eaten. Lois stroked her daughter’s head.

    “Good girl,” she crooned. “But now we have to go change your clothes since your daddy spilled broccoli all over them.”

    Clark rolled his eyes. “I did not.” He pointed to the green stain on her onesie which was dry enough that it had obviously been there a while. “That was there before I got here.”

    “Yeah, sure.” She got up. “Why don’t you bring her with you to the cabin?”

    He carefully lifted her up, making sure she was fully supported. Kally sat contentedly in his arms, almost as if she knew who he was.

    He’d thought of almost nothing else but his daughter since he’d found out about her. Even his parents had noticed his distraction.

    He’d been worried that she had already started to develop abilities like his. He was sure Lois would have mentioned it so he figured she was perhaps too young. Then again, would she even develop powers since she was born under a yellow sun? He didn’t know the exact science but ever since the solar flares he’d suspected his own abilities had something to do with the sun. He didn’t know enough about Krypton to come to any firm conclusions.

    He was tempted to talk to Jor-El. His birth father might not have all the answers but he had to have some at least.

    He knew he would have to tell Lois about his secret sooner or later. She would need to be prepared in case Kally did develop such abilities. She would need to know how to protect her.

    Knowing he didn’t have a baby seat in the truck and figuring it would be safer, they decided to leave Kally with Miss Harrigan while they went to Granville to get some groceries from the local Safeway. Clark wanted to avoid bumping into anyone he knew in Smallville and Granville wasn’t too far that it would be out of his way.

    They were back an hour later with lots of baby food. Clark had also bought a teddy bear for his daughter, having seen it on the shelves in the toy aisle. He’d tried to buy Lois something too but she’d protested she didn’t really need anything. He could tell almost her entire life revolved around the baby.

    Bubsy was already making them lunch when they got back to the inn. She’d told Clark as an aside that she’d offered to pay for baby food but Lois had stubbornly refused. The older woman commented that it was good that Lois had allowed him to help out. Clark agreed, thinking that it was the right thing for him to do.

    It was still reasonably warm for almost October and they sat out on the back porch. Kally was in a baby swing, fascinated with the toys that hung above her. She cooed contentedly, making Lois smile.

    “I like seeing you smile,” Clark said. He hadn’t wanted to comment but she had looked mostly pale and drawn. Yet when she was with Kally, she seemed happy.

    Lois didn’t reply and just sat back sipping the tea Bubsy had made.

    “Can I ask you something?” he said.

    “You just did,” she responded automatically.

    “Right. Why did you come to Smallville?”

    “I don’t know. I guess because of Chloe. She always talked about this town. Mostly she said it was kind of weird, but the people were nice.”

    “Have you talked to her?”

    She shook her head. “I can’t. I don’t want my dad to know I’m here.”

    “What really happened between you and your dad? I mean, you told me he wanted you to adopt Kally out, but … what are you so afraid of?”

    She bit her lip, mulling the question over. “You don’t know my dad,” she said.

    “Tell me. I want to know.” He listened as she told him about the fight that had forced her to pack her bags and leave her father’s house with Kally. He wanted to be angry with the general but he tried to see the man’s side as well. He couldn’t. He just couldn’t understand how the man could be so horrible toward his daughter and refuse to support her decision.

    “I’m sorry your dad was so horrible to you.”

    “It’s not his fault. I guess he just couldn’t handle it, you know?”

    Clark wondered how the general would have reacted if he’d learned that Kally’s father wasn’t even born on Earth. The worst-case scenario would be that he would have had her locked up in a lab somewhere. Tested for any abilities. He shuddered. He would never allow that to happen.

    There was still the issue of Chloe. He gently tried to persuade Lois to talk to her cousin. Chloe would find out Lois was here eventually. She might even learn the truth about Kally’s parentage. He was sure if Lois explained the situation then her cousin would understand.

    Lois still refused. Clark knew there was only one way to deal with this and that was to let her come to the decision on her own.

  2. #17
    Custom Title jon-el87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenixnz View Post

    “You are destroying your future!” he screamed back. “You’ve already dropped out of high school and now you won’t be going to college either. You have embarrassed me …”

    Yes, Sam, let's make it all about you.

  3. #18
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon-el87 View Post
    Yes, Sam, let's make it all about you.
    Yeah, it's been a big blow to his pride. He will redeem himself and that's all I'll say about that.

  4. #19
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    Chapter Five

    She watched as the young parents talked in the parlour. Clark had been visiting every chance he had, spending time with his daughter, who was growing like a weed. Little Kally obviously thrived on the love and attention from both her parents.

    Bubsy studied Lois, who was looking much happier than she had been three months ago. She had put on a little weight and was smiling a lot more. She was a hard worker and the guests certainly appreciated all the effort she put in. She was also a good mother, putting all her energy into being a good example for her daughter.

    She heard Clark’s deep laughter as Lois moved quickly to rescue whatever the seven-month-old had put in her mouth. Kally was turning into a mischievous child. Into everything. She often told Lois that her daughter was just trying to understand her world, using all her senses to work out what everything was.

    Bubsy noticed the book on the table beside the couch. Lois had been taking advantage of her day off to do a little bit of study before Clark’s visit. She was pleased that the eighteen-year-old had taken on board some of the things they’d talked about a few weeks earlier.

    She had approached Lois about perhaps getting her GED and going to school.

    “Am I not doing a good job?” Lois asked, clearly worried she was going to be kicked out.

    “Oh, you are, dear. You’re a wonderful worker. But you are so smart. Have you given any thought to what you want to do with your life?”

    “Not really. I mean, I did think about it before I had Kally, but …”

    “Sweetheart, you can’t just live for your child. You have to have something for yourself too.”

    Lois bit her lip. “When I was in tenth grade, I took this class in journalism. The teacher didn’t seem to think I was cut out for it but I liked it. My cousin’s the editor of her school paper.”

    “Yes, dear, I know. I’ve seen the paper. And as far as that teacher is concerned, well, what do they know? I’ve always felt if there is something you enjoy doing you will eventually learn how to be good at it.”

    “Did you like nursing?”

    “Sometimes. I mostly only took it on to make my mother and father happy. I love running the inn.”

    “Do you really think I could do it?” the teen asked.

    “I think you can do anything you set your mind to.”

    “I’d have to get my GED,” Lois replied, biting her lip.

    “That is true, but I can help you with that. I can look after Kally if you need to study.”

    Lois looked at her for a long moment then threw her arms around her in a warm hug.

    “You are so good to me, Bubsy. I don’t know what I ever did to deserve you.”

    She waved the girl away, flustered. “Oh, get away with you.”

    The chatter returned her to the present and she saw Clark had picked up his daughter and they’d left the parlour. Lois smiled at her.

    “Clark’s offered to take us to Granville for an early dinner.”

    She nodded. “Well, make sure you wrap up warmly, sweetheart. It’s quite chilly out.”

    “We will,” Lois replied.

    Clark held his daughter’s hand and shook it gently up and down. He was trying to teach her to wave. Bubsy chuckled as the little family went out to the cabin to get warm coats. She didn’t know just how close they were but she could tell Clark was doing his best to be a good father. He’d bought Lois a car seat so they could take Kally out for rides in the truck and pitched in for groceries. She guessed he didn’t have a lot of money either but he was giving as much as he could.

    He was a sweet boy, she thought.

    She went to her office to finish the paperwork she hadn’t been able to get done during the week. It was getting close to winter and the inn was heading into its quieter period. Around Christmas it would experience a brief surge in the number of guests, due to family gatherings, but after that it would drop off for a month or so.

    She was deep into the work when she was startled by the bell ringing at the front desk. She hadn’t been expecting any guests to come in and had let the receptionist have the day off. She came out, her step faltering as she saw the young woman and the man standing in front of her. She recognised both of them from photographs she’d seen in Lois’ cabin.

    “Can I help you?” she asked quietly.

    “Miss Harrigan?” The young woman with short blonde hair spoke quietly but calmly.

    “Yes, that’s me.” She frowned. “Are you Chloe?”

    Chloe nodded, clearly unsurprised that she was recognised. “Yes ma’am. Um, this is my Uncle. Sam Lane.”

    “We came to see Lois,” the man replied. She looked him over. He seemed sad and even a little anxious. “We know she’s here.”

    “I’m afraid she’s out right now,” Bubsy replied. “It’s her day off.”

    “She works here?” the general asked.

    The inn owner bit her lip. “Perhaps we should sit down and talk, sir,” she said quietly. “Why don’t I make us all a cup of coffee.”

    “Thank you,” he replied.

    “That’ll be great,” Chloe added.

    She sent them into the parlour, telling them to make themselves comfortable while she made them all hot drinks. She returned in a few minutes to see that Sam had picked up the book Lois had been studying.

    “English Literature?” he asked.

    “It’s Lois’,” she told him. “I’ve been encouraging her to study for her GED.”

    He seemed surprised by that. “Oh. That’s … that’s good. Uh, how is she?”

    “She’s doing very well, actually. She’s happy.”

    “What about her daughter? Kally.”

    “Kally is such a sweet little thing. And she’s thriving.”

    “I can’t thank you enough for taking them in.”

    “It was no problem, Mr Lane. Lois is a delightful young woman and we all love her dearly. How long have you known she was here, if I may ask?”

    “You may. Not long.” He glanced at Chloe, who sighed.

    “I’ve known a couple of months, I guess. I just … I wasn’t sure if she’d even want to see me. I figured if she wanted to contact me, she would. But then Uncle Sam asked me to see if I could find her and I couldn’t lie to him.”

    “I’ve been very worried about her.”

    “I imagine you have, Mr Lane,” Bubsy replied, “but I need you to know that while I didn’t necessarily agree with Lois not contacting you, I understand why.”

    He nodded. “I guess you know why she left. I can’t justify my actions. All I can tell you now is that I know I was wrong and I want her to come home. Where she belongs.”

    “Begging your pardon, General, but Lois is eighteen now and old enough to make her own decisions. You cannot force her to do something she doesn’t want to do.”

    “If I could just see her, talk to her …”

    “I’m afraid that isn’t up to you.”

    She picked up the sound of voices and the front door opened. Lois stood in the doorway, staring open-mouthed at the visitors. Clark stood behind her with Kally in his arms. The little girl was wrapped up in a puffer jacket with a fluffy-lined hood.

    Lois sighed, all sign of humour gone from her face.

    “Well, this day just got better and better,” she told Clark.

    Chloe stared at the couple. “Clark? What are you …”

    The hood slid off the little girl’s head, showing her dark hair. Kally had a very strong resemblance to her father, even at this age.

    “Oh my god!” Chloe said.

    The general got to his feet. “Lois,” he said, his voice pained.

    Lois turned on her heel and walked out again, Clark following.

    Lois sat on her bed, watching as Clark changed the baby’s diaper and dressed her into her pyjamas before laying her down in the crib. He looked up at her.

    “Are you okay?”

    She sighed heavily. “No. I knew this would happen eventually. I just …”

    “I did try to tell you to talk to Chloe.”

    She had no idea how long Chloe had known where she was but it was obvious she didn’t know about Clark’s visits. It was clear from the way she had reacted that she had figured out Clark was Kally’s father.

    “I don’t know what to do,” she said. “He’s still in there. I can’t face him.”

    “I’ll support you. Whatever you decide. Even if that means leaving Smallville.”

    She stared up at him. “You’d do that for me?”

    He nodded. “I want to do what’s best for Kally. And for you. I mean, we’re friends.”

    She studied him. “Is that all we are, Clark?”

    They’d spent so much time together in the past few weeks that she wondered if maybe she was feeling something that wasn’t really there. They’d managed to get past all the bad things that had happened between them, especially in Metropolis and had really got to know each other. She found that the glimpses she’d seen of the sweet young man in the city was really him and that ‘Kal’ had been an aberration of sorts.

