By Lou <Lou227@hotmail.com>
Submitted March 1999
Summary: Sometimes answers are right in front of our eyes and we don't see them. For Lois, the clues have always been there, but somehow they didn't fit … until today!
*Author's note* This is my first try writing a short story, I always thought one would be fun to do. I'm a fan of the show "Lois and Clark" and it always bugged me that Lois was so blind, concerning the Clark/Superman identity confusion. I'm not saying that it should have been like this, it's just a little thought I had one day and it gradually turned into a story. It's a lot of fluff, no bad guys or evil plots are found in here. Hope you like it; and any thoughts/suggestions can be sent to Lou227@hotmail.com
As Lois Lane sat at her desk on a cool September morning, a lot of thoughts were running through her head- 'OK- we have a write up on last night's shooting on 3rd street, plus the Superman rescue and interview after that. I have to pick up the dress at the cleaner's for dinner tonight with Clark-'
Clark!! Where was that partner of hers? After muttering something about "paying the cab driver," he had run out almost 2 hours before, leaving her to work out all the details of last night's shooting- *As always*. Didn't that man have one bone of common sense in his body?!? His wonderful body… That wonderfully TONED body…
Oh Lord, this would get her nowhere. It was a busy day and her hunk of a partner was AWOL, and at not even 10 in the morning. "He'd better be back really soon too!" she muttered aloud. "We have that Hospital Charity work with the kids at noon." It was the first year that the Planet had asked people to help out at the function- for kids who were at the hospital who didn't have a lot of parental support there otherwise, and both Lois and Clark were happy to help out.
The children's wing had various people come in from the community to give the kids company, whether it was reading stories, playing games, or just talking with them. It was a therapeutic experience for both adult and child, and Lois was hoping that she'd be a good friend to a child in need.
They would have barely enough time to get across town in the noon traffic right now as it is, and right as Lois was about to page Clark for the 30th time that day, he came dashing around the corner from the supply closet, a delicious smelling bag in tow. 'What entrance comes up there?' Lois wondered, but before she could fully comprehend the thought, he was there at her side.
"Good morning Lois," he said cheerfully. "Hope you like these-"
"Where the hell have you been?" Lois interrupted. "We have to be at the Hospital in 35 minuets, not saying that we can actually get a cab in this urban nightmare, in which case, we have a long walk ahead of us buster-" 'What am I saying? I haven't snapped at Clark like this in a long time!'
Hurt was in his eyes as he broke into her babbling. "Lois, I am truly sorry." A factory had come so close to totally burning down (thanks to faulty wiring), and not to mention that the surrounding apartment buildings would have been gone too, had the Man of Steel not been there. "Have a fresh danish while we walk to the lobby and find a cab. I know I saw a few stray ones coming in. Don't worry," he said, pulling her in for a quick hug.
As usual Lois relaxed in his embrace, and the two started for the elevators. "I'm sorry, Clark," Lois' voice was full of regret. "It's just that I'm just a teensy bit nervous about doing this thing today- You know I'm not good with kids. What if I manage to make this one even sicker?" It had meant to come out as a joke, but after the words had come out of her mouth, it had just sounded cruel. She smiled ruefully, and was glad to see that Clark knew what she had been trying to say.
"I think you'll be a great friend to some poor child, Lois," Clark said. "You really don't have a thing to fear- you've dealt with psychos and killers before. I don't see why ANYTHING would scare you after dealing with that!"
"Yeah, but Superman was always there to get me out of there when it got too tough," Lois replied. "Where will he be today?" Clark remained silent as they hopped into a cab and arrived at the hospital a few minutes before noon.
"That timing was WAY too close Clark; please don't be late tonight though- you'll be sorry if you are!" Lois looked at Clark and saw a dreamy look an his face at the thought of their upcoming dinner. She lightly whacked him on the chest and grinned, knowing that she probably looked that way, too. As they walked up to the elevator, anyone looking at the couple hand in hand would have seen a very happy pair, both grinning and laughing like they had just won the lottery.
After getting off at the 5th floor, they were approached by a tall elderly man in a dark suit. "Lane and Kent, I'm guessing? My name is Dr. Goldman. I'm the leading children's doctor here at Metro Hospital. I recognize you both from the Daily Planet posters that they have up all over town- I'm a big fan of your work, and the kids can't wait to meet the two people closest to Superman! If you'll both come right this way, you can meet who you'll be spending time with today."
