Intended for Each Other

Chapter 8

Lara began to be ill in the mornings not long after. Jor-El saw this as alarming, but as both he and Lara studied, they found it to a common symptom of natural births in bygone ages. So whenever she was unwell, Jor-El would sit by Lara's side, holding her thick dark hair out of her face as she vomited, and gathered her into his arms like a tired child when it was over, carrying her to their bed and tending to her needs until the feelings passed.

Through several star cycles this continued in the utmost of secrecy, and at last subsided; Lara grew stronger, and her husband was able to spend more time on his research once again. He was drafting plans of which he would tell no one, not even Lara.

Jor-El came into a bit of his deserved praise when the council recognized his discovery of the Phantom Zone. Lara watched proudly as his information was presented to the council and verified. An expedition at once was assigned to test its limits. At first Lara was concerned about the effects the zone would have on a living organism, but the suits which each expeditionary were to wear were designed to withstand much stronger forces. Lara would hold her husband's place in the council until his return.

The morning of Jor-El's departure dawned brilliantly, Krypton's red sun streaming in through the ceiling portal and illumining the room in which he bade Lara a swift goodbye.

"It will not be for long," he reminded her, and she nodded. She was a strong woman, and not one to weep a trifles, but there was a small line upon her forehead, and he pressed his lips to it, murmuring, "Don't upset the council too much. Remember, you are to leave that to me."

Lara smiled and kissed him, before stepping back and giving him a nod. "There you are, then. Tell me everything when you return."

Jor-El nodded. "Take care of yourself." He met her eyes. "I mean it."

"I will. Don't worry."

"Farewell, then, Lara."

She nodded silently, and Jor-El turned, striding out toward the waiting capsule, his cape billowing in the rising wind. Lara dressed herself quickly, knowing it was not long until the council would convene, and not wanting to be late on her first day standing in for her husband. She anticipated some awkwardness in being seated opposite her father in the council, as she was well aware he disagreed with most everything she and her husband believed, but it was to be worse than she thought.

Jir-An's smile greeted her as she took her seat and looked up. "Your father is unwell today, and I am standing in for him."

"I thought that your business was now with General Zod," Lara replied coldly, settling her skirts about her.

"You have no faith in me, do you," Jir-An sneered. "I am just grateful I can look at you across from me, and not that fool Jor-El."

"Watch your words," Lara replied quickly, her eyes blazing. "I will tolerate no scorn of him in his absence. If you have objections to bring against him or any of his beliefs, at least have the courage to say them to his face, and not take them out on his wife while he is away."

The council's beginning prevented further conversation. The moment they adjourned for the day, Lara rose and exited the chamber swiftly, her temper being severely tried by the scoldings she received at every turn. It was true – there was really not one other in Krypton who would see the truth in her words. It was becoming urgent, Jor-El said. Drastic actions should be taken, but the council could not be awakened from it's slumbering apathy.

"A tragic situation, is it not." A voice echoed her thoughts and Lara turned to see Jir-An leaning against the side of a control station and watching her.

Lara cocked her head. "I don't know what you mean."

"Jor-El sent to the Phantom Zone."

"My husband is a member of a party exploring his discovery," she replied tartly. "If the council deems it a prison, then let the epithets of shame fall upon those it sends there."

"And did they not send him?" His eyebrows lifted.

"Your insults do you no good, Jir-An. They are hollow and void. As are your arguments in the council; nothing will sway me."

"I did not say I was trying to sway you," Jir-An said slowly, walking aimlessly in her direction. "Merely expressing an opinion. You can be accused of no less."

"I will spare you the complete argument. But it is not an opinion. It is the truth."

"Madness," he whispered.

"Those are mad who do not recognize it's veracity," she countered.

Jir-An gave her a long look, and his face softened. "Why must it come to this? Why must we be enemies now?"

Lara looked away briefly, and murmured, "If we are enemies it is through no fault of mine."

"You knew that I loved you, and you threw my love away –"

"That was not love, Jir-An, that was being a blind victim of an age-old atrocity."

"Atrocity!" Jir-An looked surprised. "Be careful what you say, or you may be branded a traitor."

"By General Zod, perhaps. Not by anyone of consequence," Lara said flippantly. This had the expected effect.

"Zod is a powerful commander, a capable man, a leader with –"

"- With no ability to see beyond his own blind beliefs," Lara finished, stopping short at the look on Jir-An's face.

"Your own words, my lady."

Lara turned on her heel, and began to stride away.

"Why do you flee?" Jir-An called after her.

"So that I would not slap you," Lara called back over her shoulder.

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