By J.G. Dutcher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: A story that takes place the night before the events of the episode "And the Answer Is." It was written to answer the author's question of why Clark picked that morning, before breakfast, to try to tell Lois he's Superman.
Okay, so this is very late! I found this group a few months ago and had to read everything to make sure no one had done a similar story. Thanks to Beth, Paul, Elizabeth and Ann for their help.
This piece of fluff takes place the night before "And the Answer Is." It answers my question as to why Clark tried to tell Lois his secret before breakfast. Also please read here standard disclaimers. I promise to return the characters unharmed.
Not even a leaf stirred as Superman landed lightly on the back patio of the apartment Clark Kent rented in Metropolis. He allowed himself a small smile as he noted this fact. He had been practicing take-offs and landings that didn't disturb the surroundings. The next time he flew through the news room at the Daily Planet, he hoped to do it without blowing papers from all the desks. Flying was not the only advantage to being Superman, but right now he was having trouble remembering what those advantages were.
Clark Kent, investigative reporter for the Daily Planet, walked into his bedroom to change from his "suit" into a well-worn pair of jeans and an old comfortable sweat shirt. In his "suit" the world knew him as Superman, alien from the planet Krypton who, due to our yellow sun, had super powers which allowed him to help in ways most humans could only dream about.
Heating some leftovers with his heat vision, he threw himself on the couch and thought back on the evening. Okay, he thought, so being able to eat anything any time and not get fat is also an advantage. Depressed and worried about his relationship with his partner and best friend, Lois Lane, he knew he had to decide what to do soon or he was going to lose her forever.
He had taken Lois to a little Greek restaurant just around the corner from her apartment. The food had been great. Lois, relaxed and happy, had babbled away most of the evening. Clark had been content to just listen and enjoy her company. She had looked so good in the forest-green blouse and a pleated black skirt. It had been a long time since he had had an uninterrupted evening. It was only his deep love for Lois that made the effort to have a normal life worth the frustration. His special abilities were needed in Metropolis and in the world, and could easily keep him busy full- time. As it was, these abilities were causing problems not only in his jobs as a reporter for the Daily Planet, but in his relationship with Lois Lane, his partner, best friend, and, dare he hope, someday his wife.
They had made it all the way through dinner and were walking to her apartment when the problem occurred.
"This must be some kind of record," Lois had teased as she linked her arm through his. "Not once have you looked as if you wanted to run off." She moved her arm from his and put it around his waist. He had responded by putting his arm around her shoulder and pulling her close. It had felt so good; this new step in their relationship…except for this one little secret he had. He feared Lois' reaction when she found out the truth.
Lois leaned her head against his shoulder as they walked slowly. "Perhaps this is a good time to talk about our…relationship." She paused as she searched for the words. "That is if you want us to have one…I mean…we have a great working relationship. We're a good team-no, make that great team. But…"
"Lois, you know…" Why did his super-hearing have to pick just then to activate. He heard the scream followed by gunfire. He cocked his head as he tried to determine the direction of the sound.
Lois had stopped talking when she saw "that look" on Clark's face again. "Clark, are you about to run out on me again. I don't believe it!"
"Lois, I'll only be a minute, I have to…" He tried to think of an excuse that wouldn't anger Lois.
"Don't even try to make an excuse. Just go!" She looked as if she couldn't decide rather to cry or scream in frustration.
"Lois, I'll be right back. Honest." Before he could give into the temptation to just pick her up and let her discover his secret by his actions, he turned and started running down the street.
"Don't bother! I'm going to go see Lucy-she enjoys my company!" Lois shouted after him. She turned and continued walking. "I'm not sure YOU enjoy my company," she whispered, but not so softly his super-hearing couldn't pick it up.
Later when he flew past her apartment, it was dark and her special window, reserved for Superman, was closed. Lois had locked the window right after she had informed Superman she was interested in someone else and only wanted to be friends with him.
At first Clark had thought she meant Dan Scardino, but later Lois had made it clear she meant Clark Kent…not Dan…not Superman but she wanted him, Clark Kent. He had been so surprised…and happy…and worried.
The question wasn't if he should tell her, but when and how.
