It was late when the council adjourned. Jor-El and Lara walked together through the large airy passages, talking in low voices.
"You see, they think that I am a paranoid upstart who would set the world into a frenzy after gaining power. I don't want power. I just want our planet to have a chance."
"And it is truly this bad?" Lara stopped, and met his eyes.
Jor-El gazed steadily back. "It is." Lara looked at the ground. "I have known it for longer than any of the council. I have been studying this for decades, and they are only just beginning to realize the danger. No one will listen."
"I do." Lara was still looking at the ground. "I would do anything if only –" She stopped short.
"If only what?" Jor-El said quietly, his eyes seeking hers. She tipped her face up.
"If only I did not have to follow the council's will."
"And marry Jir-An?" he said gently. She nodded.
"There are love matches, made when two people agree to defy the pre-ordained system."
"But the last time that occurred was in cycle 12,187," Lara murmured, her voice thick with suppressed emotion.
Jor-El smiled. "Yes, you are right. But that does not mean it cannot happen again." He took her hand, and Lara jumped; this was the first time they had touched out of emotion, and not from necessity or function. His hand was large and warm around hers, and she could feel his breath upon her cheek as he whispered, "You are the only person whom I would want to spend the rest of my life with. "
Lara nodded, giving his hand a gentle squeeze. "And you are the only man I admire enough to love as a husband."
Footsteps approaching interrupted their moment together. Jir-An rounded the corner and stopped short, seeing the two standing together. Then he advanced, directing his attention to Lara.
"I am going to review one of the outposts at the beginning of next week."
Lara said nothing, while Jir-An and Jor-El exchanged emotionless glances.
"It will be dangerous."
"Then I wish you luck," Lara said quietly, giving him a small smile.
"I will not return for some time."
"You will be missed."
They stared at each other, neither saying another word, until Jir-An finally said, "Your father will be needing you while I am away. The scientist will have to fend for himself, I am afraid."
And with that, he walked on past them, disappearing around a bend in the passage.
"I should be going," Jor-El said at last. "I bid you good night, then."
"Good night," Lara smiled, and they parted ways, each listening to the unfaltering footsteps of the other until they could be heard no more.
Lor-Van looked up upon hearing the droid relay the message that someone was at the door.
"Who is it?" he inquired, adjusting his ornamental collar and checking himself before the mirror.
"Your daughter, Lara," Lara's voice came over the droid's system, and it's impressionable surface melted into her features. "I would like to speak with you."
"Come in, then," Lor-Van said, and the hoverbot buzzed over and activated the door so that it retreated into its crevice in the ceiling. Lara walked through the doorway and stood before her father.
"Are you aware what today is?" she asked at last, after looking about her for a while and hoping her father would speak first and ask what was the matter.
"I am. It is the day of the great council, the day that General Zod will be reporting his duties, the day the Jir-An will likely have reached his destination, the day that –"
"The day that Krypton's yearly wedding ceremony is held?" Lara said sweetly.
"Is it?" Lor-Van's face fell. "That is a pity. You will have to wait until the next cycle when Jir-An is back."
"That's just it. I am not marrying him." There she said it. Lara watched as her father turned to face her, disbelief in his eyes.
"What did you say?" He advanced toward her, his robes swishing. "Who do you intend to marry, then?"
"Jor-El," Lara answered in a small voice. "We have decided it."
Lor-Van stood in disbelief. "Lara, do you realize that no one has defied the established order of the genesis chamber since 12,18-"
"Yes, I do. But it is not impossible, is it?"
Her father stood still for a long moment, and then sighed. "No, it is not. Not between two willing parties."
"We are both willing," Lara replied. Her father was not one to bluster and rant, but she knew that behind his mild eyes, disapproval was raging.
"Do you realize what he is?" Lor-Van asked at last.
"He is a good man," Lara stated. "He is different from everyone else."
"It's the truth," huffed Lor-Van. "He is mad."
"He is not mad, father," Lara said, adding, "Or if he is, than I am mad as well."
"The latter is more believable," Lor-Van said, holding his head high. "I must leave, or I will be late to the council. You are to accompany me?"
"Yes. I can be both your assistant and Jor-El's."
Lor-Van shook his head. "Not properly. Do what you wish. But know that Krypton will not continue in it's glory if torn apart by rebels and aberrants."
Lora made not response, but followed her father to the councilroom. She was assistant to him that day, but when she caught Jor-El's eye, he knew that she had told him, and that they were to meet in the huge ceremony hall at sundown to be joined as one.