By Julie Gibson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted December 1999
Summary: Lois tries to prove to Superman that she'd love him "even if he were an ordinary man."
Comments: A warm thank you goes to everyone at Zoom's MB for the encouragement and the comments. I would never have posted this if they hadn't been so great! And a thanks to all the authors that came before me for keeping such a super show alive!
This story is set at the end of Season One.
Usual disclaimers apply: I do not own these characters (except in my dreams <g>) Feedback greatly appreciated!
"Is there any hope for us? You and me?"
Superman did not respond. His head dipped down to avoid meeting her eyes.
"I am so completely in love with you. I can't do anything else without knowing."
"Lois, I do care for you, but there are things about me you don't know, that you may never know."
Lois desperately replied, "But it doesn't matter. I know you. I don't mean the celebrity or you the superhero. If you had no powers at all, if you were just an ordinary man leading an ordinary life, I would love you just the same. Can't you believe that?"
"I wish I could, Lois, but under the circumstances I don't see that I can."
Lois turned away, trying to avoid meeting his eyes. Before she had a chance to say anything more, she felt a cold breeze as Superman departed.
Lois stood in the center of her living room, disbelief washing over her. What had gone wrong? Why had he been so cold? Why did it seem like her future was slipping away from her?
On the verge of tears, Lois simply stared at the spot where Superman had been seconds ago. Her dreams had been crushed. The fairy tale world she had lived in was now gone. What was left for her?
At this point, Lois let the tears flow. She had never imagined the response she had received from Superman. A host of different responses, but nothing so harsh from her hero.
'Stop this, Lois!' she reprimanded herself. 'You can not just stand here wallowing in your own pity.'
"But he's gone," Lois wept aloud.
'Lois, get your act together! Something just doesn't feel right here. I cannot allow myself to fall into the doldrums so easily! And I can't believe it's over just like that!' she argued with herself. Trying to get her emotions under control, she determined to act like the award-winning investigative journalist she was. She needed to think logically if she was to have any hope of seeing her dreams fulfilled.
She wandered around the room contemplating their entire conversation. There was too much history between them for Superman to be so callous towards her. Something was wrong here. But what?
'I just know that we can make this work. Somehow, someway,' Lois thought.
In this, Lois was determined. Superman was attracted to her, no doubt about that. Else, how could she explain all the nightly visits to her apartment, the dance that took her breath away, all the exclusives she was given? Superman had even told that he read *all* her work! He was interested in her, he had to be; no other explanation would do. And all of Metropolis knew that Lois Lane was helplessly in love with Superman.
'There has to be something stopping him from furthering our relationship! But what? Is there someone else? Can't be, he's never mentioned anyone else. Did he feel that being with me would jeopardize something? My safety, sure, perhaps, but I do that all on my own. He's gotta know that. His role as Superman to the city? How could the city not be happy with the idea of their hero in love? Well, sure, there'd be a lot of jealous women … Could that be it?' Lois thought on this for awhile.
Would the city of Metropolis and its inhabitants become jealous of the man of steel's love life? Would it take away time from his rescuing activities?
'Well of course it would!' Lois thought indignantly. 'Even Superman is allowed a life of his own! No one owns him. Not America, not Metropolis, and not … not me.'
Lois stopped her meandering around the room and plopped down on the couch. She would never own Superman. But she didn't want to, not totally. She wanted his love, his respect, his friendship. The latter two she knew she had. His love, on the other hand, was still in question. Oh, Lois knew he loved her, but what type of love? How far did it go?
Her mind started churning, her reporter instincts kicking in. 'What else could our relationship possibly jeopardize in Superman's mind? Come on, Lois, let's not get stuck on one topic alone,' she told herself. 'Superman's friendship with Clark, maybe? Had Clark told Superman about his feelings for me and how I rejected his love? But he has to know that I've loved him from the beginning. I love Clark as a friend, I depend upon him as a partner, but love him as in forever love … ?'
Lois paused, not able to think on that tangent for much longer. Her mind was in a jumble. She was determined to find a way to make things work for her and Superman. Clark would just have to deal with that. They could always be partners and best friends.
'I don't know what I'd do without Clark,' Lois pondered. 'But I love Superman. He's the most gentle, most kind, most wonderful man alive.'
'I have to put thoughts of Clark aside,' she decided. 'How to have a relationship with Superman is key here!'
