By Nancy Merckle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: An alternate ending for the episode "Forget Me Not." Clark puts his journalistic skills to work to dig up some dirt on Dr. Deter.
[Note: Standard disclaimers apply. This story was written in about five hours. The idea was born while reading some of the posts on the LOISCLA listserve.]
He couldn't believe his ears. Lois in regaining her memory, had spurned him. Then again, had her memory really returned? She had most of her reporting skills back, she knew they were partners and friends, yet she did not remember that they were more than friends, or was she simply choosing not to remember. The whole situation frustrated Clark.
He glanced briefly at Lois and Dr. Deter talking by the doorway. He recognized the look and mannerisms she was conveying to Deter, having seen them once before directed toward a character named Daniel Scardino. His feelings hurt, his stomach knotted, he stormed out of the neuroscience center.
Ducking into a back alley Clark did a quick change and took off as Superman seeking solace in the clouds. Time passed, and with it much of his anger, but none of the hurt.
Clark went back to the Planet to put the final touches on his page one story. A research scientist had used his position to train assassins for hire. One thing kept nagging at his subconscious. Dr. Maxwell Deter had acted so surprised at the revelation of his colleague's involvement in the murders. His declaration of innocence seemed just a bit too quick. Clark wondered if his recollection of the incident was the truth, or distorted by his feelings of hurt.
"Jimmy!" Clark called out. "Run a check on Dr. Maxwell Deter. I want to know how long he has been at the Metropolis Neuroscience Center, and how long he has known Dr. Mendenhall. Also, see if you can dig up any dirt on him."
Jimmy was all set to do the requested research until Clark threw in the last item. "Um, CK, why the dirt?"
"He's been giving me a hard time about seeing Lois and I want some leverage. I've been having second thoughts about his method of treatment."
"But he's supposed to be the best!" Jimmy stated emphatically.
"Yes, and he chastised me for talking about work with her, complained about Superman stopping by to check on her and forbade me from mentioning anything about my feelings for her. He even went so far as to call me here," Clark pointed at the phone on his desk, "and admonish me for sending flowers with an attached Thinking of You' note. She told Superman that she wanted information on the story I was working on, hoping it would get her memory flowing. Dr. Deter told Superman that he was not on the approved visitor list and asked him to leave!" Clark sat back in his chair with a heavy frustrated sigh. "So, after all this time what does she remember. That we are partners, and she is in love with him."
"Whoa, CK! She's in love with Deter?"
"That's what she told me earlier this afternoon. The things she discussed with Superman and with me, brought memories back. The topics we weren't allowed to discuss, she still doesn't remember. Doesn't that seem strange to you?"
"Yes it does, CK, I'll get right on it." Jimmy scurried away from Clark's desk.
Clark returned to the task at hand of finishing the article, but his heart was no longer in the story. He had to win Lois back, without harming her chances for a complete recovery.
Perry stood at the door to his office. He hadn't heard all of the conversation, but he had heard enough. He had to come up with an idea. "Jimmy!" Perry called to the cub reporter. "I want a copy of everything you find on Deter on my desk as well."
"Will do, chief."
The next morning Clark stopped by to visit Lois before going in to work. "Lois." Clark called as he knocked gently on her door.
When Lois opened the door, she found a disheveled and unusually unkempt Clark Kent. "What's the matter, Clark, you look horrible?"
"My girlfriend dumped me," Clark sighed. "I've been walking the streets trying to clear my thoughts."
Lois took her partner into her arms for a hug, trying to share his pain. "That's terrible, Clark. You said we were close. Do you think if I talked with her it might help?"
"She's not on your approved visitor list, Lois." Clark lied. "Besides, I don't think it would help."
Lois backed out of the embrace and looked into the soft eyes of her partner. "Was it because of me?" She whispered the question hoping that his being there for her had not been the reason for the breakup.
"No, Lois. She found someone else. I don't know what she sees in a guy who loves to wear Hawaiian shirts though," Clark quipped.
It brought a smile to Lois's face. "Hawaiian shirts? She must be really strange."
"We were so right for each other, Lois. I don't know how I'm going to get through this, but our friendship means a lot to me as well. At least we can spend more time together."
"Not if I have any say in the mater, Kent." Deter stated from the open doorway. "I thought I told you, you were no longer to visit Lois."
