Mr. Right Now


Rated PG-13

Submitted April 1999

Summary: Set soon after the arrival of Dan Scardino, this story explores the frequently asked question: Just what was it that Lois found so attractive about Dan?


Fresh from her shower, Lois wrapped herself in her favorite deep blue terrycloth robe and eyed her reflection in the mirror critically. Things seemed to be spinning out of her control lately. Maybe it was time to do a self assessment checklist. "OK," she thought, "Start with the basics. You're a trained observer, Lane, what do you see?"

Eyes, rich, warm brown, bright and shiny. Well, all right, the shiny mostly came from tears she was holding back. Honestly, frankly, the eyes were good, though, one of her best features. Frowning at herself in the mirror, she dutifully noted the two small worry lines etching themselves into her brow, smack dab between her eyes. "And I just wonder who put *those* wrinkles there?" she mused, then shook her head, dismissing the thought, and continued with her inventory.

Even without make-up, her skin had a healthy, glowing sheen. OK, she told herself. Good skin, a straight nose, firm chin. "What's not to like?" she pondered. Running her fingers through her shoulder length hair, she admired the glossy brown tresses. Nothing wrong with her hair. Well, nothing a session with the blow dryer and curling iron wouldn't fix, anyway.

Restlessly, her eyes settled on her lips. The lips looked good to her, another of her best features. Full, but not overly so, not pouty. Lois knew her face compared well to other women's faces. OK, she'd overheard men talking. She knew that most men found her very attractive, at least until she opened her mouth and let them have it for assuming that beauty equaled stupidity.

"Maybe my mouth *is* my biggest problem," she mused. Picking up her hair dryer, she reached to plug in the curling iron and grabbed the brush sitting on her bathroom counter. As she deftly began drying her hair, she frowned at her image again. "Well, that's just too darned bad. I'm not going to play dumb for anybody, especially just to attract some man!"

"Well, but," that reasonable voice she hardly ever listened to interjected, "he never seems to expect you to play dumb, does he? In fact, doesn't he think you're pretty smart?" The reasonable voice didn't bother to identify the "he" in question and Lois decided she didn't want to pursue that line of thought, anyway.

Muttering to herself, she continued her mental inventory of personal assets. OK, we'll stipulate good looks. Passable, anyway. With make-up, more than passable. How about the body? Thoughtfully, she turned off her hair dryer and stepped back away from the counter. She inspected her body. Hmmmm. Slender, but athletic, build. Nice legs, another great feature. Couldn't fault the legs. Full hips, maybe a little too full? No, be objective, she admonished herself. Not too full, just full. Slim waist. Not too much sag, not bad at all. No, her body wasn't the problem. It went nicely with the face.

Briefly closing her eyes, Lois wondered what it was she really wanted out of life. She'd always had a quick answer to that one before. She wanted recognition as the top reporter at the Daily Planet. She wanted more Kerth Awards to join the three she already had. She wanted a Pulitzer Prize for Journalism. She still wanted all those things, and felt like her career was on the right track to give them to her, eventually, but just lately, she'd found herself wanting more. It was time to be honest, at least with herself in the privacy of her own home. She wanted … she wanted a man to love her, to kiss her passionately, to be a constant force in her life. She wanted … some man … to need her, and only her, fiercely. She wanted to be the center of someone's … some man's … life.

Standing alone in her bathroom, Lois began to imagine the man, trying to determine who he might be. Though the room was brightly lit, behind her eyes she saw herself standing before the mirror, lit only by soft candlelight from flickering candles placed around the tub and on the counter. In her mind's eye, a man walked up behind her and laid strong hands on her shoulders. She couldn't see his face in the darkened room. His warm hands gently brushed along her shoulders, kneading them softly, pushing her hair to one side. She couldn't see his features and only the outline of his body, only intuiting a male shape. Only his hands caressed her shoulders, but the heat emanating from him felt like a furnace, like tongues of flame, along her back. His darkened form almost seemed to loom above her. Hmmm, her imaginary man was tall. In her fantasy, she peered into the mirror, trying to make out features, trying to see his identity. The candles flared, she saw his strong hands on her shoulders moving to caress her arms, felt his solid, warm body move closer to hers, still not touching, but close, oh, so much closer than before. As he bent his head to kiss her neck, in her mind's mirror she saw dark, slightly curly hair. In the candles' flickering light, she saw a reflection of that light in the mirror. She saw the glint of glasses on his face …