"All right, Clark, think," he addressed the plate in his hand. "If you were the top investigative reporter for the Daily Planet, how would you want your best friend to you tell his biggest secret? One which just might make you angry," he paused. "What! No answer? Well, I don't look at me. I don't know either." His brow wrinkled as he thought of the different possible scenarios…flowers and chocolate followed by a spin and change. No, too much like a bribe. A letter? No, too cowardly. So how does one do this diplomatically? "Lois, you've no doubt noticed I frequently have to leave suddenly. Well, it's because I'm Superman." Right! Like she'd even let me finish the sentence. Of course she's noticed I leave frequently. She's complained about it often enough.
Clark tried a couple more possibilities in his mind. With each choice he also realized the potential problem. There had to be a way to tell her that would make her realize he hadn't kept it a secret from her because of a lack of trust but because he had been trying to protect her…and his parents.
As he frequently did when he needed a second opinion, he reached for the phone and called his parents. After general conversation, Clark got down to his real problem. "Mom, if you were Lois, how would you want to be told your best friend was Superman?"
"Clark, I can't answer that. I'm not Lois. Besides, you know her better than I do." Martha was sympathetic but not very helpful.
"I doubt she would talk to me tonight. She's not even talking to Superman. These days her window is locked. Bad news for Superman, but good news for me."
"Clark, the only way I could know what Lois would prefer would be for her to tell me."
Clark felt as if someone had turned on the light. "Mom, you're a genius!" Why hadn't he thought of that. Ask Lois what she would prefer…not as Clark of course.
Martha could hear the hope in his voice. "Well, it's about time you recognized it. Now, explain to me what I said."
After Clark explained his new plan, Martha had to agree it was either a stroke of genius or one of the worst he had thought up this far. Too bad there was no way to know which it was before putting the plan into effect.
Lois slammed the door to her apartment and threw her purse in the general direction of the couch. Clark had run out on her…again…and Lucy wasn't home. She feared asking "What next?" She jumped as she heard a soft tap at her window. Lois only knew one person who could tap on her fifth floor apartment window, Superman.
Superman hadn't stopped by her window since the time when Lois had told him she only wanted to be friends since she was hoping for a permanent relationship with someone else.
Lois wondered why he was there now. She thought about ignoring the knock but she knew he would know she was there. He wouldn't use his x-ray vision to invade her privacy but he could probably hear her breathing. Reluctantly she walked to the window, pulled back the curtains, and opened the window.
He looked unsure of his welcome. Surprised to see this side of a man who always seemed so strong, confident, and in control, Lois decided she liked knowing Superman could also feel insecure. It made him more approachable. Still his troubled look drove her own problems from her mind. She stepped back and motioned for him to come in. He slowly floated through her window and hovered next to her coffee table.
"Thank you for letting me in, Ms. Lane." He even sounded unsure.
"Ms. Lane? I though we were still friends, Superman." Lois watched as he crossed his arms on his chest. She hoped she hadn't lost his friendship. He was acting so formal and…cold.
"I wasn't sure if I would be welcome." He couldn't help noticing she looked as if she had been crying and wondered if this was such a good idea after all. Perhaps he should just leave before the urge to comfort became overwhelming.
"Oh, Superman, I meant it when I said we'd always be friends. Just because I thought…ah…think I want a permanent relationship with someone else doesn't mean I don't want, need and value your friendship." Lois stopped. She couldn't explain her ambivalent feelings to herself much less to someone else. She had been in love with Superman, still had feelings for him, but had finally realized her feelings for Clark were much stronger and more permanent…at least for her, although it appeared Clark didn't feel the same about her. She shelved her problem as she tried to concentrate on Superman.
Superman looked away as he said, "I'm glad we're still friends. I have a problem which I'd like to discuss with you. I talked to Clark about it and he suggested I needed a woman's viewpoint and he thought you might be willing to help me." Not a lie, thought Clark, I've talked to myself about this problem till I want to scream. Now how do I get Lois to understand without making her angry?
Lois was amazed and hurt. Clark had recommended Superman ask her for help? Clark really was the most annoying man. He refused to talk to her about their problems but was willing to endorse her to Superman, his friend and one time rival for her affections.
"I'd be glad to do anything I can to help you, but you realize my viewpoint isn't exactly the average woman's viewpoint. I mean I assume since you want a woman's viewpoint your problem deals with a woman. I mean…" Lois saw amusement in Superman's eyes and realized she was starting to babble. Taking a deep breath, she continued, "I'd be glad to help you if I can. What is your problem?"