    The more time she spent with him, the more she liked him.

    Clark sat beside her. He placed a gentle hand on her leg. “I think that’s all we can really manage right now,” he said. “Don’t misunderstand. I like you, Lois. I really do. But I think we both have a lot of growing up to do before we can go down that road. If we do.”

    He was right. Having a daughter didn’t change that. They still had four years of college. That wasn’t to say they couldn’t explore it in the future. The timing was just wrong.

    There was a gentle knock on the door and Clark got up to answer it. Bubsy entered.

    “Lois, sweetie, I know you’re upset but your father just turned up a half hour ago. I promise I didn’t contact him.”

    She nodded. She knew her friend wouldn’t do anything like that.

    “He’d really like to talk to you,” the older woman said.

    “Clark just put the baby down.”

    “Then would it be all right if I sent him out here?”

    She looked at Clark, who nodded. Bubsy left the room.

    “Whatever you decide, I’ll support you,” he said.

    Lois sighed. It had been the ‘perfect’ end to the day. When they’d left the Granville store they’d just been strolling down the street when they bumped into Clark’s parents. The older couple had stared at them, then at the baby in her stroller.

    “This is where you’ve been disappearing to every weekend?” his father accused.

    “Dad, I can explain.”

    Martha frowned at Lois. “I know you from somewhere,” she said.

    Lois nodded. “I’m the one who found Clark last summer. We met in the hospital.”

    “Oh, yes. I remember.”

    “Mom, Dad, this is Lois. Lois, these are my parents. Martha and Jonathan.”

    Martha crouched down to look at the baby. “And who is this?”

    “Kally,” Lois told her. “My daughter.” She glanced at Clark, who nodded. “Actually, she’s ‘our’ daughter.”

    The blond man looked taken aback. “What?”

    “It was while I was in Metropolis,” Clark said. “The time I ran away. We didn’t plan this. It just happened.”

    Jonathan looked furious. “These things don’t ‘just happen’, Clark.”

    Martha appeared worried. “Is she …”

    “She’s seven months old now.”

    “And she’s perfect,” Clark told them. “Look, Mom, Dad, I know you’re upset but this really isn’t the time and place. We need to get Kally home. It’s almost her bedtime.”

    “Home?” Martha asked.

    “The Smallville Inn,” Lois said. “I work there as a maid. The owner took us in last summer and she’s been amazing, looking after Kally while I work.”

    “All right, but we are going to talk about this, Clark.”

    They had agreed to meet at the farm the next day before Lois had to start work and talk things over. Of course, Lois thought, that might change now that the General was here.

    Clark squeezed her hand as Chloe came in, followed by Lois’ father. He looked around the small cabin. It was barely two rooms, but it was comfortable. Clark had found some stuff in the attic at the farm which he’d thought could provide a little bit of a personal touch and Lois had been able to save up enough to buy some paint and a few little pieces of furniture.

    The older man quietly approached the crib where Kally had fallen asleep.

    “She looks good,” he said. “Healthy.”

    “You’re not taking her,” Lois told him.

    He looked stricken as he gazed up at her. “Lois, sweetheart, I …”

    “Don’t,” she said.

    “Please hear me out. When you told me you were pregnant, I admit I didn’t handle it well. I thought I was doing what was best for both you and Kally when I went looking for a family to adopt her. I admit I was thinking more about how it would look to the brass that I couldn’t control my own daughter. I never should have said what I did. It was my pride talking.” He paused. Lois could see genuine remorse on his face as he looked at her.

    “I was wrong, sweetheart. I was so wrong. You ran away and I realised just how wrong I was. I was scared I’d pick up a newspaper and find out something bad had happened to you. I was relieved when Chloe told me where you were and that you were both safe.”

    He again paused to take a breath. “Lois, I made so many mistakes last year. With you. With Kally.”

    She held up a hand before he could continue. “Dad, I know. I know you’re sorry about what happened. But I won’t go back with you. I have a place here. A good job. I’m happy. For the first time in a long time I’m really happy. And I’m studying for my diploma. I might even go to college.”

    He smiled. “That’s wonderful, sweetheart. I’m proud of you.”

    Chloe had been silent all this time, but she kept staring at Clark almost accusingly.

    “Why didn’t you tell me about you and Lois,” she said.

    “I asked him not to,” Lois told her cousin gently. “I’m sorry. He kept telling me to talk to you but I couldn’t. I was … afraid.”

    Her cousin stared at her incredulously.

    “Did you really think I would just go and blab to Uncle Sam?”

    “You’re here now,” Clark pointed out quietly.

    “Because Uncle Sam came to me and asked me for my help,” she said. She turned back to Lois. “I’m sorry. I guess you had your reasons but it kind of hurts that you didn’t think you could trust me.”

    “There’s a lot more to it than that, Chlo,” Lois told her. “There’s Kally.”

    “Who happens to be Clark’s daughter. I knew it as soon as I saw you two together. I guess it happened when you were in Metropolis,” she said.

    “Never mind that now,” the General said. “I’m sure Clark will tell us the whole story. Do your mother and father know?”

    “They do now,” Clark said. “We ran into them in Granville. We were going to talk to them, tell them everything at the farm tomorrow.”

    The older man nodded. His tone was gentle as he spoke again. “I think we should all sit down and talk. What time will you need to be at the farm tomorrow, Lois?”

    “Uh, Daddy …”

    “I’ll pick you up. You and Kally. What time?”

    “Uh, I guess around ten?” she said, glancing at Clark for confirmation. She felt as if he’d ambushed her. Either that or she’d fallen down a rabbit hole. She wasn’t used to her father being so sweet. “I start work at one o’clock.”

    Her father nodded. “Ten hundred hours.” He kissed her on the cheek. “I’ll see you tomorrow, sweetheart.” He smiled. “It’ll be all right.”

    Lois watched her father and her cousin walk out the door, then sat back down on the bed with a huff.

    “Wow!” she said. “I never thought I’d ever hear my father say he’s sorry about anything.”

    Clark sat down beside her and wrapped an arm around her. They sat in silence for a few minutes. She found herself leaning against him, grateful for his support. She knew whatever happened between them in the future, he was always going to be there for her.

    Clark wasn’t sure what kind of reception he would get when he returned home. He didn’t have long to wait.

    “Mom, Dad, I know you’re upset …”

    “This goes a little beyond upset, Clark. When were you going to tell us about this?”

    Clark turned to look at his mother, hoping for some kind of support, but she had a look of disappointment on her face. He always hated it when she looked at him that way. He could deal with his father’s raised voice and his scolding, but not that.

    “Mom …”

    “Clark, you slept with a girl you barely knew and got her pregnant. How did you think we were going to feel about this?”

    “Mom, I know. I met Lois when she came to Metropolis and we spent a couple of days together. I was on red K at the time …”

    “That doesn’t excuse it, Clark. First, there’s the not-so-little matter of your powers. Did you even think about that?”

    “Of course I thought about it, Dad. I’ve thought of nothing else since. I mean, when I was under the red K, I didn’t think about what it would do to her.”

    “You were only thinking of yourself,” his father said. “Does that about cover it?”

    Clark bit his lip and nodded. “Yes.”

    “Well, all I can say is you were very lucky that nothing unusual happened. Or did it?”

    Lois hadn’t mentioned anything unusual about her pregnancy, so he took that to mean her doctor hadn’t noticed anything. He’d had nightmares about all the ways things could have gone wrong, from Lois dying to doctors somehow figuring out that the baby was half-Kryptonian and taking it away to be studied. He was very relieved to know that hadn’t happened.

    “How long did you think you were going to hide this from us?”

    “We were going to tell you eventually, Dad,” he said. “I just didn’t know how.”

    “You know she ran away from her father?”

    “Yeah, Mom, I know, but he was trying to make her give Kally up. She didn’t think she had any other choice. She knows it was wrong but she didn’t know what else to do.”

    The couple mulled this information over. His father gestured for him to sit down at the table, while his mother made them all hot cocoa. She came over and sat down once the drinks were ready.

    “How long have you two been seeing each other?” she asked.

    “It’s not like that. Not really. I mean, yeah, we have a baby together, but we’re just friends. What will happen in the future I don’t know. I like her but I don’t know if I’m ready to have that kind of relationship with her. She understands. Besides, people have kids together all the time and don’t end up getting married.”

    “We raised you better than that, son.”

    “I know and I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you sooner.” He sighed. “Lois came to Smallville about a month before I came back. She found me on the road … well, that part you know. She’s been working at the Smallville Inn since the beginning of August. Bubsy looks after Kally while Lois is working.”

    “Bubsy?” his mother asked.

    “Miss Harrigan. She told us to call her Bubsy.” He paused to let that sink in a little. “Anyway, I found out about Kally right before school started and I went to see Lois. I asked if I could spend some time with her and we’ve been doing that every Saturday for the past two months. If she needs anything like groceries, for baby food or whatever, I’ve been helping her out there too.”

    His dad frowned. “Clark, you were supposed to be saving money for college.”

    “I am, but Kally’s my daughter too and I’m responsible for her. Lois doesn’t get paid much in her job and I don’t mind doing it.”

    He could tell his parents were impressed with that. His father sighed.

    “I can’t pretend I’m happy about this, but I’m proud of you for stepping up and taking the responsibility. You’re still planning on going to college?”

    “Yes sir. I got accepted to Central Kansas. I know Met U is offering the football scholarship but I’m turning it down. Central Kansas is closer and it means I can still work on the farm and commute.”

    His mother cleared her throat. “There is still something we haven’t talked about. What if Kally starts getting some of your abilities?”

    “I don’t know, Mom. I haven’t told Lois anything about that but I know I’ll have to. She needs to know what she’s dealing with if Kally does get any abilities.”

    “She doesn’t know?”

    He shook his head at his mother’s incredulous enquiry. “I know I need to tell her. I’m just not sure how.” He looked at them. “Um, so General Lane is coming to the house tomorrow. He thinks we should have some kind of family meeting.”

    “About what?”

    “I don’t know. Maybe he wants Lois to go and live with him, but I know she doesn’t want to. She’s happy where she is, Dad. She’s got a good job. I mean, it doesn’t pay much, but she doesn’t need to pay any rent and Bubsy cooks her meals. She gets assistance for Kally from the government. And she’s studying for her GED so she can go to college too.”

    “Well, I’ll say this for her. She sounds like she’s got her head screwed on right.”

    Clark nodded. Lois had changed in the little time he’d known her. She had been anxious, almost jumpy when he’d first started spending time with her and their daughter but she’d slowly learned to trust him. The more she relaxed, the happier she was. He’d also noticed she’d put on weight. She had been far too thin before, her face almost gaunt. Now that she had filled out a little, she looked healthy.

    He couldn’t sleep that night and decided to go out and do some chores in the barn. He was worried about what the general might say. From what Lois had told him, she and her father were a lot alike in temperament and they could both easily lose their tempers. Which could mean Lois would run away again. As much as he’d said he would support her, whatever she decided, he didn’t want to lose his daughter.

    He was busy fixing up a few loose boards when the door opened.

    “Clark? What are you doing?”

    He looked at his father. “Sorry Dad. I couldn’t sleep.”

    “It’s one in the morning.”

    “I know.”

    “Are you worried?” His father came in, combing his fingers through his hair.

    “Sort of. Lois ran away from her dad for a reason and if he’s not willing to see why, I think she might just leave again.”

    “But you said he apologised and told her he was wrong to try to force her to have Kally adopted. Isn’t that what you said?”

    “Yeah, Dad. I just can’t help wondering. I don’t really know where this thing with Lois is going. I mean, I think we’re too young to have that kind of relationship.”

    “You’re also far too young to be parents.”

    He nodded. “One little mistake can change everything. But I’m not sorry. For Kally, I mean. When I look at her, it’s like I know what life is really all about, you know? Jor-El keeps telling me my destiny is to save the world, but it’s not about the rest of the world. It’s about Kally and Lois and others like them.”