Lois eyes snapped open. The bright lights of her bathroom dispelled the mood. Gathering her robe, she quickly, efficiently began to apply her make-up. "No way, Lane," she scolded herself, "you are *not* going to ruin this evening." Her heart was set on someone to love, her mind told her that thinking about him was just a dead end. After all, they'd only had the one date and the one kiss. So what if the date had been perfect? So what if the kiss had weakened her knees, left her begging (silently) for more? After all, every time she tried to talk to him about anything other than business since then, he'd suddenly developed an urgent need to be someplace else. She'd really tried to open up and he … he just always seemed to run off, just when she was on the verge of saying the words that she couldn't, wouldn't be able to take back. She was tired of trying to figure him out. She had *had it* with him running away. So, let him run. She had other fish to fry.

Lois quickly and deftly finished applying her make-up to her satisfaction. Tonight would be special … she would make it special. There were plenty of men in the world who would appreciate a beautiful, intelligent, successful woman. No need to waste her time worrying about … the one who seemed to be constantly running away. Who knew? Maybe she hadn't even met *him* yet. "Oh, well," she told her reflection, "If I can't have Mr. Right, I bet I can get Mr. Right Now." Smiling at her reflection, she put away her makeup, quickly set the counter top to rights, and bustled into her bedroom to finish getting ready for her date.

He had said "casual," so Lois quickly chose a snug pair of black jeans and a sparkling gold sweater with a slightly plunging neckline. As she turned to pick out her earrings for the evening, her eye was caught by the small teddy bear saucily sitting in the middle of her pillows. "Think you own the place, don't you?" she said, scooping up the toy and shaking it softly. "Well, not tonight. I think it's time for you to go into the closet for awhile." Stuffing the bear into the closet, she quickly slipped her feet into some golden flats to round out the outfit and was just putting on her earrings when she heard the doorbell. "Just a minute!" she called out and hastily sprayed the air around her with her favorite perfume. "I'll be right there!"

Skirting the fish tank as she hurried into the living room, Lois checked herself one last time in the mirror, pasted a big smile on her face and threw open the door. "Hi, Dan," she said brightly, "Ummmm, smells delicious! Is that China Garden take-out? Come on in."


Dan was delighted with the lovely table Lois had set for their dinner. Laughing, she said, "Well, I may not be able to cook very well, but I'm terrific at presentation!"

"Everything looks great, Lois," Dan smiled at her warmly. "Here, why don't you take a seat and let me serve you. I wasn't sure exactly what you'd like, but I know you like surprises *and* that you like spicy, so … how about a little Kung Pao Shrimp, some House Special Lo Mein, or, for a change of pace, a taste of the China Garden's best Triple Crown?"

"How about a little of everything, Dan?" Lois reached for the Chardonnay as she sat and began pouring the sparkling wine for them both. "It all looks so tempting … "

"It certainly does," Dan's words agreed with Lois, but she failed to notice that his eyes were on her as he spoke.

Beginning with the hot, springy eggrolls, the couple enjoyed the meal, lightly talking about the latest movies, the newest attractions in Metropolis, vacation spots they'd enjoyed. Lois was determined not to let anything spoil the happy mood, so she steered the conversation clear from current events. She reasoned that if they began to talk about that, before long they would be talking about work and she'd run into the brick wall Dan threw up to block her whenever she got too close to his latest case. Or he'd get defensive about the time she spent at work and the people she worked with all day long. She didn't want any of his sarcastic comments about … people she worked with … to interfere with the evening.

"Dan," she told herself, "now, Dan, *he* doesn't run. He's right there when he says he will be. OK, so he's not perfect, either. He doesn't tell me anything about his work. But … well, he *is* a government agent. I guess he *can't* tell me everything he's got going on. Sure, that's it. Later, when we're … more involved … he'll trust me more. He'll come around. Someday. Maybe."