They both jumped as the phone rang and then Lois smiled sheepishly. "It is a jinx. Murphy must have written a new rule which says I'm not allowed to have serious conversations without at least one interruption. Ignore it. The answering machine will take a message."
"But what if it is Clark?" Superman asked, knowing it couldn't be.
"Clark? Why would he call me this time of night?" Lois got a suspicious look on her face as she sat on her couch. "Has Clark said something to you about us?" If he has she thought, I'll strangle him. Talk about us to his friend but not with me. Darn the man…and why do I keep thinking about him?
"Lois, Clark isn't the kiss-and-tell kind of a guy. I heard Dan Scardino was gone and assumed Clark must be the man you were referring to." Superman moved back towards the window. Then he turned towards Lois. "Will you still go flying with me? I think I can find a place where we won't be interrupted."
Lois nodded her consent and stood as he gently picked her up. She wrapped her arms around his neck as they floated out the window. If Clark could only learn to fly, he'd really be the perfect man…if he could also learn to stop running off.
It took Clark a minute to figure out what was different about this flight with Lois. Other times when they had flown she had snuggled close and laid her head on his shoulder. A couple of times she had run her fingers through his hair and in other ways tried to get his attention. This time is was more as if she was just a passenger. She held on lightly but otherwise watched the scenery and enjoyed the sensation of flight. He hoped it meant she was really over her Superman infatuation.
They landed softly on the top to the Metropolis Towers, one of tallest building in Metropolis and one of the few which Lex Luther had never owned. Lowering Lois to the roof, he stepped back.
Lois turned and looked at her favorite city. "It looks different from up here, cleaner, safer, more beautiful."
"Yes, this is one of my favorite views. I like to come up here when I'm troubled. It helps me keep my perspective."
Superman troubled? This was a night for revelations. Lois had never thought about Superman being troubled or unsure. Why wouldn't he have problems just like anyone else? Super strength didn't give one immunity from life's problems.
Using his super breath, he cleaned off a seat for Lois on a cement support block. Even if he wasn't bothered by the cool night air, he could tell Lois was feeling the cold. So he used his heat vision to heat the block.
Lois sat on the warm block of cement "Thanks, it feels great. I should have grabbed a sweater."
Superman looked over the edge of the building and sighed. "I guess I was wrong about the interruptions."
"Why? Do you see something?"
"Lois, I promise I'll be right back." With that he leaped off the roof and dropped from her sight.
Lois hurried to the edge of the building and watched as Superman streaked down towards the street at the base of the Tower. A stray thought crossed her mind. Why did it irritate her so much when Clark ran off but with Superman she wasn't bothered at all. Perhaps it was because she knew Superman had a valid reason while Clark had the lamest excuses…Cheese of the Month Club. Really, what kind of fool did he think she was?
Superman landed next to a running car next to a small jewelry store. A quick look inside the large plate glass window revealed two pros working on the safe. Superman turned his heat vision on the front tire of the car. His vision burnt a small hole through which the air escaped. This car would not be used for a quick get- away. He waited patiently for the burglars to exit or the police to arrive. The thieves, with their bag of loot, exited before the police arrived. They leaped into their car not noticing the tire was flat. Sighing deeply, Superman reached out and grabbed the rear bumper. When the thieves realized they weren't going anywhere in the car, they jumped from the car and hit the ground running. This action wasn't any more effective in getting away from the fastest man on this planet. By the time the police arrived, Superman had the men settled in the car waiting quietly. It took another couple of minutes to give the pertinent information to the police who read the burglars their rights as they handcuffed them.
Lois had been able to see the action…just barely. She stepped back as Superman returned. "What happened?"
Superman gave her the information. "Do you want me to take you to a phone so you can call the story in?"
"No, the Planet has a reporter at the police station who will cover the story. Your problem is more important than a small robbery." It would have been difficult to tell who was the most surprised. Clark or Lois? Lois Lane, top investigative report, passing up a story. Miracles never cease.
Settling comfortably on the still warm block, she patted the seat next to her. "Now tell me about your problem."
He didn't take the seat. "Lois, I've done something…" Superman stopped, struggling for the right words. Lois smiled her encouragement. "That could hurt someone I care about very much…not physically, but…well…it could hurt her feelings and make her angry. It might make her think I don't trust her."