Lois and Clark followed the Doctor down the hall and turned into a large room where a few kids and adults were already stationed. Some were reading quietly, others loudly playing video games in a corner of the room. Dr. Burns introduced Clark to a small boy named Michael who was slowly recovering from a long struggle with leukemia. His parents were divorced, and his father was living on the other side of the country. His mother had to work even more than before, trying to support her son and his costly medical bills. He was a quiet boy with bright eyes who told Clark that he loved to read, especially "lots of stuff about Superman." Clark said he would be glad to go and read some books with Michael and said he might even know a "super" story or two to tell him later.
Lois was thinking about what a wonderful father Clark would make someday, when the Doctor wheeled a noisy little girl named Katie to her side. She had fallen from a horse about 6 months ago and was slowly learning how to use her injured legs again. "You really know SUPERMAN?! That is SOOO cool!! I've seen him on TV rescuing people like, all the time!! Are you really his girlfriend? If not, I really think he'd like me, given the chance- a lot of people say I look much older then my 11 and a 1/2 years. What do you think?"
As all of this sunk in, Lois' face broke out into a wide grin. This kid was going to be a fun one to spend some time with. "Well yes, I guess I know him, but I'm *not* his girlfriend." Lois laughed at the girl's unbelieving look. "I'm sorry, but I have seen the guy in action a few times, and he's just as wonderful as the people say."
Clark had been listening with his super-hearing to all this as Michael went to select a book to read. It wasn't a habit of his to eves-drop whenever Lois was talking, but Katie's comments could have almost screamed, "listen to me." He winced at Lois' response and wondered just how long this hero worship of hers would go on.
He knew that she loved Clark- she'd admitted it to him a long time ago, but it was at times like these that he wondered just how much feeling she had for the Boy in Blue. Superman had stopped visiting Lois at night right before he had the courage to first ask her out. It had done some good, but seeing him do rescue after rescue had not done much to lessen her admiring glances. He was going to tell her and *soon*. It was an act that was really wearing thin for him and if their relationship was going to go to the next level it was vital that she know.
Thinking almost the same lines was Lois. She knew that she loved Clark, probably almost from the beginning. Had Superman not been there, she might have admitted her feelings a long time ago. It was so awful, loving two men at once. She felt that she couldn't truly love Clark and give him her whole heart if Superman was in the picture.
Superman was just a dream- she had realized that a long time ago. What future could you have with a man who was so formal almost all of the time she had been around him? He had only been close to letting his guard down once or twice before. Sure they had danced and shared a kiss or two, but it was Lois who had kissed *him* first, not the other way around. What future could you really hope to have with a man who only had one outfit in his closet? It was maddening really. In her mind, Lois knew that Clark was the man for her, but in her *heart*? She was still very unsure.
It was also so unfair to Clark as well. To be with one man but still love another was worse to her than being alone. She really had no clue what to do about anything any more. She felt like her life was spinning out of her control.
Katie's voice brought her back to the present. "I got this 300 piece Superman puzzle- cool huh?"
"Yeah..great." Lois decided to plaster a grin on her face and give the girl her full attention. It wasn't Katie's fault that her insides were being pulled apart from the constant wondering. She would have to be strong, muster up that old Lane strength that she knew and relied on so well.
"Lets get started! Three-hundred pieces. Wow, that's a lot, but I know we can finish it." Lois wheeled the girl over to a table and they quickly set to work. They finished the border fairly quickly and set to work dividing up the remaining pieces. It was the classic "Super Stance," with his hands folded across his chest, looking firmly at the camera.
Katie started gathering pieces that resembled his "S" shield while Lois gathered flesh coloured ones for his face. They chatted happily as they worked, and Lois discovered that Katie was slowly gaining back her strength in her legs and was starting to slowly walk with the help of rails supporting either side of her.
As Lois began to build up from his chin, something was nagging at her. It was such a *familiar* chin. 'Well of course you think you've seen it before, Lane- it is *Superman's* chin.' But that wide square jaw looked so familiar, it was driving her just *nuts* - 'CLARK'S jaw.' That thought made her jump. She was so intent on loving one man that she was combining them into one person! 'Get a grip, Lane.' Lois worked hard to continue building up the Man of Steel's face. Now that nose also got her attention. In the beginning, she had almost wanted to pop Clark a good one, square on the nose- *Superman's nose*. Then his beautiful brown eyes were pieced together. She had gazed into those eyes so often, first looking at Superman, and then at Clark. As the images began to swim in front of her, Lois heard herself give out a loud gasp. 'Clark-is-Superman-and-Superman-is-Clark!' They are the same man!! HOW DUMB WAS SHE?!?