As she listened to him animatedly describing his vacation last year in California, she admired his quick turn of phrase and the brightness in his eyes as he spoke to her. Dan, too, was dressed casually for the evening, in jeans that fit him just so and a soft subdued plaid shirt with the buttons opened to expose his throat to her. Watching him, her thoughts turned to their last date, when he'd been in Metropolis last weekend. They'd had fun. He took her to dinner, a really good Thai restaurant, then dancing at the newest, hottest night spot in the city. The evening had glittered and when he'd returned her home … well, if the kiss hadn't weakened her knees, it had been very pleasant. He sure knew what he was doing. She'd sensed no hesitancy there, that was certain. Dan wanted to be with her and let her know it at every opportunity. Lois pondered that if Dan wanted her just a little more than she wanted him, maybe that was OK. Maybe the attraction she felt for him would grow into something more than just flattery at his charming attempts to win her, something more than an appreciation of his handsome face and strong body. Maybe he could be *the one* with just a little more effort. Maybe he could learn to trust her the way … well, the way other people did. Maybe he could drop the charm a little and start to open up to her as if she were really important to him. As if she mattered more to him in his life, his whole life, than she apparently did right now. Maybe.


"What Chinese meal would be complete without the Fortune Cookie?" Dan quipped as he whisked away Lois' empty plate and placed the cellophane wrapped treat in front of her. "These are very special Fortune Cookies. All the messages are about romance. I bought them especially for you."

"How sweet!" Lois exclaimed, quickly opening the package and breaking open the lemon-scented confection. As she read the message inside, her eyebrows rose.

"What does it say?" Dan asked.

"Well, uh, well. Ahem. It says, 'The one you love is beside you every day.' Uh … I suppose that, if you love someone, uh, well I guess it means that thoughts of that person are with you every day." Lois replied, nervously. She didn't entirely like the message the cookie offered her. It didn't seem to refer to Dan.

Oblivious to her chagrin, Dan said, "Let's see what mine has to say." He opened the wrapper and broke open the cookie, quickly scanning the words on the small slip of paper. "Hmpf."

"Well, what does it say?"

"I think I should ask for my money back," Dan quipped. "OK, it reads 'Your true love waits patiently for you elsewhere.' Lois, these things are silly. I thought they'd be funnier than this. 'True Love,' yeah, right! Like there is such a thing!"

"Oh. You don't believe in true love?" She tried to lighten her tone, but the question seemed to echo through the apartment.

Dan avoided her eyes, reddening slightly. "Hey, I just don't believe I'm going to take direction from a Fortune Cooke, OK?"

"OK," Lois smiled. Determined not to spoil the happy mood the meal had set, she suggested, "How about some coffee on the sofa? It won't take me a minute to clear these dishes and make some fresh."

"All right. Here, I'll give you a hand with the dishes."


"This is nice," Lois purred, kicking off her shoes and tucking her legs beside her on the sofa. She drew her coffee cup to her chest with both hands, enjoying the warmth seeping through the earthen mug. "Just what the doctor ordered after a tough week at work. Good food, good coffee, good conversation."

"Beautiful company," Dan agreed, settling himself comfortably beside her. His free arm settled just behind her on the sofa, his right hand gripping his mug of coffee. Cautiously taking a sip of the hot liquid, he sighed appreciatively. "Cocoa Mocha Nut, right?"

"Right on the first guess. I like picking out different flavors of coffee to try," Lois sipped at her own hot mug, bringing it to her lips with both hands.

"I wonder what other things you like that I don't know about yet," Dan teased.

"Oh, if you hang around long enough, I'll bet you find out," Lois teased back.

"Now, that could be interesting." They sipped their coffee in companionable silence for awhile. Dan edged closer to Lois, drawing her further into the circle of his arm until she was resting against his side. Soft music from her cd player underscored a feeling of relaxation, quiet enough to prove no barrier to conversation, but audible enough to fill the silences and set a soft mood.

Dan moved to place his coffee cup on the low table before them. Lois offered him hers as well and he set it beside his own. As he turned back to her, she began to speak, "Dan … " but his lips stopped her as he drew her closer to his chest and kissed her thoroughly, hungrily. Sighing softly, Lois felt herself begin to respond, melting softly against him as he encircled her with both arms. Turning slightly, Dan pressed her against his body, his hands moving to caress her back, her arms. Still warm and flavorful from the coffee, Lois lost herself in his kiss.

He drew back slowly, never releasing her from his embrace, and hungrily nuzzled her neck. His moist, open mouthed kisses sent a tingle through Lois and she made a small sound of appreciation deep in her throat. Gasping at the reaction her body was displaying to Dan's affection, Lois managed to bring her hands up and grasp his upper arms, "Dan … oh, my … Dan, please, we need to talk."