Lois began to dream of what it would be like having a relationship with Superman: midnight flights to wherever, more romantic dances in her apartment, receiving gifts from around the world, being the envy of all her coworkers, being pursued by coworkers and other media associates, sharing a home with him, sharing a bed with him, waiting alone late at night wondering and worrying where he was and when he'd be back, getting exclusives and inside help on major breaking stories, becoming the story while being kidnapped constantly so villains could manipulate the man of steel … The list went on and on.
'Stop!' Lois demanded of herself. 'There's got to be some way. Keep it a secret maybe? I don't think I could live like that. What would happen if we decided to get married? I don't want a secret marriage, constantly lying to everyone about my personal life.'
Lois got up and headed for the freezer, knowing there had to be some chocolate ice cream left in there somewhere. Grabbing a spoon, she went back to the couch. The spoon never reached her lips when suddenly she leaped back up again.
"I've got it! A secret identity! That's what we'll do!" Lois said aloud. "If I can convince Superman to take on some type of secret identity, we could live a private life together. We'd have to make up some type of obscure job for him, something no one would even think of associating him with Superman. And, to make things even better, I can show him, that I can really love him as an 'ordinary man!'"
As images of various jobs crept into Lois' mind, she started laughing hysterically. Pizza delivery boy ('it'd get there fast, and never be cold!'), researcher ('what a help that would be to Clark and I! He'd know what we needed researched before we did!'), policeman ('no need for a bulletproof vest'), hospital orderly ('he could sneak notes onto the patient's reports after x-raying them himself'), artist ('wouldn't mind him painting me in the nude!'), and the list went on and on.
'It has to be something that he isn't depended on to be at on a regular basis, else how could he run off easily?' Lois considered this for a while. Suddenly it came to her; 'A writer! That'd make sense! People would easily believe that I could fall in love with a writer. And I could even ghost-write for him, if he doesn't think he can write.' This last thought caused Lois to smile. 'That may not work! Look how far I've gotten on my own romance novels!'
Lois got up and rummaged through a drawer for a pad of paper and a pen. She suddenly realized that Superman may not like that type of profession. Besides, it might link her too closely to him and cause problems. People might start suspecting things. She wrote 'writer/author' down anyway and began to think of other possible occupations for Superman.
After an hour of this, Lois looked down happily at her list. Of course, she'd have to rewrite it due to all the scribbles and crossed-out titles. Certain jobs, like 'spy,' would require too many background checks and had been, therefore, crossed out. She was sure she could get a false driver's license, social security number, birth certificate, and any other typical documents necessary; but certain jobs required more information than she knew how to deal with.
Some of the jobs she had listed required a lot of interaction with people. And Lois contemplated how they were going to fool people into not recognizing the most well-known face in Metropolis. Several disguises flitted through her thoughts: mustaches, beards, wigs, glasses, disabilities, accents, hats, and on and on. This she thought to leave up to Superman as well.
Putting the now liquefied ice cream in the trash, Lois decided that it was time to go to bed. Pleased with the progress she had made, and the feelings of hope now alive again in her, Lois grabbed her stuffed bear and happily went to sleep.
The next morning, Lois had a new spring in her step. She decided, rather than attempting to throw herself off a building to attract Superman's attention, she'd call Clark and see if he could get in touch with him once again.
'I'm going to have to ask him how Clark does that. If we're going to make this work, I'm going to have to be able to contact him whenever.'
Clark's phone only rang once before he picked it up. "Hello?"
"Oh good, Clark! I caught you before you left," Lois breathlessly responded.
"Morning, Lois. You sound awfully chipper this morning. What's going on?" Clark asked, almost afraid of the answer, for fear she had accepted Lex's proposal.
"Clark, isn't it a beautiful morning! I have just come up with the most amazing idea! Can you find Superman and see if he can meet me somewhere today. Preferably someplace quiet. My apartment would work. Or if he'd prefer elsewhere, that'd be fine with me as well. I just have to talk to him, Clark!"
Clark paused a moment before answering Lois. This was not the mood he would have expected her to be in after last night's conversation with Superman. Lois was up to something. "Is there something I can do, Lois? Are you in trouble?"
"No, Clark. I just need to talk with Superman. Please, can you get in touch with him?" Lois' voice brightened upon her next words. "Or, if you'd rather not, could you let me know how you contact him, and I'll get in touch with him."
