By Pam Jernigan (ChiefPam@nc.rr.com)
Summary: Not taking "no" for an answer, Dan Scardino comes to the Daily Planet to make another bid for Lois. But Lois decides to discourage him with an object lesson involving Clark.
Continuity: I suppose, strictly speaking, this would have to happen sometime during "WE HAVE A LOT TO TALK ABOUT", but it hasn't much of a plot, so I don't think it'll matter.
Scardino hummed a cheery tune as he entered the Daily Planet lobby and pushed a button to summon the elevator. It had been over a week since Lois had told him that she didn't want to see him anymore. He'd believed her at first, too, but a little reflection had convinced him that she just needed some persuasion. She'd been angry over that undercover operation, but by now he figured she'd be over that, and missing him. After all, she had changed her mind about not dating him once before, and Daniel Scardino did not give up easily.
He also refused to believe that she could have anything going with Kent, no matter what she said. A woman like Lois needed more of a man of action.
In the newsroom, an argument was building.
"Clark, why don't you want to check out this Harris character?" Lois was exasperated enough to overcome the polite facade she'd been maintaining. Ever since she'd refused his proposal, claiming a need to think about things, things had been cool between them; maybe this discussion would heat them back up to normal. She hoped so. She did love him, they just had a few issues to work out before she could agree to marry him.
"Because he doesn't know anything, Lois," Clark explained with his best are-you-being-difficult-just-to-annoy- me expression. "He was nowhere near the crime scene; he's just trying to get attention."
Lois threw up her hands, getting into the swing of the game. Heads around the newsroom were starting to turn. She didn't care; she was too glad to be getting back on familiar ground with Clark. Anything was better than pretending they barely knew one another. They couldn't work things out if they were barely on speaking terms. If he were relaxed enough to argue with her, though, she'd take that as a good sign.
"How do you know that unless we talk to him, Clark?" she countered in a come-on,-work-with-me-here tone of voice, with a pained expression to match. Belatedly, she realized that he might, indeed, know what he was talking about if he'd been there as Superman…
Clark saw doubt flicker on her face and barely suppressed a grin. It did feel good to relax this much around her, to get things back to normal.
She sensed the grin he was hiding and unsuccessfully attempted a glare.
He looked away hastily, before the grin could erupt into a chuckle. And saw "Please, call me Daniel" Scardino standing near the elevator, watching Lois with a self-absorbed smile.
Clark closed his eyes and counted to ten. He did *not* want to deal with his former rival, not while things were still unsettled between him and Lois.
He turned back to her. "All right, if you want to, we'll go talk to Harris." Anything to get her out of the building and away from Inspector Gadget.
Lois looked at him suspiciously. She'd glimpsed Dan earlier, and had been trying to think of a way to avoid him gracefully. Apparently Clark had the same goal in mind - but why? He wasn't still worried about competition, was he?
Clark shrugged a response to her inquiring look. "It'll get us out into the sunshine."
"Oh. Well, okay then. Let me get some things together here, and I'll be ready to go." She sat down at her desk and started throwing open drawers.
Scardino started walking down the ramp. Clark bristled, and headed to intercept him. "I'll meet you at the elevator, okay?"
Lois turned in time to see him walking away. "Even when I know why he does that it's annoying," she muttered under her breath.
Clark met Scardino at the bottom of the ramp. As inconspicuously as he could, Clark grabbed the other man's arm just above the elbow and forced him to turn around, heading them both up the ramp. Scardino, surprised at this atypical behavior, acquiesced. "Hello there, Kent. So, you've managed to get Lois upset already." He shook his head in false sympathy. "I'd be careful if I were you, she's wicked with a plunger."
Clark didn't understand the plumbing reference, but he didn't let it slow him down. "You're the one that needs to be careful, Scardino; especially around stairs, wasn't it?"
He stabbed at the elevator call button, not releasing his grip on the DEA agent's arm.
"Wait a minute here, Kent, I have a right to talk to Lois."
"She doesn't want to see you." I hope, Clark added mentally.
"So let her tell me that." Scardino smiled, full of confidence.
Lois took advantage of their distraction to watch the encounter between Clark and Dan. Why was Dan here, anyway? Hadn't she been clear enough last week? On the other hand, when had he ever listened to her? He seemed to plow ahead with his agenda regardless of her wishes. She'd initially seen that as flattering, but recognized it now as arrogance, or selfishness at best. Not very appealing, especially compared to Clark's sweet insecurity. My, but Clark didn't seem too insecure now, did he… still, she decided to go back him up.
They were too engrossed in locking horns to notice her walking up the ramp. As she reached the top of the ramp, the elevator pinged softly, and the doors opened.
Kent hustled Scardino into the elevator. Scardino, surprised by the strength of the grip on his arm, didn't resist. They stood on opposite sides of the elevator car, glaring at one another. Scardino told himself that a mere reporter couldn't keep him away forever, and the mere fact that he would try seemed to indicate that things were not all wine and roses between him and his partner. He was confident that he'd have his chance later.
Lois had to hurry to make it into the elevator. From her angle of approach, she could only see Clark, and a plan of action sprang full-blown to mind - a way to reassure Clark and give Dan a little object lesson. She ducked in between the closing doors, flashing Clark a wicked grin. Without giving either of the men a chance to say anything, she launched herself at Clark, pinning him to the elevator wall, and raised her face to initiate a very long, thorough kiss. She ran her hands over his hair and shoulders, and after a moment, felt his arms encircle her tightly. She gloried in the feel of his soft lips, his warmly solid chest, his thighs against hers, and completely forgot their audience.
Scardino, ignored, watched in amazement. Five minutes ago they were arguing, and now this? His plans to get her back died a quick and painful death. He still didn't understand what she saw in Kent, but there was obviously something going on. Seeing *was* believing.
The elevator reached the ground floor, and opened its doors with a muted ping. Lois pulled away from Clark and took a moment to reoxygenate. Turning to leave the elevator, she saw Dan, and managed to act surprised. "Dan! I didn't even know you were there!"
Clark, grinning like a cat with canary on its breath, knew her well enough to know she was lying, but Scardino didn't have that advantage. They exited the elevator, and Clark reached for Lois's hand.
Dan was trying furiously to come up with a good excuse for being there. "Oh, well, I was just visiting…" inspiration struck "to say goodbye. I'm going to head back down to Washington soon." His section chief would be interested to hear that, but he knew it could be arranged.
Lois tried for a neutral expression. "Well, good luck, then." She stopped walking, and tugged slightly on Clark's hand to stop his progress across the lobby.
"Thank you. Uh, good luck to you, too." Dan would have liked to kiss her goodbye, but one glance at Kent convinced him not to try. He turned and walked out, completely routed.
After he was safely out on the street, Lois peeked up at Clark. When he met her gaze they both began laughing. "I think we took care of him, partner," she said, pleased. "So, tell me - did you really want to go talk to Harris?"
Clark studied her face, and smiled. "Not really."
"So then we should go back upstairs," she prompted, eyes twinkling.
His smile broadened. "You want to take the stairs?"
"No. I think I like the elevator."
As the elevator doors closed, the security guard saw the Daily Planet's two top reporters converge once more.
(Inspired by a dream after the rerun of Resurrection; Scardino got off *way* too easily in WWW)