His response was to reclaim her mouth with his. She felt him shift on the sofa, easing forward to the edge of the seat and using the leverage of his kisses to move her slowly to a prone position against the soft cushions. Quickly he turned to face her, one hand moving to caress her hips, smoothing down her legs and gently straightening her to a more comfortable position. His other arm warmly and strongly supported her back, hand splayed behind her neck, playing delightfully in her hair as he simultaneously drew her closer to his chest and pushed her further back into the sofa. Lois gasped with mingled surprise and nervous anticipation. He kissed her repeatedly, aggressively, hungrily.

"Dan!" Lois gasped.

"Shhhh," he replied, moving yet again, no longer looming above her but stretched beside her on the confining sofa. She gasped again as he relinquished her mouth and, gently easing her head back further into the cushions, began to rain soft kisses upon her exposed throat, moving gently but firmly lower to the v-neck of her sweater.

Lois' brain was whirling. This was what she wanted, she had told herself this was what she wanted. There was no doubt of Dan's intentions, he fully meant to claim her physically tonight. He was confident and masterful, gentle and sensuous. There was no doubt in her mind that he fully intended to please her, as well as himself. Her body was responding eagerly. If she could just stop thinking for a few minutes, she would have exactly what she had told herself she wanted.

But, there was a corner of her brain yelling "NO" even while her body was screaming "Yes" and eagerly participating. That small part of her kept crying out, "Where will this lead? Will he be here for you next month, next year? Is this all you want, Lois? Is this really, truly all you want?"

Confused, Lois grasped Dan's shoulders and firmly pushed him upright. Fighting to regain her breath, she saw a look of alarm cross his face, replaced by gentle concern. "What?" he gasped, "What's the matter?"

"Wait a minute," she managed to say, moving to sit up, backing away into the corner of the sofa. He allowed her to sit up, moving back himself to brace his arm against the back of the sofa, rubbing his neck with the supporting hand. Lois could tell he was struggling to rein in his desire, trying to regain some semblance of composure.

"We can't just … just … do this, Dan, like … like a couple of teenagers left alone in the rec room!" she said finally.

"Why not?" he smiled, a confident, eye-sparkling smile. "We aren't a couple of teenagers left alone. You're a beautiful woman, I'm a grown-up man. What's to stop us? It'll be terrific, I promise!"

"Do you love me, Dan?" Lois asked solemnly, peering into his eyes. "Think before you answer. Don't just tell me what you think I want to hear. Do you love me?"

Dan had the good grace to lower his eyes, the color flooding his cheeks. Softly he whispered, "I want you, Lois."

"Yes, sweetheart, I know that. That much is clear. But, I have to know, part of me needs to know, do you love me?"

"Lois!" he exclaimed, "I don't know! What is love? Give me some credit, I could lie to you and say I love you, and you *would* buy it because it's what you want me to say, but I really don't know what *love* is. I've thought I've been "in love" before and it never worked out. I do know that I want you, that I think you are the most beautiful woman in the world right now, right this minute. I don't *want* anything *from* you, Lois, I just want to make love to you, now."

Lois was quiet. She turned her head, staring at the far wall, absorbing what he had said. He was right, of course, if he had said the words she would have made herself believe them. Through her jumbled thoughts, she wondered if that would have been enough to calm the turmoil, if that would have been enough to settle that part of her that was holding out for a dream, an idea, an ideal. She wondered if she was on the verge of giving up someone who could mean a great deal in her life over a misunderstanding in vocabulary. He was right, too, in thinking that she respected his honest reaction far more than she would ever be able to stomach another smooth lie.

Finally, she said, "I am giving you a lot of credit for honesty, Dan. And I know you want me. On some level, I want you, too. But, I'm just not ready to give up on the idea of love, not just yet."

Dan's attention zoomed into the phrase "on some level." It gave him hope that she could be reasoned with, that all was not lost. "Tell me, Lois, what is love … to you?" he asked.

"Well," she replied, "It's a feeling. It's a life-long commitment." Lois smiled ruefully, thinking, "if he doesn't run screaming at the C-word, maybe this conversation will continue."

"You women love to throw around the word 'commitment," he said. "What else, there's bound to be more to the definition for you."

"Love is, well, it's when someone is more important to you than anything else. It's … it's a feeling that sweeps you away and makes everything look possible. It's honesty and wanting to be with someone more than anything else in the world. It's … I don't know … it's more than just physical, there's got to be more to it than that!" Lois was exasperated with herself. Words were her trade and she couldn't define a simple concept like love!