Superman has a girl friend? Why not, he was an attractive man. A little part of her wondered what this woman had that she didn't. She had tried everything in her power to attract Superman but all he had seemed to want was her friendship. Another part of her was glad he had someone to care about him. So often Lois had thought he was one of the loneliest men in the world and she was glad he had someone to care for him.
"She must be a special person to attract you." Lois could be gracious, a surprise to the many people who had felt the rough side of her nature.
"Yes, she is a special person. She can be stubborn, tenacious, impetuous, and…she is absolutely the most wonderful woman I've ever met." Superman looked at the stars, afraid to see how Lois was taking this statement. He knew he was talking about her but she didn't. Soon, hopefully, she would understand just how marvelous he considered Lois Lane, the one woman with whom he had ever wanted to share his whole life.
Lois wondered how he could make those traits sound like compliments. She knew she had these traits but most people considered them faults. "I'd like to meet her, Superman."
The thought amused Clark. Lois, Clark's friend, meeting Lois, Superman's friend.
"Anyway, I thought of bringing her flowers or some of her favorite foods before telling her…but, well, I was afraid she would think I was trying to buy her affection and forgiveness. What would you think if it were you?"
"What did you do? If I knew it would help me advise you." Superman, one of the most honest men in the world, had deceived someone! He must have had a good reason. Lois remembered how she had felt when she realized Superman had not told her the entire truth about how his powers had been transferred to William Wallace Waldecker. She had been angry but mostly disappointed to discover he was capable of deceit, even with good reason.
"I'd rather not say. What I need to know is how to tell her. I've also considered a nighttime flight to get her in a good mood. She likes flying. But I was afraid she might think I was trying to manipulate her. Everything I've thought of has a potential downside to it." Clark sat facing Lois, his elbows resting on his knees. He watched her reactions intently. "Should I wait until she finds out for herself?" Clark didn't know if he had the patience for that.
Lois considered this, "No, I think you had just better 'fess up. I think you should just be blunt and the sooner the better. Tell her what you did and why. If she really cares about you, she'll forgive you." Lois found it hard to even conceive of any woman not wanting Superman in her life. Next to Clark he was the best friend she had ever had.
"Would you if it were Clark?" He had to know. He wanted this woman in his life. He needed her understanding and forgiveness before his dream could come true.
Would I? Lois thought seriously. "Well, perhaps not right away. But yes, I hope I would. There have been times when I've hurt him. In a good relationship there is always the need for understanding and forgiveness from both parties. Communication is very important. Talk to her." Lois was surprised to realize she meant it. Clark might make her mad by running off at all the wrong times; but she knew he had been hurt when he had had to listen to her rave about his friend, Superman, while she ignored him. He had as much to forgive as she did. Besides no one, not even the Man of Steel, had ever been her best friend AND partner before. She needed to think more about this.
Lois continued, "I prefer to get my bad news first thing in the morning. If she's like me perhaps she'd prefer to hear in the morning also."
"First thing in the morning. That's a surprise. You're not exactly a morning person. I'd have thought you'd prefer later in the day."
Lois smiled. He was right, it took several cups of coffee in the morning to get her going. Clark usually met her in the office with a cup of coffee each morning. It was one of his more endearing habits. "Well, bad news hurts less when I'm not fully conscious. It also gives me an entire day to try to work out a solution…if there is one. If not, at least I can make a plan of attack. Yes, I definitely prefer my bad news early in the morning."
Clark considered what Lois had told him…early in the morning… but not at the office where other people could overhear her reaction…perhaps at breakfast.
Lois yawned and tried to cover it before he noticed. "Perhaps you should return me to my apartment before there are any more interruptions…" Lois stretched as she stood.
"Yes, I think it would be a good idea." Superman picked her up and floated away from the roof. "I want to thank you for your help."
"I hope it all works out for you." She paused before she continued. "Will you let me know what happens?"
Clark could tell Lois was sincere. "I promise you'll be the first to know if she forgives me." I hope I'm not shooting myself in the foot with statements like that.
After dropping Lois off at her apartment, Clark blasted home and didn't worry whether or not he bothered the leaves on his patio. He grabbed the phone and pushed his speed dial button.
Lois answered it on the second ring.
"Lois. This is Clark, will you have breakfast with me in the morning? I want to talk to you."
THE END…or continued in ATAI.
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