"Uh, no, Lois … umm … I'll try and get to Superman. No problem."
"Thanks, Clark. You're a real friend." And with this, Lois ended the conversation.
Clark hung up the phone, his thoughts whirling around in his head. 'Why would Lois still want to talk with me after all those hurtful things I said last night. She sounded way to happy to want to extract any sort of revenge on me.'
Laughing at that last thought, he spoke aloud. "As if she could do anything to me. She knows I'm invulnerable!"
'Not your heart,' a little voice inside of him responded.
Not wanting to wait to find out what Lois was up to or deal with his feelings, Clark spun into his costume and went to talk with Lois.
When Superman knocked on her window, Lois eagerly ran over to open it.
"How does Clark do that? I just barely got off the phone with him, not two minutes ago!" Lois asked, obviously impressed with Superman's quick response to her invitation.
Standing awkwardly in her living room, Superman didn't know how to respond. Images from last night's meeting starting to come to him. He was beginning to feel ashamed of his actions last night, and was about to apologize when Lois rambled on.
"We can talk about that later. I'd really like in on that secret. But first, I need to talk to you about something else. Last night's conversation really hit me. Oh, I know I deserved some of it. Some times I just plunge in without considering the consequences. But you know that! You've rescued me often enough." Lois chuckled, then continued, "When I declared my love for you, I hadn't thought through everything. How people would react, how we would live, and a million other things. I still love you and mean everything I said last night, but I've thought through a lot of the issues with us being together."
"Oh, Lois … " Superman started to say.
"No, let me finish, Superman. Something you said last night got me thinking. The comment you made about you being an ordinary man. Well I've figured it out!"
Stunned, all he could do was repeat her, "You've figured it out?"
"And you're not mad?" He couldn't believe she had figured out his identity and wasn't railing at him.
"Well, it won't be a normal relationship, and might minimize our time together, but I'm sure we can work it out!"
Now, thoroughly confused, he had to stop her and ask, "Lois, what are you talking about?"
"Oh! I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get ahead of myself. I realized last night after you left that there was no way we could be together unless a few things changed." She held up her hand when Superman started to talk. "No, Superman, let me finish, please." At his nod, she continued, "I realized that the only way we could ever be together is if you have some sort of secret identity. Something so ordinary that no one would think twice about it. I have a whole list of different occupations and another list of different disguises you could wear so no one figured out who you really were. This way we could go out together without you getting mobbed. You won't have to worry about my safety, how everyone would feel if Superman got married, and all the rest of the worries I'm sure you have about us."
Throughout this monologue, Lois had been walking around the room. Had she looked over at Superman, she'd have seen an extremely shocked super hero with his jaw nearing the floor. Clark could take it no more. He picked up the pad of paper Lois had mentioned and started reading through the lists of occupations and disguises. He almost chuckled aloud when he read the words 'writer' and 'glasses.' 'Oh, if she only knew!' he thought to himself. He had a hard enough time pulling off the one secret identity he had. And now she wanted him to have another!
"Lois, I don't think this is going to work," he started to say, but was cut off by Lois.
"No! It will, Superman! I know it will. Oh, sure, there are a lot of things that need to be tweaked, but the overall idea is a sound one! No one will ever know, unless you want them to!" She looked so pleased with herself, that Clark almost melted.
"What about Lex, Lois?" He almost stuttered over the words.
"Lex?! I forgot all about him!" She paused for a moment. "I don't think I've ever loved him, Superman. I don't think I ever could. My answer to him is going to be 'no.'" The admission came as a revelation to Lois. Her load seemed a lot lighter after finally stating this aloud.
With a sigh of relief, he said, "I'm glad to hear that, Lois. But I don't know about this secret identity thing."
"Oh, Superman! Give it a chance! I'm trying to give *us* a chance! You can live life as an ordinary man! Don't you understand?"
Clark decided that there was no way around this. Should he tell her everything? Seeing the look of love in her eyes and making a quick decision, he answered her saying, "Lois, there's something I need to tell you … "
Suddenly Superman's head tilted in deep concentration.
"What?" Lois asked.
"Bank robbery; fourth and Oak. I have to go. Can we continue this discussion tonight? Say, 8:00?" The look on Superman's face implored Lois to understand.