"Why?" Dan asked seriously.

"What do you mean?" she replied.

"Why does it have to be more than just physical?"

"Because … because … well, because I've *had* physical and it didn't last!" Lois exclaimed.

"What makes you think it's supposed to last?"

"Huh? Everybody knows true love is supposed to last," Lois was genuinely puzzled at his calm question.

"Ah," Dan exclaimed, "we're back to Fortune Cookie romance. I told you, I don't believe in "true love". It just doesn't exist."

"What do you mean?" she asked again.

"It's just a concept people are sold to keep them together. That's all. There is no such thing as "true love." You're living in a fairy tale, Lois. People change. People die. Nothing lasts forever. I told you, I've been 'in love' and it didn't last. She was killed. It happens. I'm over it. And I'm not foolish enough *now* to expect that same kind of feeling again. That doesn't mean I don't feel anything, I do. I want you. I *like* you. I think you're the most exciting woman I've met in a long time. Why can't that be enough? We're both certainly old enough to make a decision based on what we want right now, right here." Dan was earnest, trying to get past Lois' romantic notions to reality, a good solid reality based on his view of the way the world was. "I'll tell you what I do know, Lois. You want me too, you can't hide that. You can't hide how you responded to me just a few minutes ago. You said you want me 'on some level.' Well, I'm telling you that *that* is what love is. The rest is romantic nonsense, based on some kind of societal notion you've been fed all your life."

"No. That's not all "love" is, it can't be!" Lois was adamant. "There has to be more to it than … than hormones and biological clocks and good looks. There just has to!"

"What's wrong with hormones and good looks?" Dan exclaimed. "There's a lot to be said for good, old- fashioned sex! It feels great, believe me! C'mon, Lois, a woman as beautiful as you? You must have had other lovers before now, you even said so."

"Not as many as you might think, Dan. There was just … well, there was my college boyfriend, the heel, he dumped me after a few times. Then there was this guy at work, he used me. I hadn't been a reporter very long, not even a year at that time. He made me think he was in love with me, then he trashed my reputation and stole a really big story from me. Actually won an award with *my* research. After that, I made a rule to never sleep with anybody I worked with. That's it." Lois flushed with remembered emotion at the humiliation she had suffered at Claude's hands.

Dan's heart had dropped when she had mentioned "a guy at work," then soared when he realized it had happened several years ago. "I like that rule," he said. Lois grinned ruefully. "But, honey, aren't you leaving someone out?"

"What do you mean?" Lois asked, reflecting that she was beginning to sound like a broken record.

"Well, Lois, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you almost marry Lex Luthor?"

"Oh, yeah, Lex, thanks for reminding me," she said, sarcastically. "He was the biggest heel of them all! He had me completely fooled into believing that he was this great philanthropist, then he turns out to be the biggest criminal of all time! Right up there with Jesse James and Pretty Boy Floyd! What a dope I was for believing his line!"

"Well, Lois, to be fair, he had a lot of people fooled. Not just you." Dan was trying his best to be comforting, but he didn't believe he had heard the whole story about Lex, not just yet.

"I was going to marry that creep, Dan! I should have known better. Superman and … and people I work with, they tried to tell me what he was really like, but, no, I wouldn't listen, not Lois Lane, terrific judge of character that I am!"

"So, why didn't you … " Dan clarified his question, "why didn't you marry him? I mean, I read the reports. I know White and Henderson ran in and stopped the wedding just as you were about to say 'I do.' But, you did seem to give up on him really fast, anyway. Not that that wasn't the right decision to make! I'm just wondering, given your concept of 'true love,' how you came to … despise … him so quickly. I would have thought you would have wanted to stand by him, given the fact that you were 'in love' with him"

"That's just it, Dan. I never was 'in love' with Lex. Oh, I'll admit I admired him. I … well, it's not a pretty thing to say, but I liked his power and his money. I had convinced myself that it was OK to marry him, that I didn't need to love him, that he loved me enough for both of us. I had convinced myself of what you want me to believe tonight, that there was no such thing as 'true love.' But, it just wasn't true. I didn't love him. Looking back, that's probably the reason I convinced him to wait to … you know … , until our wedding night. Somewhere, deep down inside of me, I knew I didn't love him. He was just using me, like the others. He wanted me, and he honestly thought … well, thinks … that he loves me, but he doesn't know the meaning of the word. He just wants to own me. He doesn't even know as much as you do! All the way down the aisle, I was … " Lois glanced up at Dan, "uh … I was thinking about how I really didn't love him, so I called the whole thing off before Perry or Inspector Henderson even got there."