    His father smiled. “That’s exactly what we thought the day we found you out in that cornfield, Clark.”

    He felt a little better after that. “Is Mom still upset?”

    “Yeah. I hate to say it, son, but I think she is. But I think it’s more about the fact that you chose not to tell us for two months. I know you were trying to respect Lois’ decision and I get that. Now that you’re a father, I think you know all about actions and consequences. I meant what I said earlier. I’m proud of you for taking some responsibility. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, dealing with the fact that you have a child of your own, but we’ll get through it. As long as you don’t shut us out.”

    “I promise. Thanks Dad.”

    The older man nodded. “I’m going back to bed. Do you think you can sleep?”

    “I think so. Goodnight Dad.”

    “Goodnight son.”

    Next morning, Clark helped his father with the Sunday chores before going back to the house to help his mother with preparing for the morning visitors. Chloe had sent him an email saying she was not allowed at the family meeting but they would be talking at school. He gathered she wasn’t happy with him for keeping the secret for so long but then it hadn’t been just his secret to tell.

    “Does Lois drink coffee?” his mother asked.

    “Yeah, Mom. She’s allowed coffee.”

    “What do I give Kally?”

    “Lois will probably bring some snacks for her. We always take some with us when we go out.”

    “What about the General? Do you think he’ll want something to eat? I baked some muffins. I guess I could make a cake.”

    “Mom, the muffins will be fine,” he said. She looked flustered. “Mom, sit down for a minute.”

    “I have to …”

    “No, you don’t,” he said quietly but firmly. “I know you’re nervous and I guess you’re still upset with us, but we can work things out.”

    She looked up at him. “You’re so grown up, Clark.”

    He smiled at her. “Mom, I know this whole thing has come as a bit of a shock. Believe me, when I first found out it took me a while to come to terms with it too.”

    He heard the car pulling up and went out to greet his friend. Her smile was a little shaky but he guessed she was just a little nervous about facing his parents. Kally was in the car seat in the back. He helped Lois out of the passenger seat then opened the back door to unsnap the harness, then held his arms out for his daughter.

    “Come to Daddy, Kally,” he said.

    She babbled in his ear as he picked her up and carried her inside. Lois grabbed the bag she always carried all of the baby stuff in and followed him inside.

    His mother watched from the kitchen as they came in. The General smiled at her.

    “I appreciate your hospitality, Mrs Kent.”

    “Please call me Martha,” she said. “You too, Lois.”

    Clark looked down at her daughter, who was staring at her grandmother, clearly wondering who she was. Lois took her hand.

    “That’s your grandma, sweetie. Say hi to Grandma.” She turned and looked at Clark’s mother. “Unless you prefer to be called Nana or Mom-mom or something.”

    “Grandma’s fine.” She stepped toward them hesitantly. “Can I …”

    Clark handed the baby over. As soon as the infant was in his mother’s arms, her demeanour changed.

    “Hi. Oh, aren’t you the most beautiful little girl I’ve ever seen. Yes, you are. You’re just so precious.”

    Clark exchanged a look with Lois and they both laughed.

    “Mom made coffee,” he said.

    His mother looked up from cooing at the baby. “There’s cream and sugar.”

    “I take mine black,” the General replied with a grin. “I’m sweet enough.”

    Lois snorted. “That’ll be the day,” she said. Her father looked around at her, but just laughed.

    Clark’s dad came in and immediately joined his wife in admiring his grand-daughter.

    They sat in the living room with their coffee. Clark noticed his parents sat together on the couch with the baby on his mother’s lap, his father playing peek-a-boo with her. Despite how upset they’d been over the news, they were clearly taken with their grand-daughter.

    “She looks so much like you, Clark,” his mother said.

    “Yeah, she does look like Clark,” Lois replied.

    The General cleared his throat. “We should really get down to brass tacks. Now, Lois, I know you don’t want to come live with me on the base, but I saw the room you have at the inn. Don’t you think it would be better for both of you to have a house?”

    Lois shook her head. “Dad, I appreciate the thought, but it’s not that bad. Maybe the cabin needs a little work but Clark’s been doing some repairs and he’s helped me paint it inside. It’s not huge, but it’s cosy. I mean, I only get paid in tips but I don’t pay any rent or utilities and my meals come with the job. Anything else I need for Kally I get through assistance.”

    “What about saving for college?” he asked.

    “I’m putting aside a little bit each month for that. I mean, it won’t be next Fall, but if I can save enough I might be able to start school the year after that. I still have to earn my high school diploma so I can get into college.”

    The older man looked at Clark’s parents.

    “What are your feelings about all this?” he said. “What about Clark’s future?”

    “I think Clark has made that decision for himself,” Clark’s father replied. “Honestly, we would prefer him to go to somewhere like Met U, but for practical reasons, he’s accepted to Central Kansas. It’s still a good school and it has a good journalism program.” Clark smiled at his father. He’d left the brochure for his parents to read the night before, leaving the markers for the journalism program. He wasn’t completely sure he wanted to major in journalism but it was still a good option.

    “Plus it means I can be close by if Lois or Kally need anything,” Clark told the other man. “I work on the farm and next year I start earning a small share of the profits.” His parents had already agreed that when he turned eighteen he would start earning a proper income from whatever the farm made, instead of getting a monthly allowance.

    “You’ve thought this through then?” Sam asked.

    “We have, Dad. Clark and I have talked about this a lot. If I moved to the base with you, Clark wouldn’t be able to spend as much time with Kally and me as he wanted. This way, he can be there if I need him.”

    General Lane sighed. “I’m not going to stop worrying, but I can see you’ve made your mind up.”

    “I have Dad.”

    “Well, I would like to see my grand-daughter on a regular basis,” he told Lois. “I missed a lot with you girls growing up. I don’t want to make the same mistake with Kally.”

    Lois appeared pleased with his acceptance of her decision.

    “But no more secrets, you two,” he added. Clark exchanged a look with his parents. There was no way he could ever tell the General about his abilities. The older man was still in the military and Clark didn’t want to take any chances.

    “That goes double for us,” Clark’s mother said. “We would like a chance to get to know you, Lois. And our grand-daughter. If that’s all right with you.”

    Lois smiled. “That’s perfectly all right with me,” she said.

    Clark watched as Lois knelt on the floor next to his parents and played with their daughter. It hadn’t been as bad as he had thought it was going to be. If only telling Lois his secret would be that easy. He had no idea how she was going to take it that the little girl she had carried inside her for nine months was half-alien.

  5. #20
    New In Town
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    Great job, wonderful story

    OK, here goes. It is said that the third time is the charm.

    Love, love, love this story. Minimal Lana drama (always great in my opinion) I have several questions. Will Kally be developing any of Clark's abilities? Like early development.
    Not to be picky, but she is/was a too young to be eating solids (aka "baby goop") I just adore the character of Bubsy.
    She she someone Jor-El steered Lois to watch over them? Maybe a Martian friend? Will the Kents take a role in caring for Kally in order for her parents to continue with their education? What about Chloe? Will there be a verbal showdown with Clark and her cousin?

    **Standing Ovation**👏👏👏👏👏

  6. #21
    Forum Regular Sykobee's Avatar
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    Still loving it! Nice when the General can get past his own issues and try to understand those of others. The Kents didn't do too bad with the shocker. Wondering how you'll weave the whole Chole- secret-knowledge scenario and how/when CK will tell Lois.

    As for the comment above about 5-7 moths ( Kally's relative age?) Babies and the norms for them change and fluctuate. With 3 grown children and 4 (14-9) in the house right now, I think you have a very reasonably developing, adorable half alien baby in lil Ms. Kally.

    This is gonna be another great ride. Thanks again😊 More please.
    Last edited by Sykobee; 05-10-2019 at 12:33 PM.

  7. #22
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoD_coyote View Post
    OK, here goes. It is said that the third time is the charm.

    Love, love, love this story. Minimal Lana drama (always great in my opinion) I have several questions. Will Kally be developing any of Clark's abilities? Like early development.
    Not to be picky, but she is/was a too young to be eating solids (aka "baby goop") I just adore the character of Bubsy.
    She she someone Jor-El steered Lois to watch over them? Maybe a Martian friend? Will the Kents take a role in caring for Kally in order for her parents to continue with their education? What about Chloe? Will there be a verbal showdown with Clark and her cousin?

    **Standing Ovation**
    By the time Clark gets involved in Kally's life, she is around five months old, so no, that is not too young to start eating solids. I've never had children, unfortunately, but I do my research and it all says that as soon as baby starts teething, that's when they're ready for solids (4 to 6 months). Believe me, I do a lot of research in my writing, just ask gem65. There will be something mentioned in the next chapter as well which will help. As for the Lana drama, it is mentioned that Clark has a different perspective and the closeness between the parents will continue to grow.

    There won't be any verbal smackdown between the cousins. Chloe was caught between a rock and a hard place, pretty much. As for the Kents, they will take a more active role in their grand-daughter's life.

    The question of Kally having abilities will come up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sykobee View Post
    Still loving it! Nice when the General can get past his own issues and try to understand those of others. The Kents didn't do too bad with the shocker. Wondering how you'll weave the whole Chole- secret-knowledge scenario and how/when CK will tell Lois.

    As for the comment above about 5-7 moths ( Kally's relative age?) Babies and the norms for them change and fluctuate. With 3 grown children and 4 (14-9) in the house right now, I think you have a very reasonably developing, adorable half alien baby in lil Ms. Kally.

    This is gonna be another great ride. Thanks again More please.
    As I say in the next chapter, Lois leaving home was a big wake-up call for the General, so he is definitely more understanding. The Kents did have quite a shock but I didn't want them to be too horrible about it - I took my cues from the Unsafe episode where Martha was concerned.

    As for Clark telling Lois, he will have to sooner rather than later. I decided to do something a little different with the reveal.
    Last edited by phoenixnz; 05-10-2019 at 02:17 PM.

  8. #23
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    Chapter Six

    Lois opened the door to the coffee shop, struggling with the baby stroller and keeping the door open at the same time.

    “Oh, let me help you with that.” A girl with glossy black hair held the door open for her so Lois could push the stroller forward.

    “Thanks,” she said.

    “No problem,” the girl said with a smile. “Is that your daughter? She’s so cute!”

    Lois returned the smile. She loved it when people admired her daughter. Kally was now almost ten months old with chubby cheeks and her thick, dark hair had grown a little so it was covering her ears. She was quite the little show-stopper, loving the attention from the people in town.

    “Lois! Over here!”

    She looked over to where her cousin was calling her. Now that everything appeared to have been resolved with her father, she had felt she could spend some time with her cousin. She felt bad that she’d not trusted Chloe enough to keep her location a secret. It didn’t matter that the other girl had eventually told her father anyway. Clark had had a long talk with Chloe about it and she’d admitted she’d felt caught in the middle. She loved her cousin dearly but because Lois had refused to contact her, she had had to make a decision when Lois’ father had asked for her help.

    Thankfully, it had all turned out all right in the end. Lois realised that her running away had been the one thing to make her father wake up and realise that not only had he been going about things the wrong way, but that he could have lost her for good.

    Lois made her way over to the table and sat down opposite her cousin.

    “What are you drinking?” she asked, looking at the mug in front of Chloe. It smelled divine.

    “It’s a gingerbread latte. Mrs Kent’s been selling it for the Christmas season and it was so popular she extended it.”

    Christmas had been amazing. Kally had been thoroughly spoilt by not only her father but also by her grandparents. All four of them, since Lois now considered Bubsy to be Kally’s honorary grandmother.