"Max, it's OK," Lois told him softly. "He just came to tell me some bad personal news. We are friends and partners. Friends have to be there for each other. Clark has been here for me through this memory loss, and now he needs me."
"It's OK, Deter, I'm leaving," Clark stated as he headed out the door, past the doctor.
"Max, he's hurting, give him some slack."
Max sighed, "And you are late for our session."
Clark arrived at the Daily Planet feeling a bit better having planted a memory seed with Lois. He felt bad about having to tell her a lie or two, but he didn't want to shock her system and lose all hope of her memory returning. He was in the middle of looking over the information Jimmy had discovered on Deter, when Perry called him into his office.
"Clark, how's Lois this morning." Ever the father figure, Perry had to check on the well being of his 'kids'.
"I think she's doing better, Chief, but she still doesn't remember "us'."
"I'm sure she will, Clark, I'm sure she will." Perry reached over to his desk for a piece of paper. "This may not be the best time, but this was in the morning mail." Perry handed the certificate to Clark.
"Our marriage certificate. We were so close Perry, so close. And now with her memory gone, and her feelings for Deter ...," Clark collapsed onto the sofa in Perry's office still staring at the certificate.
"I know, son, you two are meant to be together. I'm sure things will work out and she will come back to you."
"If I were smart, I'd take her out of that place."
"But if you do, and she really thinks she's in love with Deter, then she would resent you for it."
"And I thought I had been through it all. Next time I say something stupid like that, Chief, remind me of this."
"How could you have known, Clark?" Perry asked rhetorically. "Besides, Jimmy may have found some information for a follow up story. Why not let work help you forget for a little while."
"I don't think it can. But it is a nice thought," Clark told him as he got up and headed out the door and back to his desk.
Once again he was flipping through the papers on his desk, when something caught his eye. He picked up the phone and dialed a number. "Martha Steinmetz, please," he told the receptionist who answered his call. "Ms. Steinmetz, my name is Clark Kent. I'm investigating Dr. Maxwell Deter on behalf of my fiancee. She's been having memory problems, and I've heard he's the best. I understand you heard something different." Clark listened as Ms. Steinmetz told him of her son's untimely death.
"He couldn't take the restrictions, and when Lisa dumped him for Dr. Deter, he committed suicide."
"Do you know where Lisa is now?" Clark asked.
"She's dead, Mr. Kent, she had a stroke."
"I'm sorry to hear that, Ms. Steinmetz. I appreciate your help. Thank you very much for your time." Clark hung up the phone and dialed McClosky at the police department.
Walking into the neuroscience center, Clark felt confident.
Dr. Deter met him at the reception desk. "What are you doing here, Kent? If you value Lois' recovery, you will leave now."
"I'm here to see you, not Lois. Could we talk in your office?"
Deter was thrown off guard. "Yes, of course." The two made their way to the office, and each took a seat on opposite sides of a big oak desk. "What is this all about?"
"These restrictions you have imposed on my visitation are no longer satisfactory. I must be allowed to see my wife."
"Your wife? I thought she was your fiancee."
"My mother doesn't know that we eloped." Producing the marriage certificate Lois had signed before being abducted by Lex Luthor, Clark reinforced his lie. "It says here that we are married, signed by Perry White, ordained minister. As her husband, I have the right to visit, and the right to talk to her as I please."
"Yes, you do. But if you reveal this to her it will complicate her recovery," Dr. Deter stressed.
"It may," Clark paused knowing that Deter was an expert in the field of memory loss, "and that is why I didn't mention it before. Things have changed, and I feel that I must protect my interest here. She told me something yesterday that I need for you to correct."
"And what was that?"
"She told me she had feelings for you. Obviously, you must discourage these feelings."
"And if I can't?"
"Then you must reject her affections, and recommend another specialist to her."
"And if I don't?"
"Then I will be forced to bring charges of malpractice against you."
"Is that a threat, Mr. Kent?"
"No, Dr. Deter, it is a promise, one I intend to keep. I don't have all of the details yet, but I have discovered an irregularity in the case of Lisa Haliford. Somehow you were able to keep George Steinmetz, and his mother from filing charges."
Dr. Deter sat back in the large chair behind his desk. I will talk with your wife, and convince her that she should see another doctor.
"Thank you, Dr. Deter. May I see my wife now?"
At Deter's nod, Clark almost bounded out of the office to see Lois, knowing things could only get better.