"Wow," Dan replied. "That's some story. Lois, not everybody would believe that you never slept with Lex, but you know that, don't you?"

"Yes, I know that. It doesn't matter what anyone else believes. I know the truth."

"So, where does that leave us?" he asked.

"It leaves us right back where we started, Dan. I asked if you loved me, but maybe what I should have asked myself is if I love you." Lois stared at her hands, twisting them together in her lap.

"I still want you, Lois. Whether or not that meets your definition of love, well, I can't answer that for you. Do you love me?"

Lois sighed. She raised her head to look Dan in the eye. "No, Dan, I don't love you. At least, not yet. I don't know, I don't know *you*, yet. You hold part of yourself back from me. It's not just your work. This is one of the few conversations I can remember us ever having that wasn't just light and fluffy, ha ha, keep it funny, keep it light. I don't know that I love anybody right now. I do know that I want to love somebody. You may think it's just a lot of stuff that's been crammed into my head over the years, but I've had relationships that were just physical and it's not enough. Not for me. I deserve better."

"So," Dan mused, "I'm just another creep, huh?"

"No! No, Dan, you aren't a creep. I asked you an important question and you told me the truth. You've made your feelings clear. I respect that. I just … I'm just not ready to settle for … keeping it light. Not tonight. Not now. Not yet." Lois was contrite, wondering if she had led him on, wondering if she had sent out messages of physical availability, then backtracked when he had responded. "I hope you aren't too disappointed."

"Oh, I'm disappointed all right! Parts of me are very disappointed, believe me," Dan relented when he saw the stricken look on Lois' face. "But … I'm not a rapist. You don't need to worry. If you say no, well, you say no. Does this mean that you won't see me again?"

"No. No, it doesn't mean that. If I ever make up my mind, I'll tell you. Right now, I'm confused. I'm confused about what I want, about what is real for me. I do think we should keep it less physical, for now. I don't want to start thinking of you the way I think of Claude and Lex. It wouldn't be fair to you. You've been honest with me, Dan, I'm trying to be honest with you, too. It's your call, if you want to see me again." Lois looked at him, a plea for understanding in her eyes.

"Does this mean that you'll continue to see … other men?" he asked.

"Yes, Dan, I will continue to see other men," Lois replied. "That's a whole separate question from you and me. Your availability, or lack thereof, doesn't have anything to do with me and … whoever. I don't think either of us should be making any promises, especially after tonight. I just want you to know, it means a lot to me that you didn't lie to me."

"OK, Lois, that's fair. I promise that I'll never lie to you. If I can't tell you something, like about work, I'll just say so. But, when it comes to you and me, I'll always tell you the truth. Deal?" Dan didn't try to hide his disappointment, but he realized it would be smarter to press his case another time.

Lois smiled shakily. "Deal," she said. "I guess you'd better go now. Good night, Dan."

Dan leaned forward to press a quick, chaste kiss against her lips. "Good night, Lois. I'll call you next week."

Lois rose to see him to the door. "Thanks for dinner. It was very good." she said.

"You're welcome. My pleasure." And, with that, he turned and slowly walked away.

Lois locked the door behind him. She picked up the coffee cups, turning off the cd player as she trudged into the kitchen to deposit the cups in the sink. With a sigh, she turned the coffee maker off and headed to her room to get ready for bed. Nothing seemed to be working out in her life these days.

After cleaning up and changing into her nightgown, she stood for awhile staring at the closet door. Suddenly, she jerked the door open and grabbed the stuffed bear. "All right," she muttered, hugging the toy to her chest, "maybe you *do* own the place. At least, maybe you own a place in my heart."


Author's Note: Warner Brothers, et al., own the rights to these characters. I'm just exploring some "might have beens" behind the scenes. For this story I set myself the challenge of writing a "Lois and Clark" story without Clark ever once being mentioned by name which doesn't mean he isn't in there. <g> The concept was in response to a question posed on one of Zoomway's fanfic boards … What about Lois and Dan? What were the dynamics behind *that* relationship? In the context of the show, I've always viewed Scardino as opportunistic, but I never thought he was quite the villain other FoLC's painted him. Hope you liked the result.