    “So, tell me about this place,” she said, looking around at the faux Egyptian décor. It looked a little tacky to her, but what did she know about interior decorating? She’d painted the interior walls of her little cabin and put up a couple of pictures but that was as far as the decorating had gone. “Bubsy’s told me a bit, but …”

    “Well, there isn’t much to tell beyond what you already know, I guess. Lex bought the building from Lana’s aunt.”

    “Lana?” she asked. She knew about her but had never actually met her.

    Chloe bit her lip. “You just met her. At the door.”

    Lois looked around as Chloe nodded in the direction of the young brunette, who was now chatting with Martha. She turned back to her cousin, wondering why the blonde looked a little nervous.

    “What’s wrong?”

    “It’s kind of a sticky subject. Lana and Clark used to date.” Lois already knew that, but didn’t comment on it. She knew he’d had girlfriends. It wasn’t like she expected him to be a saint just because they had a child together. They had mutually decided to stick with friendship for now. Anything else was really too soon.

    Chloe went on. “They kind of went backwards and forwards for a while, but then Lana went to Paris and came back with a new boyfriend.” She paused, frowning. “Come to think of it, Clark hasn’t really talked much about Lana the past few months.”

    Lois didn’t have a chance to ask Chloe what that was all about as Martha came over.

    “Lois! Hello, sweetheart. I see you brought Kally with you.”

    Lois smiled at the redhead, who clearly was itching to hold her grand-daughter. She accepted a kiss on the cheek and watched as the older woman undid the straps on the stroller and picked Kally up.

    “Hello little girl. Oh, look at you. You look like you’ve grown another inch since I last saw you.”

    Still babbling away to her grand-daughter, Martha took the little girl with her to the counter.

    Chloe laughed. “Looks like things are going pretty well with the Kents.”

    “They adore Kally,” Lois told her cousin. “And I don’t mind. It’s kind of nice. I mean, they offer to babysit when I have to work extra hours so Bubsy can free up her time to deal with any problems at the Inn.”

    “Problems?”

    The roof had started to leak when a heavy snow had fallen. One of the roof tiles, which had cracked last winter, according to the inn’s owner, had broken in the latest snowfall, which had caused the leak. Jonathan and Clark had come over to repair the leak and replace the tiles. Clark had also finished the repairs on the cabin so it had been warm and cosy.

    While the elder Kents were still coming to terms with the fact that their son was a father, they were taking any opportunity they had to spend with their grand-daughter. Clark still came over on Saturdays to take them on outings, since it was Lois’ day off, and his parents took care to ensure they weren’t encroaching on that.

    They had been so kind to her that Lois felt almost as if she had found another set of parents.

    “So, where is Clark?”

    “He said he had some things to do this morning, but we’re taking Kally out this afternoon. Clark thought we might take her to the city. She needs some new clothes. She’s outgrown most of her old ones.”

    “Yeah, she’s growing like a weed. Must be her father’s genes,” Chloe said with an odd expression. Lois wondered what that meant.

    Clark had been a little down lately. A friend of his – actually they’d dated briefly the year before - had been murdered. While she sensed he wasn’t telling her the whole story, he had told her that Alicia had come to him a few days after Christmas, thinking she could take up where they’d left off. The girl had been sent to Belle Reve, a hospital which treated those with psychological disorders – at least that was the polite term for it – when she’d become obsessed with Clark. Obsessed enough to try to kill Lana.

    She’d tried to persuade him to run away with her and he’d refused. For some reason the girl had been afraid and Clark had done some digging to try to figure out what was going on. He’d learned that the psychiatrist who had been treating her had become obsessed with her to the point where he had tried to kill Clark. Instead he’d almost killed Alicia.

    Feeling guilty because of the way she’d saved him, Clark had tried to make it up to her by building some kind of friendship with her. Unfortunately, not everyone in town thought Alicia had changed and when someone had attacked Lana, fingers were quick to point squarely at the blonde. Until she had been killed. It had been made to look like a suicide, but Clark had figured out who was really responsible and gone after him.

    He hadn’t talked about Alicia since, but Lois knew it was hurting him.

    Clark took a deep breath and stepped into the chamber, slipping the metal disc in the slot. The key which had once been part of the ship he’d destroyed had been missing, but after the death of Virgil Swann, a scientist Clark had met two years earlier, it had been returned to him.

    He’d been reluctant to use it, knowing the mission Jor-El had given him could take him away from his new family.

    As soon as the disc was entered he was hit by a wave of energy so powerful it almost knocked him off his feet.

    “Kal-El.” His birth father’s deep voice was emotionless but the tone was full of enquiry.

    “Jor-El. I’ve been putting this off for way too long but I … I needed to talk to you.”

    “You have not been searching for the stones like I …”

    “I know,” he said, interrupting his Kryptonian father’s admonishment before it could gather steam. “I’ve had other things going on. I actually came for your advice.”

    “My advice?”

    “I have a daughter,” he said. “I don’t know what to do. I’m worried if I tell the mother everything she’ll freak out. But things have happened lately. Bad things. Not to her, or to Kally, but to someone else. She was killed because she was different. I’m afraid for my daughter.”

    “The mother is a human?”

    “Yes. I need to know. Will Kally have powers? Like I do?”

    “At what age is your child?”

    “She’ll be a year old in a couple of months. I’ve been doing some research online and she’s hitting a lot of her milestones early.” Kally had already had her first step but wasn’t quite walking yet.

    “I am afraid I cannot give you what you need without seeing the child for myself, Kal-El. There has never been a Kryptonian-human hybrid in our history. If your child was born under a yellow sun, she may not have the same abilities.”

    “Why? How is it different?”

    “Krypton had a red sun. It is the energy from the star Sol that gives you your abilities. Thousands of years ago Krypton was facing an environmental disaster which forced an evolution of sorts. We were able to adapt to store energy in a different way to those on Earth. Physiologically, humans and Kryptonians are not dissimilar, except in this way.”

    “What do I do?”

    “You must find the stones to create the Fortress of Knowledge, my son. Then you can bring the child to me so I can chart her progress and determine what, if any, abilities she will have.”

    “Lois is very protective of Kally.”

    “Then you must tell her the truth. She may not understand at first, but if you believe there is a danger to your daughter should some humans discover the truth about her, then she will need to know how to protect her.”

    He was right, Clark thought as he left the chamber. He owed it to Lois to know what she could be up against.

    As he started for the cave entrance, he was startled to see Lex coming in.

    “Clark,” his friend said. “What are you doing down here?”

    He knew the bald man wouldn’t believe him if he said he was working on a term paper, so he opted for the next best thing.

    “I come down here sometimes when I need to think,” he said.

    “I see. I haven’t seen a lot of you lately. When I’ve called the farm your parents tell me you’re out. Is everything all right?”

    “It’s fine,” he said. “I’ve just been really busy. You know, with football and study.”

    “I heard you were offered a scholarship to Met U,” Lex said, walking out with him. Clark had cause to wonder what the man was doing in the cave in the first place, but he knew his friend wouldn’t tell him.

    He’d been thinking a lot lately about his friendship with the other man. Especially all the times when Lex had blatantly lied to him over investigating him. As much as he wanted to believe that the bald billionaire was only interested in finding out why he’d managed to survive so many near-death experiences, Clark knew there was more to it than that. Lex had figured out there was something unusual about Clark and it was like waving a red flag to a bull.

    Now that he had Lois and Kally in his life, there was no chance in hell he was going to share his secrets with the man. He certainly wasn’t going to tell him Kally was his daughter. God only knew what Lex would do to his little girl.

    He’d talked to Lois about Lex when they’d been discussing whether to let anyone else in on the new family dynamic. While he was happy for his parents to spend time with their grand-daughter, he didn’t think it was anyone else’s business and had asked them to keep that information to themselves.

    Lois had wondered if perhaps he was being a little paranoid, until he’d reminded her that Lex’s own father had been convicted of murder. Even if said conviction had been overturned. While that was no indication of Lex’s own character, his moral values were rather dubious. Even Lois agreed with that.

    Lex was looking curiously at him and he realised he hadn’t answered the other man’s question about college.

    “I decided to go to Central Kansas so I’d be a little closer to home,” he said.

    “I see.”

    “Well, it means I can save on accommodation costs. The campus is about a half hour from home.”

    “Yes, that does sound like a practical solution.” Lex stopped walking for a moment. “Why don’t you come to the mansion for the afternoon? Play some pool. I have some new movies that might interest you.”

    “Thanks, Lex, but I promised a friend I’d take her to the city.”

    “This friend wouldn’t be the young woman I’ve been seeing you with in the Talon, is it? The one with the baby?” He looked shrewdly at Clark. “The little girl looks a lot like you.”

    Damn Lex and his sharp eyes, Clark thought. He tried to laugh it off.

    “Yeah, everyone says that.”

    “She’s rather young to be raising a child on her own. Where is the father?”

    Clark shook his head. “I don’t know, Lex. She doesn’t talk about him.”

    “I see. How did you two meet, anyway?”

    “Uh, she was out running errands and had car trouble,” he said, trying to make it sound convincing. “I helped her out, we got to talking and became friends.” Lex smiled.

    “Well, you’re a good friend, Clark, but then I always knew that. Perhaps another time then.”

    “Yeah, thanks Lex. See you.”

    Clark quickly made his escape from the bald billionaire and drove into town to pick up Lois and Kally. His friend was sitting with Chloe.

    “Hi Lois, hi Chloe.” He smiled at the brunette. She’d given up dyeing her hair and let her natural colour grow out. It suited her, he thought. “Ready to go?”

    “Let me just rescue Kally from her admirers,” Lois said with a smile. Clark turned and laughed. His mom was standing at the counter with Kally in her arms. They were surrounded by people who were doing their best to get the little girl to giggle. Which wasn’t hard. Everyone seemed to have fallen in love with his daughter.

    They extricated her amid protests from her fan club and left town. Clark drove cautiously, if a little too slowly for most. Lois often teased him about driving ‘like a granny’ but he told her he would rather be safe when they had Kally with them.

    “So, where are we going?” Lois asked.

    “I thought we could go to the museum. Grab some lunch there. Then maybe afterwards we can go to the mall and get Kally some new clothes.”

    “All right. But we have to go somewhere that isn’t too expensive. She’ll outgrow her new clothes in a month.”

    “Your dad gave me some extra cash to help out,” he said.

    Lois smiled. “He’s spoiling her.”

    “I guess he feels like he has to make it up to her. And you.”

    “Yeah, maybe. The last few months have actually been really good between us. It’s like he’s trying to make up for a lot of things.”

    “Give him credit. He did almost lose you. That might have been a little wake-up call for him.”

    “You’re right,” she said.

    Clark concentrated on his driving. As much as he wanted to talk to Lois, he was worried about how she would react to his secret. It was the same inner debate he’d been having with himself for weeks.

    He decided it was something that could wait until they were on their way home again. Why spoil the day, he thought.

    Martha had had a long day and was looking forward to relaxing in front of the television with her husband. Usually that meant him falling asleep in the recliner, but that was fine too.

    She had just made them both hot cocoa and brought it over to curl up on the sofa when the door slammed. Frowning, she turned her head. Clark came in, his face like thunder. He saw them in the living room and started for the stairs.

    “Honey, is everything all right?” she asked.

    He paused, squaring his shoulders as he let out a long breath. He turned to look at her.

    “I told Lois. About my secret.”

    Jonathan cocked an eyebrow. “I take it from your face that it didn’t go so well.”

    “No, it didn’t. I’m going to bed.”

    “It’s only nine-thirty,” Martha protested.

    “I’m tired, Mom. And I don’t want to talk about it.”

    Martha turned to look at her husband but he just gave a shrug. She guessed Clark would talk about it eventually but the only thing they could do was let him be.

    She had cause to rethink that strategy a week later. It had been a week of shrugs, sulks and slammed doors. It reminded her of when Clark had been a small child. Only then he hadn’t had much control of his abilities and had come close to destroying the house a few times. At least now, Clark knew better than to take his frustrations out on the house. Instead they had a woodpile that closely resembled matchsticks.