Lois stifled a cry and bolted from the table. She managed to mutter an excuse to Katie as she left and sprinted to the Little Reporter's Room in record time. She locked a stall door and started to bawl like she had never bawled before. The men of her dreams-*MAN* she realized with a start- had lied and deceived her in the worst way that she could think of. Making her think that they were two different people! Talking to her as one man about the other one, then probably having a good laugh about her rapid personality change as the other "man" came into the room.
She then realized that the clues had always been right there, in plain view for her to see. *When* had she seen them together in the two years she had known them? *Never!* Was Clark ever around in an emergency? *No!* He'd make some lame excuse about putting change in the parking meter as the world was about to blow up, and then presto-chango, Superman would arrive on the scene. After that very first flight to the Daily Planet *How did he know where her desk was?!?!!* Who showed up in almost the very same week? *Clark and the Muscle Man in Spandex.*
Slowly her anger built up, not at Clark for lying at her, but at herself for being so blind. He had to protect her, she realized that. Superman was a target for all sorts of crazy villains, and if they found out about his *girlfriend* they would have a field day. She slowly took deep breaths and her crying evened out. She would go out in a minute and claim to be ill. It actually wasn't far from the truth and after glancing at her watch, she realized that the afternoon with the kids was very close to finishing up.
As all this was going on, Clark was pacing up and down in front of the Ladies' room, debating about bursting in. He also wondered if he would live to see another day, or if her pain would slowly kill him. After watching her bolt from the table, he had gone over and seen the partly completed puzzle and picture of himself. 'She had to figure it out sometime' he thought, but wondered what gods had thought it would be a good idea to turn the light bulb over her head on just now. It was in a hospital of all places, where he couldn't explain himself to her well at all.
He was cursing himself for having her find out in this way. Had he just told her himself, then this hurt she was feeling would have been dulled a bit. To have been told The Secret would at least shown that he did trust her. The weight of his secret was huge and if it got out then everyone that he was close to became a giant bulls-eye to all the crazy villains out there. *More* of a bulls-eye, in Lois' case. Her articles were like dares for criminals to try something, with her and Clark around to sniff out their evil plans. To have found out like this, after looking at a *picture*; that was the final insult to show just how much Clark Kent trusted Lois Lane. He was planing on *proposing* to her soon. How could he even think of her accepting after a huge blow like this?
As all this was going through Clark's mind, Lois came out of the bathroom and looked at him for about a half second. Tears filled her eyes, but she managed to push them back. Clark watched as she stopped where Katie was and talked to the girl for a minute. Katie nodded like she understood, and Lois headed for the elevator. Clark didn't want her to go out on the busy streets of Metropolis in her confused condition, so he ran to Michael who was busy reading a book with another boy and his new friend. Clark told him that he was very sorry, but his friend Lois wasn't feeling well and he was going to help her. Clark said that he would come and tell him a Superman story later when he came back, and the boy grinned at the idea. He barely noticed Clark dash off and continued to read his book by Roald Dahl.
He dashed into a empty room and emerged as Superman a moment later. As he shot into the sky, he quickly scanned and spotted her, walking at a fast clip, not really seeing where she was. Clark could hear her rapid heartbeat and could see without using his super-vision that she was failing in trying not to cry. He kept a close eye on her until she gathered her thoughts together and hailed a cab. Much to his surprise, the cab went in the direction of *Clark's* apartment. She got out about a block from his place and hastily threw some crumpled bills in the driver's direction. Lois walked quickly to his door and proceeded to break into the place, much to Clark's amusement. 'Jimmy taught her how to pick those locks really well,' he thought, as she went inside and fell into a crumpled ball on Clark's sofa.
'Now what?!' He asked himself. 'Do I give her time to calm down a bit, or go and try to explain *my* side of the story?' Clark used the logic that because she was in *his* apartment on *his* couch it was a cue for him to go in and talk.
Lois heard the all to familiar "woosh" sound and mentally kicked herself again. 'You heard that noise *how* many times at the Daily Planet? You'd think I had it in my head that a low flying jet had somehow made it's way into the newsroom.' Lois resisted the urge to burst into tears yet again, when she heard a soft knocking at Clark's living-room window. It was Him naturally. There hadn't been any other reports of flying man in blue spandex lately, so it wasn't much of a shock. As Lois went to open the window, she found herself unable to meet his gaze. What a fool she had been, making cow eyes at Superman, and ignoring his alter-ego.
As Superman lowered himself on to the ground, Lois just stared at his boots in embarrassment. "I guess we have a few things to talk about," Lois whispered. Even with his super-hearing, her words had been hard to make out. "I think you're right." His reply was equally quiet, and Lois just about fainted at the sound of his low voice, full of unspoken emotions.