    He was normally out of the house by nine on a Saturday, so he could spend as much time with his daughter as possible. Martha was meant to start work at the Talon at ten and he had still not left the house.

    She knocked on his door.

    “Clark, are you going to see Lois today?”

    “No,” he said through the closed door.

    “Why not?”

    “She sent me a text and told me not to come.”

    Martha went downstairs where Jonathan was drinking his second cup of coffee for the day. She had tried to get him to drink decaf, especially after he’d had a triple bypass, but her husband stubbornly refused.

    “Is he going?”

    “Lois apparently sent him a message telling him she didn’t want him to,” she said. “She hasn’t come by the house or the Talon all week.”

    He shrugged. “Maybe she just needs a little time to adjust. It would be quite a bombshell to drop.”

    “I suppose. Maybe I should go talk to her.”

    He shook his head. “Sweetheart, I think they need to work this out themselves.”

    She couldn’t help worrying though. Especially when another Saturday passed and Clark hadn’t gone to visit Lois. Martha went to work on the Sunday wondering if she should take an hour off and go talk to Lois.

    She wasn’t expecting Lois to be waiting for her when she arrived at the Talon.

    “I’m sorry,” Lois said.

    “For what?” Martha asked. She frowned. Lois hadn’t brought Kally with her. Martha missed seeing her grand-daughter.

    “That I haven’t come by. It’s just …”

    She inhaled and let it out slowly. “It’s all right.”

    “I guess Clark told you.”

    “Not in so many words,” Martha replied. She unlocked the shop door and led the way inside. “Why don’t you come help me open up. Once the girls get here, we can sit down and have a chat.”

    Lois bit her lip. “I’d rather not. Not here, anyway. It’s too open.”

    Martha immediately understood. Lois wanted to talk about Clark’s secret.

    “Then we’ll go talk at the farm. The girls can cover me for an hour or so.”

    Once the preparations were done, Martha left the two part-timers to it and drove Lois back to the farm. Jonathan was working on the tractor in the yard and looked up when he heard the car. He shot her a questioning look.

    “Is everything all right?”

    She nodded. “Lois and I were just going to have a quiet talk,” she said. “Where’s Clark?”

    “He went out about an hour ago. He didn’t say where he was going.”

    Lois looked a little relieved that Clark wasn’t there. Martha led the way inside.

    “Would you like some coffee, sweetie? Or perhaps some tea?”

    “Some tea would be nice. Thank you.” She said nothing further and just watched Martha make the tea. Once it was served, they moved into the living room.

    “What exactly did Clark tell you?” Lois asked. “About … you know.”

    “Only that he’d told you. That was it.”

    Lois sighed. “Three little words and it doesn’t even begin to cover it.”

    She slowly began to relate what had happened. Clark had told her they needed to talk. She had wondered why he’d been so serious all day. He’d begun to talk in almost abstract ways about how people could be so different yet look the same. She had become so confused that when he had first mentioned the word ‘alien’ she had almost laughed. She’d thought he was making some kind of joke.

    Only it was no joke. He told her about having been born on some distant planet, sent to Earth by his birth parents to escape a major cataclysm. Lois had listened incredulously at first, still wondering if there was some hidden camera somewhere and this was like a television show where they filmed someone’s reaction to weird things happening right in front of them.

    Then he’d begun talking about having abilities, like speed and immense strength. Lois had always sensed since that first meeting that there was something different about Clark but she had overlooked it, thinking it had just been her imagination. He told her about Metropolis and the red meteor rock. How it had taken away his inhibitions, like some kind of narcotic.

    She’d slowly begun to realise that as Kal he had been completely self-centred, focused only on getting what he wanted. He hadn’t cared if she might have got hurt. It was almost as if he’d been two different people. It had explained a lot of what she had felt in the two days she’d spent with him. It also explained why he’d been such a jerk.

    What alarmed her was when Clark had begun talking about Kally. How she could have developed abilities in the womb. Which could have made the pregnancy a huge risk for her. Lois had never noticed anything off, but since she had never been pregnant before, she wouldn’t have anyway.

    Then Clark had used that word. Hybrid. Lois had looked it up and while it was technically true, since they were two different species, she hated him in that moment. Hated that he could reduce her beautiful, beloved daughter to something so …

    “It hurt,” she told Martha. The redhead wrapped her arms around her.

    “Oh sweetheart, I know.”

    “I mean, I guess she is, you know. It was just too much, all at once.”

    “Clark isn’t exactly subtle, sometimes.” Well, that was an understatement, Lois thought.

    “I didn’t know what to think or what to say so I just told him to take me home. I guess he took that as me never wanting to see him again, but it’s not. I just needed time to process.”

    “I understand, sweetie.”

    “I wish I could say I’m glad he told me but I think I might have handled it better if it hadn’t been all at once, you know? I mean, I understand why. Now that Kally’s almost a year old, she might start developing abilities and I guess I need to know what to do.”

    Martha nodded. “We talked about it. We don’t really know for sure if she will, or when.”

    “Did Clark always have his abilities?”

    The older woman shook her head. “He was always strong. Jonathan found him under the bed one day, not long after we found him. Clark just lifted the bed right over his head. It’s quite a big bed, with a heavy oak frame, but he lifted it like it was nothing. To be totally honest with you, love, we were afraid. We took him to a doctor but we couldn’t even take him inside. We thought if the doctor realised what he was, we’d never see him again.”

    Lois nodded. She understood now why Clark trusted so few people. She didn’t know much about Lex Luthor but she guessed Clark was afraid that if his friend knew everything about his abilities, Lex might experiment on him or try to manipulate him in some way.

    “What about the other abilities?”

    “His speed developed when he was about six and then everything else has started to develop in the last few years. I imagine because of puberty.”

    “How do you deal with it? I mean, how do you …”

    “Believe me, it hasn’t been easy raising a child like Clark. We were always so afraid to let anyone else in because of it. Even now we don’t have all the answers. We made a lot of mistakes when he was little. We couldn’t even let him have a relationship with my father because we were worried he might accidentally expose what he could do and his grandfather wouldn’t take that so well.”

    Lois could only wonder what her father’s reaction would be if Kally did suddenly develop powers. She wouldn’t know how to control them. What if he saw them? What would he do? Would he have her locked up?

    The thought of what could happen terrified her.

    “Oh god, my father! What if Kally …”

    “Sweetheart, we will cross that bridge when we come to it. I want you to know that whatever happens between you and Clark, we will always support you. So if you ever have any questions, you can always come to us.”

    “Thank you,” she said, giving the older woman a quick hug. “That means a lot.”

    The screen door slammed and she looked up. Clark stood in the middle of the room, staring at them. Lois got up from the couch.

    “Clark …”

    He remained silent.

    “I know you’re upset,” she said quietly. “The thing is, you dropped a huge bomb on me and I just needed time to process it, okay? Can we please not fight about this?”

    “Where’s Kally?” he asked.

    “Bubsy’s looking after her for the day. Please? Can we just go and talk?”

    “Fine,” he said shortly.

    Lois looked at Martha, who smiled encouragingly. She already knew Clark could get moody sometimes but she could understand why he was upset. They had to work this out. For Kally’s sake at least.

    Clark led her outside to the barn. She knew he had a place where he would read or do his homework, but had never been up there herself.

    The loft was a good size, with room for a couch, desk and bookshelf. It was obvious the family used some of the space for storage.

    Lois sat down on the couch while Clark went to stand at the window, staring out over the fields.

    “Clark …”

    “No, Lois.”

    “You don’t even know what I was going to say,” she protested.

    He turned and looked at her. “I get it. It was a lot. But you had to know.”

    “Not all at once! You always do that, Clark. It’s either all or nothing with you! Haven’t you ever heard of just easing someone into it? I mean, god, you’re like a bull in a china shop.”

    “Do you think I didn’t try to think of some other way to tell you?” he shot back. “I’ve been wracking my brains for weeks trying to figure out how to do it. I knew if I waited too long and Kally started showing signs of having powers, you’d get upset with me and you’d have been right to. You had a right to know what you might be dealing with. The thing is, even I don’t know what will happen. Jor-El said …”

    She frowned at him. “Jor-El?”

    “He’s my birth father.”

    She shook her head, confused. “Wait. I thought your real parents were dead.”

    “Martha and Jonathan are my real parents,” he corrected. “Jor-El and Lara were my birth parents.”

    “I’m sorry,” she said. “You’re right. So, how can you talk to Jor-El if he’s …”

    “It’s like an artificial intelligence. Kryptonians were like a thousand years ahead of Earth in their technology.”

    She snorted. “Right. A civilisation so advanced it destroyed itself.”

    He ran a hand through his hair. It was getting long enough that it was flopping over his forehead and into his eyes.

    “Which is where Earth is going if somebody doesn’t do something to stop it.”

    “Touche,” she said. She sighed. “Why now? I mean, you’ve waited all this time.”

    He looked at her, his expression one of grief. “Alicia.”

    She knew she hadn’t really given him a chance to explain the whole story with Alicia and gently asked him to tell her. He sat down on the couch beside her and began telling her everything. She was alternately shocked and amazed to learn about the girl’s ability to teleport. The whole reason she and Clark had begun dating in the first place was because she had covered for him when an elevator at Luthorcorp had plunged several storeys. The fact that the emergency brake had obviously failed told her there had been more at work than a simple accident.

    Clark went on to tell her that because they’d shared each other’s secrets, he’d thought he’d found someone he could relate to. That he wouldn’t have to feel so alone. Except Alicia had taken a simple date to mean they were a couple and things had escalated to the point where she had tried to kill Lana. Clark had stopped her and managed to get her the help she needed.

    When Alicia had returned, he had known she was worried about something and did his best to help her, but he was no longer interested in a romantic relationship with her. Lois was more than a little angry when she learned the girl had used red K on him to get him to do what she wanted. Since she’d had her own experience with ‘Kal’ she knew what he could be like on it. True to form, he’d acted like a complete jerk and that had scared Alicia off.

    He’d acted the same with his parents, who had quickly realised what was happening and used the green meteor rock to get the other stuff away from him.

    “Wait. Green?” she asked, frowning at him.

    “Red takes away my inhibitions, but green is poisonous to me. It can kill me.”

    She felt uneasy. If Kally had any of her father’s abilities, there was a good chance she could also have the same problem. She asked him about that and he paused in his story to ponder it.

    “Has she been around any? That you know of?”

    She shook her head. “No. There’s none at the inn, thank goodness.”

    Clark looked relieved. “I really would rather not find out,” he said.

    “Me either. So what happened next? With Alicia I mean. Is that when she got shot?”

    “She came back the next day and apologised, told me she thought she could use the red K to get me to run away with her. That’s when Dr McBride showed up. Alicia teleported in front of the bullet.”

    Lois frowned. “Why? I mean, the bullet wouldn’t hurt you, would it?”

    He shook his head. “No, it would just bounce off. But then that would have exposed my secret and I guess in her own way she was trying to protect me.”

    That had changed their friendship. While the rest of the town gossiped about her behind Alicia’s back, Clark continued to look out for her. Lois remembered that one Saturday night Chloe had invited her to go to the Karaoke night at the Talon. Alicia and Clark had come in and she had wondered if they were dating. She didn’t want to say anything to Clark, but she had felt more than a little jealous.

    “Well, that’s when Lana got attacked and Jason the next day. The sheriff thought it was Alicia at first and I have to admit I did too. When Jason was attacked, Sheriff Adams told me it couldn’t possibly have been Alicia as she was in one of the interview rooms at the time.”

    “So, that guy … what was his name?”

    “Tim. He tried to frame Alicia.”

    “How? I mean, if there were locked doors …”

    “He had a meteor ability. It wasn’t teleporting. He could turn into sand.”

    “How did you find out?” she asked. “That it was Tim?”

    “Chloe. He was writing articles about Smallville’s ‘glory days’. He asked her out for coffee and took her to the museum. She told me he was talking about Lana and Jason and how they’d deserved what they’d got.”

    “That’s hardly a smoking gun, Smallville,” she said.

    “No, but then Chloe said he began talking about someone else. That what they’d done ‘wasn’t right’. It made me think he’d already chosen his next target.”

    She stared at him. “Who? Who was he talking about?”

    Clark was silent for a few moments. “You, Lois. He was talking about you and Kally. The night he murdered Alicia, he was coming to hurt you.”

    How could she have not known this? She did vaguely remember the way Tim had stared at her during the Karaoke night and had thought he was a little strange, but she had never considered for a second that he would try to kill her. Or Kally.

    “How did I not know this?” she asked.

    “You’d already gone to bed,” he told her. “I managed to catch him before he got to the Inn and stopped him.”

    She’d been in danger and she had never even known. It was no wonder Clark had been so quiet lately.

    “I could have saved Alicia too,” he said.

    She frowned. “How? I mean, how could you have known what would happen? You’re not psychic. Or are you? I mean, is that one of your …”

    “No,” he said, shaking his head. “At least, not so far. It’s just … Alicia asked me to go with her to the sheriff. Tell her about my own abilities so people would stop judging for her past. She thought if people could see that we don’t all turn into psychos who attack people, they might be a little more understanding.”

    “But your powers …”

    “I don’t think she knew about Krypton,” he said.

    “So, you think if you’d just done what she wanted you to, that would have saved her life? You don’t know that, Smallville. You could have exposed yourself and she still might have died.” She put a hand on his knee. “You have to stop punishing yourself.”

    He put his hand over hers and looked at her. “But you understand now, why I had to tell you everything. I know it’s a lot to take in, but … I care about you, Lois. I don’t want anything to happen to you, or Kally.”

    She found herself looking into his blue eyes. Those eyes, so much like her daughter’s. She saw the weight of the world in those eyes and realised just how much he had to keep hidden. He’d laid it all on the line for her when he’d told her the truth.

    “So, what do we do now?” she asked quietly.

    “Jor-El wants me to find these stones. I already have one but there are two more out there. Lionel Luthor had one of them.”

    “What will these stones do?”

    “Help me build something. I’m not exactly sure what but Jor-El called it a Fortress of Knowledge. He wants to be able to see Kally. Well, not see her, exactly, but … Anyway, whatever he does will help him determine if Kally is going to have powers like mine.”

    Lois nodded. She didn’t know what was going to happen, but figured it was probably the only way. At least then they would be able to get some idea of what they might be in for. Forewarned is forearmed, she thought.

    a/n: There is the stones arc, but not the witch arc. The rest - the manipulation, the competition with the Luthors, the greed is pretty much still there.

  9. #24
    Forum Regular Sykobee's Avatar
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    Great way to start the weekend. The cousins are past their issue, Lex is sniffing around😒 as usual and Lois is aware of how special her daughter is truly. I'm glad Martha is extending support to Lois. I always,liked their relationship. Can't wait to see how Kally develops and how it all plays into the story. Great chapter😊

  10. #25
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    Wasn't expecting the Tim Westcott tie-in, but I like it. It's a minor detail, that most would've probably forgotten or overlooked. It really shows how one minor detail could've changed events and character interactions.

  11. #26
    Custom Title jon-el87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenixnz View Post
    “I am afraid I cannot give you what you need without seeing the child for myself, Kal-El. There has never been a Kryptonian-human hybrid in our history. If your child was born under a yellow sun, she may not have the same abilities.”
    Jor-El, you might wanna visit Arizona and meet this kid named Max (son of Dax-Ur). Of course, I doubt Jor-El would've known about Max. The kid was barely acknowledged in his one and only appearance. Kinda hilarious that the half-Kryptonian kid, in Arizona, was ignored during the show's last three seasons (and season 11).

  12. #27
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sykobee View Post
    Great way to start the weekend. The cousins are past their issue, Lex is sniffing around as usual and Lois is aware of how special her daughter is truly. I'm glad Martha is extending support to Lois. I always,liked their relationship. Can't wait to see how Kally develops and how it all plays into the story. Great chapter
    Lex can never resist poking his nose in where it's not wanted. Yep, Lois knows the truth about Kally and gets all the support she needs from the Kents. I always loved their relationship too. As for whether Kally develops any abilities, you will soon see.

    Quote Originally Posted by jon-el87 View Post
    Wasn't expecting the Tim Westcott tie-in, but I like it. It's a minor detail, that most would've probably forgotten or overlooked. It really shows how one minor detail could've changed events and character interactions.
    Tim Westcott's character was the perfect catalyst for Clark's decision to tell Lois everything, especially because, given his screwed-up sense of morality, he would have seen Lois as the perfect example of everything that was wrong in Smallville. It was also a way to hint that Clark's feelings for Lois run a little deeper than he realised. In the show, it actually demonstrated to me just how their bond was developing as Lois talked him down from almost killing Tim.

    Quote Originally Posted by jon-el87 View Post
    Jor-El, you might wanna visit Arizona and meet this kid named Max (son of Dax-Ur). Of course, I doubt Jor-El would've known about Max. The kid was barely acknowledged in his one and only appearance. Kinda hilarious that the half-Kryptonian kid, in Arizona, was ignored during the show's last three seasons (and season 11).
    Oh, don't worry, I did consider Max when I wrote this part. One, Dax-Ur was using blue K, so there was always a question of whether the kid would have powers and two, that allowed him to hide his presence. Who's to say Dax-Ur didn't give Max some of the blue Kryptonite to keep his identity hidden?

    The show did drop the ball on a lot of characters who might have had some importance in the SV universe: Gabe Sullivan, Lucas Dunleavy to name just a couple. Sure, the actors moved on to other things, but the characters still could have had their absences explained.

  13. #28
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Chapter Seven

    Clark grabbed the bag from the seat and closed the door of the truck. He entered through the back gate of the Inn, heading down the path to the cabin. He had just made it to the door when he heard wailing inside.

    Cautiously opening the door, he looked before stepping in. Kally was crying. Lois had her in her arms, but her efforts to comfort her crying baby were in vain.

    “What’s wrong with her?” he asked. Lois winced as Kally’s cries increased in volume.

    “I had to go inside for something and she tried to follow me out. She fell over on the flagstones and hit her head.”

    Clark examined his daughter. She had a bad bruise on her forehead but the skin wasn’t broken. It probably hurt like hell though. He remembered before he’d got his full invulnerability, he’d hurt himself a few times.

    Lois looked desperately at him. “I have to go get something from the inn. Can you take her? See if you can calm her down?”

    He nodded and took the baby in his arms, holding her close. He sat down on Lois’ bed, speaking softly to the little girl while Lois hurried out.

    “There, you’re okay,” he said. “I know that hurts, baby girl, but you’ll be okay. Want Daddy to kiss it better?”

    He pressed his lips softly to the bruise. It was as if his touch was magic as the sobs began to ease until she would just hiccup. He smiled down at her, brushing the hair off her face.

    “There. That’s a lot of fuss for a bruise, sweet girl.”

    She hiccupped again and pressed her hand to his mouth. He obliged with a raspberry on her palm, making her giggle.

    “Daaaa …” she babbled.

    She’d been trying out her language skills. She’d almost succeeded in saying ‘mama’ but couldn’t quite seem to get it right. He’d read enough to know that she was at the age where things were starting to make sense but her skills would still be limited.

    Lois came back inside, holding a small stick which would allow them to connect to the internet on the laptop.

    “I left this inside,” she said. “Hey, how did you get her to stop crying?”

    He smirked. “Maybe I just have the magic touch,” he said.

    She snorted. “Yeah, and maybe you’re full of it.”

    He shrugged. “Maybe she’s just forgotten about it,” he said. “I remember having a few scrapes when I was little but I soon forgot about them.”

    Lois frowned, picking up the laptop bag where he’d dropped it on the bed and took it over to the little table.

    “I thought you were like really strong when you were little.”

    “Strong, but not invulnerable,” he said, still cradling the baby as he got up and went to join her at the table. “I had my share of bruises. The day I met Lex, well, when he hit me with his car, I was bruised for a couple of days.”

    She stared at him. “Wait. What? Lex hit you with his car?”

    He frowned. “I didn’t tell you about that?”

    “No. You told me a lot of things that night but I think I’d remember if you said you’d been hit by a car.”

    “Oh. Okay. Well, Lex lost control of his car on Loeb Bridge. I was just standing there, brooding …”

    “As you do,” she returned with a grin, implying just how well she knew him. Even if it was true, it still rankled a bit.

    He looked down at his daughter as she reached out to the laptop, obviously fascinated with the light from the screen.

    “Mean. Your mother is mean, Kally.”

    The little girl just grinned up at him and babbled before poking her tongue out experimentally.

    Clark sighed. “I get no respect.”

    “Poor baby,” Lois returned with a chuckle. “Go on with the story.”

    “Where was I?”

    “You were brooding.”

    “Right. So I saw this car coming toward me and I …”

    “Why didn’t you just jump out of the way?” Lois asked. “I mean, you have super speed. You could have just …”

    “I froze, okay? Geez, give me a break. I saw this car careening toward me at sixty miles an hour. I mean what would you have done?”

    “Okay, fine, fine. I give. So what happened next?”

    “Well me and the car go over the rail … actually, no, it wasn’t over, it was through the rail. We end up in the river. I have like a second to wonder why I’m not dead and then I realise that someone’s in that car so I rip back the roof and pull him out.”

    She looked at him incredulously. “You rip back the roof? What the fu …” She glanced at Kally and obviously decided to modify what she was going to say. “… heck were you thinking, Smallville? It’s no wonder the guy’s been investigating you if you do a dumb thing like that. I mean, a few dents, a smashed hood can be explained, but ripping the roof off?”

    “Oh, well, if you know so much, you can have the super powers and get hit by a car. Geez.”

    He understood what she was saying. For days afterward, he had mentally berated himself thinking he shouldn’t have done what he did, but when he’d been in the moment, he had known if he stopped to think for even a second, it could have meant the difference between life and death.

    He tried to explain that to Lois.

    “Honey, I get that, and you know, hindsight being twenty-twenty and all that, but still … a lot of all that hassle could have been avoided if you’d just not ripped the roof off.” She sighed. “I’m sorry. I know, heat of the moment and stuff. I guess I can’t really talk since I’ll probably never know what it’s like to be in your position.”

    He nodded. “Anyway, that was when Dad told me the truth about where I came from. Before that happened, I thought I was just a normal kid with, you know, a few added extras.”

    He still remembered the pain of those first few days when he’d been trying to come to terms with his alienness. In many ways, he felt he was still trying to come to terms with it. He loved his parents, but he had felt a little isolated as a child. While he’d had Pete Ross as his best friend, his parents had been over-protective. The revelation had helped explain why they were always so anxious but it still hadn’t made it any easier to deal with.

    He cuddled his daughter close. Whether she would develop powers or not, the last thing he wanted was for her to feel the same sense of loneliness he’d felt.

    Lois touched his shoulder. “Maybe it’s not quite the same, but I sort of understand where you’re coming from. I mean, things are okay with my dad now, but for the longest time I felt alone too. After my mom died, there was no one to act as a buffer between me and him. If I was sad about Mom, he would just tell me to buck up. It kind of hurt.”

    He nodded.

    “It felt so wrong, you know? It was like he was telling me to forget all about her. Like I wasn’t allowed to grieve. He’d drag me around the world and he’d never talk to me about how I felt about things. I mean, I know in the army you don’t really get a lot of choice about where you’re transferred to, but it still would have been nice if he’d actually talked to me about it instead of expecting me to just accept it without argument. I think I would start at a new school every two years or so and I remember all the kids would just stare at me. It would take weeks to actually make friends with anyone. Most of them wouldn’t bother because hey, I’d be leaving again in a few months.”