"Lois, I am *so* sorry. For you to have to find out like this was the worst way I could have imagined."
She let the words sink in a bit before replying. "That's right you should be sorry! Do you know how much it's hurt, trying to choose between two wonderful men? One is a really sexy mystery, and the other is my wonderful best friend. It's been *hell* Clark, *total* hell. I had stayed up so many nights, wanting Superman to fly into my apartment and profess his love for me. But then as we became closer, I realized that I stopped looking *up* in the sky, but *down* to the street where you'd be walking by."
Clark let this digest into his brain and felt another wave of guilt wash over him. After their first date, he had tried to keep his appearances in the Suit few. Sure, he had seen her at various rescues and saved her on an almost weekly basis, but their time alone had been almost zip. By distancing his Super self from her, his Clark half had gotten even closer. Things had been going so well, and then *Wham*, this came along, complicating matters even more.
He took his time answering her. "Lois….I know that I have never been totally honest with you about all aspects of my life. But you do know that I love you with every fiber of my being, and when you are hurting, it hurts me, too. If word of this gets out we are all in serious danger."
"Don't you think I know that Clark?" Her voice was full of hurt. "I thought of that long before this little revelation of mine came about. And another thing- I know you love me, as much as I love you. It's not Superman that I love, but *Clark*. He is the man that I truly fell in love with, not even knowing it at first. You came into my life and improved it by 100%. I didn't even know what love was until I met *you*, Farmboy. Superman was just a dream of mine, and you know as well as I do that after all dreams, you wake up." She stopped ranting a moment and then continued on.
"As for another thing, just how long were you going to keep this little act going? It's one thing to fool some nosey reporter that was hot on a story for six months, but then to go and fall in love with her? At first I would have loved to go and print this juicy piece of news, but now after I've found out, the thought hasn't even crossed my mind."
"Lois, I know that you would never tell anyone about this *now* and am so glad that you found out about it today. If you hadn't found out, then I was going to tell you very soon, right after I had prop…" He stopped suddenly, afraid to go on. Her eyes quickly filled with tears, and he brushed one off her face with his thumb as it rolled down her cheek.
"Did you almost say what I think you said?" Lois's voice cracked with emotion. "Yeah…I did." Clark slowly pulled a ring from a hidden pocket of the suit and Lois felt her eyes grow wide. It was all happening so fast! The room started to spin around her and she felt the sudden urge to drop into Clark's surprised arms. As he caught her and gently lowered her to the sofa, he wondered what to do when she woke up.
He spun into Clark clothes and dashed into the kitchen to make some tea. Heat vision was handy at a moment like this, and he quickly returned to her side. The first thing that Lois saw when she opened her eyes was Clark's concerned face staring down at her. Blushing, she realized that her hand was on his upper thigh, and as she sat up, it proceeded to move northward. He followed her eyes and took the guilty hand in his own.
"I made you some calming tea. Do you feel up to it?" Lois nodded slowly and took a grateful sip from the cup. It was just the perfect temperature, and soon the soothing blend traveled down her throat. Lois relaxed and wondered how she could live without this wonderful, *fantastic* man. Who else would have made her delicious tea, knowing it was exactly what she needed? He knew her so well, sometimes it was scary. She knew that he was watching her, wondering if she was still in pain.
Lois smiled at Clark, reassuring what doubts he had about her still being mad. She knew that it was the initial shock that was the bad thing, not the man who was the cause of the shock. He pulled her onto his lap, in a warm hug. They stayed like that for quite a while, Lois slowly sipping her tea. She was surprised when she felt tears fall onto her arms, and looked to see Clark crying, too.
"I love you so much, Lois, I love you so much…" He said it over and over, until the tears fell freely down his cheeks.
Lois clung to him and kept repeating "It's OK, I love you, too." As they sat like this, the both began to calm down, easing the other's pain.
Drying her eyes, Lois began to smile. "Do you realize how silly this is? Both of us crying our eyes out because we're in love?"
Clark saw her point and started to smile too. "I finally tell you the truth, the whole truth, and I can't even begin to tell you what's going on in my head because we're like *this*, sobbing on my sofa."
They both began to talk at the same time: "I was such a fool, hiding my feelings for so long-" "How could I have let some *fantasy* rule my heart for such a long-?" They looked at each other, with an unspoken bond now between them. Lois slowly nodded as Clark slipped the ring on her finger, and proceeded to give him a life-changing, soul-altering kiss. The pair started to float upward, but their elevation would not be noticed by either one for a long, long time.
So, what do you think? Any comments/suggestions (good OR bad) Can be sent to: Lou227@hotmail.com Thanks!!