    “That must have been so lonely,” he said. It was little wonder he’d felt some kind of connection with her the night they’d met in Metropolis. Something in her had cried out to the loneliness inside him. Maybe their situations had been different, but the feelings were the same.

    She studied him. “I know it sounds crazy, but the night we met, I felt like you were someone who understood me in some way.”

    He gazed at her. Her eyes were doing an odd little dance and he was filled with the urge to kiss her. Maybe they weren’t ready for anything else but years later he would look back and think that that was the moment he fell in love with her.

    The laptop beeped, reminding them of the whole reason he’d brought it with him. They turned to look at the screen.

    “So, what exactly are you looking for?” Lois asked.

    “I’m not exactly sure. Jor-El didn’t give me much in the way of clues.”

    “Well, that’s helpful,” she said sarcastically. He poked her shoulder.

    “I used the scanner at the Torch to scan a drawing I made. It’s from memory. I saw it under this illuminated manuscript at Lex’s.” He'd also made sure to delete any trace of what he'd done after he'd saved it on his laptop.

    “Whoa, hold up. What is an illuminated manuscript and tell me again why you’re friends with this guy?”

    “Um, I’m not totally sure what it is, but I remember this thing had a huge block of text. I’m not sure which century it was from - probably like the 1600s or something. Anyway, it had pictures and these symbols around the border. It was the symbols that told me to x-ray it.”

    “X-ray?”

    “Yeah, like how doctors can see your bones and stuff.”

    “I know what an x-ray is,” she said. “I guess that’s one of those powers you forgot to tell me about.”

    He frowned at her. He’d told her about his speed, his strength, his invulnerability; nope, he hadn’t told her about the x-ray vision, or the heat vision for that matter.

    He started to explain but she shook her head. “Not right now, honey. Like I said, not all at once. Otherwise I think my brain will have a meltdown.”

    “Sorry,” he said sheepishly.

    “That’s all right. One thing at a time. So, you saw the drawing under the manuscript.”

    He directed her to a folder on the computer and showed her the drawing. It looked like a map of some kind but he wasn’t completely certain. Then again, he’d really only seen the thing for a couple of minutes. After the manuscript had been stolen, Lex kept it locked in a vault. Unless he was in the middle of studying it.

    “Why are you still friends with him, especially after everything he’s done?” Lois asked.

    “Sometimes I wonder that myself. I think part of me still thinks I can convince him to change.”

    She shook her head. “You can’t force someone to change, Smallville. They have to want to change.”

    “You’re right.”

    “I’m always right,” she said, with a grin.

    “Except when you’re not,” he replied.

    “What was that?” she returned.

    “Nothing.”

    She narrowed her eyes at him. “If you weren’t holding Kally …”

    He pretended to be incredulous as he stared at her.

    “Is that supposed to be some kind of threat, Miss Lane?”

    “You’ll know when I’m threatening you. Kal-El,” she added, in a lower voice. He’d told her his birth name to explain why he’d called himself Kal in Metropolis.

    She focused her attention on the computer. “I wonder if we can do like some kind of reverse image search and see if anything comes up,” she mused, pressing a few keys to upload the image. She tried a few options for a while. The search didn’t turn up anything helpful.

    “It was kind of a long shot,” he said, after a couple of hours, sighing. “I thought about contacting the Swann Foundation.”

    “What’s the Swann Foundation?”

    He explained about Virgil Swann, telling her how he had found the Kawatche caves and downloading the Kryptonian language into his brain. When he’d accidentally burnt one of the symbols on the barn wall, Chloe had taken a photo of it and published it in the Torch. They’d tried to convince her it was some kind of prank, but she’d taken it more seriously than that.

    Mere days after the photo had appeared, Dr Swann had contacted Clark telling him he had a message for him. Clark had gone to meet the scientist and learned that around the same time Krypton had exploded, the man had been researching life on other planets. Ever since then, he’d been providing assistance with research. His recent death had been quite a blow.

    Lois grinned at him. “Your life is so strange,” she said.

    “Tell me about it,” he replied.

    “So, is there anyone you can trust in the foundation?”

    “Well, there was Bridgette Crosby, but her email doesn’t work anymore. There’s this other researcher who used to work with Dr Swann. He’d email me sometimes with stuff when Dr Swann was sick or out of town.”

    “Well, let’s try him then. He might be able to put us in touch with someone who has some expertise in linguistics.”

    Clark frowned. “What if we tried someone in linguistics at Met U?”

    “We could, but they might not respond. Especially if it’s not ‘official’.”

    He nodded. A professor might not contact them if they said they were just working on a school project. By emailing the man in the Swann Foundation, it would give them another way in.

    They decided that was the best option and sent off the email. Kally had got bored and demanded her father let her down and was now playing on the floor with her toys. Clark watched her for a few minutes.

    “Thanks for helping me with this,” he said. “It feels good to be able to share this with you. I mean, I know it’s for Kally’s sake and everything, but …”

    “No, I get it,” she said. She glanced at the clock on the computer. “It’s almost noon. Did you want to go out for lunch?”

    “Sure. Do you want to go to the Talon or somewhere in Granville?”

    “The Talon’s fine. Chloe might be there. Um, actually I wanted to ask you something.”

    “About what?”

    “You and Lana.”

    He shook his head. “I still care about her but that ship sailed a long time ago. She’s with Jason now.”

    Lois looked dubious. “I don’t know. I saw her and Jason arguing the other day. It’s none of my business, but she looked kind of upset.”

    Clark shrugged. “I realised a long time before she went to Paris that we weren’t meant to be. Whatever problems she has with Jason, it has nothing to do with me.”

    It probably sounded harsh but he’d questioned it so many times. There had been a lot of occasions where things had felt awkward between him and his former girlfriend. So much that he’d had cause to wonder if it was really meant to be that hard. With Lois, it wasn’t just that he was comfortable with her. He trusted her.

    He remembered in junior year when Van McNulty had been going around killing people affected by the meteors. He’d even shot a kid who had been his friend, because his friend had used his meteor-ability to attack Lana. Having had so many run-ins with the meteor-affected, Clark had understood Van’s need for justice, but the teen had resorted to murder and called it vigilante justice. What had hurt the most, however, was that Lana had defended Van’s actions. At least, until Van had set his sights on Clark.

    That, to him, felt wrong from every angle. It wasn’t one rule for him and another for everyone else. Maybe they had done terrible things but that didn’t justify murder.
    It had been just another of those moments which had made him question his relationship.

    Lois was biting her lip. “If things changed … if Lana dumped Jason and wanted to get back together with you …”

    “It wouldn’t happen,” he said. “I mean, I thought I was in love with her for a long time but I realised that in some ways I can’t really trust her. I’ve never even told her the truth about me.”

    “You haven’t?”

    He shook his head and smiled at Lois. “You’re the first person I’ve actually told.”

    “Well, yeah, but that’s because of Kally.”

    Maybe she had a point, but if there were no Kally and they’d met under different circumstances, he liked to think she would still be the first person he would voluntarily tell. There was just something about Lois that told him no matter what universe they were in, they were always going to be destined to be in each other’s lives.

    When they arrived at the Talon it was busy but Lois still managed to get a table. Clark went to order them some coffees and some food while she got Kally settled. He returned to her side to find Lex talking to her.

    “I’ve been seeing you around town,” Lex was saying.

    “Oh, that’s nice.”

    “And who is this?” he asked, bending down to peer at the eleven-month-old.

    “My daughter. Kally.”

    “Kally, hmm? Nice name. Did you know she’s got a bruise on her forehead?”

    “Yes, I did know, actually,” Lois said coolly. “She tripped on some flagstones and hit her head.”

    “I see.”

    “Hey, Lex,” Clark said, interrupting the conversation.

    “Clark. Didn’t see you there.”

    He studied the older man. Lex was wearing a black suit looking almost as if he was going to a funeral. “You’re pretty dressed up for the Talon,” Clark remarked.

    “Business meetings. You know how it is.”

    He didn’t comment and sat down at the table beside Lois.

    “Lunch is on the way,” he said.

    Lois smiled at him. “Thank you. It was very nice meeting you, Lex.”

    “Nice meeting you too, Lois. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of each other.” She frowned at the comment. “I mean, because of your friendship with Clark.”

    “Oh. Right.”

    Clark noticed he completely ignored Kally, walking away with almost a swagger.

    “Rude much?” Lois muttered.

    “Not a fan, I take it?”

    “After what you’ve told me, he … heck no.”

    Clark’s mother brought over their coffees and the sandwiches they’d ordered.

    “I’m glad to see you two,” she said. “Lois, I invited your father over for dinner tonight. I hope that’s all right.”

    Lois nodded. “It’s fine. Dad called me this morning and told me he was coming. He’s been back and forth to Washington a few times lately so I’m sure he’ll be glad for a home-cooked meal.”

    Mom smiled. “I’m happy to see you two getting along so well.”

    “Yeah. Better than we have in years, actually.”

    It was late afternoon when Clark drove to the farm. Lois turned and smiled at her daughter.

    “Grandma and Grandpa will be really excited to see you,” she said. Kally babbled something in reply and grinned.

    “You nervous about your dad coming for dinner?” Clark asked.

    She thought about it for a few seconds. She had had a long talk with her father before he’d gone to Washington and they had had the best conversation they’d ever had. He’d even opened up about her mother’s death and how sorry he was for the way he’d raised her and her sister. There were clearly a lot of things he regretted and he didn’t want to make the same mistakes with his grand-daughter.

    Clark had been right when he’d concluded that her leaving home had been a huge wake-up call for the General. He’d more than made up for that ever since, although Lois had had to gently forbid him from spoiling her daughter too much.

    “Actually no,” she said. “It’ll be nice to see him, and for him to spend time with all of us. It’s nice, you know? I really love your parents. Your mom and I have talked a lot since you told me about your secret and it’s great that she’s been able to share some of her experience.”

    She felt as if she had grown much closer to the older woman in that time. It wasn’t just what the couple had gone through, raising their son. It felt like she was part of a real family.

    Clark grimaced. “Yeah, I remember her showing you the bare bottom shots. Let’s hope she doesn’t bring those out on my twenty-first.”

    “Aw, like you aren’t going to do the same to Kally when she gets to that age,” Lois retorted. He laughed.

    “Hey, it’s supposed to be like a rite of passage for a parent. To embarrass their kids when they become adults.”

    She laughed with him. She had no doubt he would take every opportunity to do so. She wondered what Kally would be like when she was older than they were now. Would she be just as adoring of her father as she was now?

    She again looked at her daughter and noticed the bruise on her head was a little less pronounced than it had been that morning.

    “Hey, Clark, you know that bruise she had this morning?”

    Clark glanced over at her but returned his attention to the road. “Sure. What about it?”

    “I think it’s faded a little. Bruises don’t heal that quickly, do they?”

    “We’re almost at the farm. I’ll have a look when I’ve stopped the truck.”

    She waited until he’d stopped in the driveway and unlatched her seatbelt. She turned to release her daughter from the harness while Clark undid his own belt and examined her.

    “I think you’re right, Lois,” he said.

    She sent him a long look, biting her lip. “I guess this means she does have some of your abilities.”

    “We can’t rule it out,” he replied.

    Lois didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but in some ways, she hoped she was wrong and that it wasn’t a sign of what was to come. From what Clark had told her, he’d faced some difficulties as a child, just learning to deal with his own abilities.

    Clark seemed to sense what she was thinking.

    “Hey, hey, it’s too early to start worrying about what if,” he said. “And if she does have my abilities, we will deal with it. At least she’ll have the benefit of my experience.”

    She nodded. He was right. Since he already knew what it was like, he would be able to teach Kally. If they could just get the stones his birth father had asked for, they might be able to talk to Jor-El and find out for sure.

    Jonathan came out from the barn, taking off his leather gloves. He smiled at them.

    “Had a good day?” he asked.

    Lois nodded. “It’s been a nice day. I can’t wait until summer though.”

    The weather had been somewhat unsettled where it was cold one minute and warm the next.

    Clark grimaced. “Ugh, in the meantime I’ve got finals. Graduation. Prom.”

    “You are going, aren’t you?” Lois asked him, watching as Jonathan picked up his grand-daughter and began babbling nonsense to her. He walked off with the little girl in his arms.

    Clark shrugged. “I don’t know. There isn’t anyone I really want to go with.”

    “You could go with Chloe,” she said. “Or you could just go by yourself. I mean, you don’t have to have a date.”

    She’d missed her own prom since she’d been made to leave before the end of her senior year. Not that she would have had enough credits to graduate, she thought. She had never really focused on her studies, mostly out of a fit of rebellion. Now that she had a real purpose for getting her high school diploma, she was much more determined to do it right.

    “I do care about Chloe, but only as a friend. You know that, right?”

    Lois nodded. Earlier in the year, there had been an incident at school where some of the cheerleaders had made some kind of ‘love drug’ which basically forced their football player boyfriends to do whatever they wanted. Chloe had managed to drink the drugged Kool-aid and had come onto Clark. He’d always known she had feelings for him - he wasn’t that dense after all, but he’d had to gently tell her that he didn’t feel the same way.

    They started to walk together to the house.

    “Anyway, prom’s over a month away. There’s still Kally’s birthday.”

    “Do you think we should have a party?” she asked.

    “Who would we invite?”

    “Well, there’s Chloe and my dad. And Bubsy, and your parents. I guess that’s pretty much it.”

    “She won’t really understand. I think if we just had something small … maybe at the Inn. Then the staff can come too,” he said.

    “Are you sure? I mean, won’t they want to know why your parents are there?”

    They had been careful to ensure that the staff didn’t know Clark was Kally’s father in case it got around town. It wasn’t just that Smallville was a town filled with busybodies. It was also out of a need to protect the little girl in case someone unscrupulous figured out Clark’s secret and tried to hurt Kally to get to him. Lois had always wondered why he’d insisted they keep that information to themselves before she’d known about him, but now that she did know, she understood.

    He looked thoughtful. “Yeah, maybe that’s not such a good idea. Why don’t we talk it over with our parents tonight. I mean, the party’s really for us, more than Kally. She’s too young to know what it means.”

    “That’s true.”

    Martha greeted them at the door. “Where’s Kally?” she asked.

    Clark grinned. “Dad took off with her. I think he’s showing her the cows or something.”

    The older woman laughed. “Every time,” she said.

    Lois couldn’t help laughing with her. Jonathan loved taking his grand-daughter around the farm, even if she didn’t understand what she was seeing.

    Clark took his laptop upstairs so she followed Martha into the kitchen. “Is there anything I can do to help?” she asked.

    “If you wouldn’t mind setting the table, sweetheart.”

    She went to get the silverware and plates from the drawers.

    “How are things with you and Clark?” Martha asked.

    “They’re good,” she said. “I mean, we’re still taking things one step at a time. He knows now not to overload me with information, which is cool.”

    “His father and I had a long talk with him about that and told him not to be in such a rush. Let you ask questions and give you time to adjust.”

    She nodded. “Exactly. I don’t know where he gets it from but honestly, he can be a bit obtuse at times. Not that he’s not smart. It’s just …”

    “Oh, don’t worry. His father can be exactly the same. On one of our first dates, he took me to this fancy restaurant. Pulled out all the stops to impress me. Must have cost him a fortune! I finally had to pull him up on it and tell him he didn’t need to take me to a fancy restaurant. You know what he said?”

    Lois shook her head. Martha continued. “How else was he going to compete with all those fancy society people I was used to dealing with?” She sighed. “I told him if I wanted to go out with society people, I would have.”

    “Let me guess,” Lois said, amused. “Total bores?”

    “There was this investment banker my father tried to set me up with. All he talked about all night was stock management, and we’re not talking animal husbandry.”

    “Oh God, I would have been asleep in five minutes!” she replied.

    Martha chuckled. “Believe me, I was fighting to keep my eyes open.”

    The two women giggled.

    “Clark helps me with my study sometimes. I mean, the books can get so boring but he explains it in a way that helps me understand it better. He was telling me about this one story Lex told him about Alexander the Great and it was way better than the history book I was reading.” She smiled. “He’s really great with Kally too. I was watching him the other night when he was putting her to bed. He was reading her this story and doing all the voices.”

    She’d fallen a little more in love with him that night. Not that she would ever tell him that. After all, they had agreed to being just friends. At least for now.

    Martha sent her a knowing look. “Don’t worry,” she said. “Your secret’s safe with me.”

    Clark returned and helped her set the table before going to help his mom in the kitchen. Jonathan came in shortly after. He put Kally down to pull off his boots and she toddled over to her grandmother. Martha picked her up.

    “Well look at you. You’re getting so good at that, little girl. Want to help Grandma in the kitchen?”

    Lois sat on the barstool watching her daughter and the older woman together. She loved the way Kally babbled to her grandma and Martha listened as if she could understand every word. It was really sweet.

    The General arrived shortly after and made a fuss over his grand-daughter before they sat down to dinner. He insisted on feeding her, even while his own dinner cooled.

    “Daddy,” Lois gently admonished him as he played with Kally, making a noise like an aeroplane as he fed her. “Your food’s getting cold.”

    He grinned at her. “Cold or hot, it’s still much better than rations.”

    “I’ll take that as a compliment, Sam,” Martha replied.

    He once again turned to look at Kally, tickling her and making her giggle.

    “You’re getting so big now. Every time I go away, you grow a little more.” He frowned. “Where did you get the bruise from, sweetheart?” he asked. He looked around at Lois.

    “She tripped on the flagstones outside the cabin,” Lois explained.

    “Guess you haven’t quite got your sea legs yet, huh pumpkin,” Jonathan put in before her father could ask more questions.

    “Um, so we were thinking of having a birthday party for Kally next month,” Clark announced, obviously figuring he could distract the General with a change of subject. “We were going to have it at the Inn but maybe we can have it here at the farm.”

    “What do you think, Daddy?”

    “I think that’s a great idea, sweetheart. Who would you invite?”

    “Well, you, of course, and Bubsy. And Chloe.”

    “I can make the cake,” Martha offered. “What about the staff at the Inn?”

    “I think they’ll be too busy with work,” Clark said, giving his parents a meaningful look. “The party might be too disruptive.”

    “The inn’s getting into its busy time by then,” Lois reminded the others.

    “Speaking of the inn,” Jonathan said. “How are those repairs holding?”

    “You might have to talk to Bubsy, but I think they’re holding okay.”

    “Hmm, I was there a couple of weeks ago and it looks like some of the rooms could do with some repairs,” her father said. “There are a few cracks in the walls here and there, and they could do with a fresh lick of paint. Leave it with me. I can get some of the boys to help out.”

    Lois looked gratefully at him. “That would be really great, Daddy. Thank you.”

    Jonathan smiled at her. “So how are your studies going, Lois?”

    “Good. I think I’m almost ready to take the exams.”

    Her father cleared his throat. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about something. I know you want to do this your own way and I’m so proud of you for that, but I have some money put aside for college tuition. I’ve been looking into Central Kansas and I think you can study for a degree part-time, if necessary. What do you think, sweetheart?”

    “Oh, Daddy, that would be amazing!” she said. “I’d have to find college papers I could schedule around my job, but if I talk to Bubsy I know she’ll work something out.”

    She really wanted to be a good example to her daughter and going to college classes meant she could really work toward her chosen career. She had never forgotten the conversation she’d had with her friend about her future. She knew she couldn’t be a maid forever.

    After dinner, Lois helped Jonathan with the dishes. He quietly mentioned the bruise, glancing up to make sure the General wasn’t listening. He was talking with Martha, the baby dozing in his lap.

    “So what happened with the bruise?” Jonathan asked.

    “Kally tried to follow me into the Inn this morning,” Lois said. “She really did trip and fall. The bruise looks a couple of days old instead of just a few hours.”

    He nodded. “Clark would get bruises when he was little, but they would heal quickly. Maybe Kally’s showing signs of getting her father’s abilities.”

    “I asked Clark and he thought we should just wait and see for now. I mean, we can’t rule it out, but we don’t want to jump the gun either.”

    She didn’t mention helping Clark with the search for the stones. He’d already told her his parents were a little uneasy with him contacting Jor-El.

    Her father stood up, with Kally in his arms.

    “Jonathan, Martha, thank you for dinner, but I think it’s time we got this little one into bed.”

    “You’re right, Dad,” Lois said, smiling up at him.

    They said their goodbyes and went out to the car. Her father drove her back to the inn and pulled up in the driveway. He got out of the car and lifted Kally out, preparing to hand her over.

    “Do you want to help me put her to bed, Daddy? You could read her a story.”

    He smiled. “That would be wonderful, sweetheart.”

    He followed her through the back gate and down the path to her cabin, pausing to look around him.

    “You’ve got this place looking good, Lo,” he said.

    “Well, Clark’s been helping with a lot of it.”

    “He’s a good man. And a good father. I’m so proud of you both. You’ve really grown up, Lo.”

    She nodded, opening the door. Within a few minutes she had helped her father get Kally into pyjamas and reading her a story. He was nowhere near as good as Clark at doing the voices, but her daughter seemed to love it just the same. It wasn’t long before she fell asleep.

    Lois and her father left the room quietly. She hugged him outside the door.

    “I meant what I said,” he said in a low voice. “I’m so proud of you. If I hadn’t been so stubborn …”

    She shushed him. “Daddy, you don’t need to keep apologising for what happened.”

    “I love you, Lo.”

    “I love you too, Dad,” she said, standing on tiptoe to kiss his cheek. “Goodnight.”
    Last edited by phoenixnz; 05-15-2019 at 02:15 AM.

  14. #29
    Forum Regular Sykobee's Avatar
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    What a sweet chapter. This story is just moving along so well. The family dinner and story time had me reading with a big smile. Of course Lex's subtle but uber creepy vibe always starts me worrying. Was really glad that Lois did not supply a time frame for Kally's trip and bruise. Cueball needs no further incentive for his stalker tendencies. Also nice to see that the young parents are aware of the others qualities and appeal but are still being cautious.

    Thanks for a bright spot in the ugly start of my Monday. As always, on the lookout for more but currently consoling myself with the awesomeness of Luthor & Luthor. 🤗🤗🤗🤗

  15. #30
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sykobee View Post
    What a sweet chapter. This story is just moving along so well. The family dinner and story time had me reading with a big smile. Of course Lex's subtle but uber creepy vibe always starts me worrying. Was really glad that Lois did not supply a time frame for Kally's trip and bruise. Cueball needs no further incentive for his stalker tendencies. Also nice to see that the young parents are aware of the others qualities and appeal but are still being cautious.

    Thanks for a bright spot in the ugly start of my Monday. As always, on the lookout for more but currently consoling myself with the awesomeness of Luthor & Luthor. 珞珞珞珞
    I loved the idea of the two families becoming close and I wanted something cute for story time. As for the bruise, yeah, Lois would have known that if she mentioned Kally getting it that morning, it would have looked suspicious to her father.

    Lex does come across as creepy, but of course he would be curious as to why Clark is not coming around as much. Again, it's that perspective thing. Clark is realising just how much Lex manipulates people around him.

    Glad I could provide a bright spot in your day. Sorry for the delay in posting the next chapter. I had an assignment I needed to complete.

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