"Go, Superman. I'll see you tonight." Lois watched as he flew off, disappointed that their conversation had ended. She didn't think the discussion had gone that well. Superman didn't seem to like her ideas.
Well, tonight she would be ready. Lois planned her day, pulling out the yellow pages and flipping to the costume section. After copying down several promising stores, Lois grabbed her purse and walked out the door to start her search.
Superman shook his head in wonder as he turned the thief over into the police's custody. 'Will people never understand?!' Grateful to have something to take his mind off his earlier conversation with Lois, even if only temporary. He nodded his farewell to the officers on scene and flew off.
While in the air, thoughts of their conversation came flooding back to him. What had he been thinking? Had he actually been on the verge of telling Lois his secret?? How would she have responded? Especially after her ridiculous suggestion! What was he going to say to her tonight? What could he say? Should he tell her?
Well, why not tell her? He had gotten so used to keeping his powers, and thus himself, a secret, that letting anyone else know scared him. 'But Lois wouldn't give it away, would she?' The thought made him review her character more fully. Sure, she gave everything into telling a story and seeing her name on the front page. But she had protected many things as well, so others wouldn't be hurt. And on top of all that, she was willing to be in a secret relationship because she loved him that much. That wasn't the work of a someone who just wanted to get a story.
Realizing he could trust her, his thoughts took another turn. 'But she doesn't love *me,* the real me: Clark.' They were good friends, but it didn't ever seem to go beyond that. 'Well, how could it,' he thought dismally, 'when you keep encouraging her and coming on to her as Superman. Why would a woman even look at another man, when a man who could fly seems to be in love with you.' That thought shook him. Did Lois just love his powers? How much did Lois really know about him? 'She's willing to be in a relationship with me where I'm virtually a nobody. A regular Joe Citizen. She *must* see more in me than just my powers.'
8:00 didn't seem as far away as Clark would have wished. He knew he had to come to a decision before then. Could he afford to make that gigantic step? Could he afford not to? Either way, he'd know his fate in a few more hours.
Lois paced around her living room. Bags were thrown haphazardly everywhere. Looking at her watch, she saw that it was 8:02. 'Where is he? Did I scare him away?'
"Oh, he has to come, he just has to," she pleaded as if she said it often enough, he'd appear.
"I wouldn't stand you up, Lois, no matter what."
The voice at the window startled Lois. She raced over to open the windows farther and let him in.
"Superman, I'm so glad you came!"
"Lois, we have to talk."
"Superman, I know you have reservations about this. I could see it in your eyes earlier. But first, please, let me show you how this can work."
"But, Lois, you don't understand," he implored her.
Lois wouldn't listen. "No, Superman, you don't understand. This can be done. Let me show you how many different ways there are to disguise yourself. No one would even guess it's you! Now, stand over here in front of the mirror while I have you try on various wigs, mustaches and an assortment of other odd things."
"Lois, we have to talk. I need to tell you something."
"No. If all you need to tell me is that this idea won't work, I don't want to hear it. Please, Superman, let's try them first. If you still don't like the idea, we'll talk."
"It's not going to wo — "
"No! I said I don't want to hear it, Superman," Lois interrupted. "I'm trying to make this work. I'm trying to make you see how much I want this to work. How much you mean to me, Superman. Please." Tears started welling up in her eyes.
The tears were Clark's downfall. "All right. I'll go along with this. But, please remember when this is all over with that I wanted to tell you something first."
"Fair enough. I don't think it'll matter once you see what we can do to hide your identity, but I'll keep that in mind."
They tried on several wigs, and fell into several bouts of laughter. While trying on a curly red wig (which Lois declared as the "Annie" wig), Lois realized this wasn't going to work until Superman did something first.
"You're going to have to change your clothes, Superman. No matter what we try on, that big 'S' is ruining it all! Heck, with that wig you have on and your outfit, you could almost be taken as Raggedy Andy! I bought several pieces of clothing that I was going to have you try on after determining what kind of style we liked best, but it looks like we're not going to get very far with you still in that spandex. Here, why don't you try on these jeans and this shirt." She fumbled through the pile of bags she had by the window and handed him the clothes. "I didn't know your size, so I guessed. I hope they fit. You can change in my bedroom over there." As she pointed out which door led to her bedroom, she had to give Superman a little push.
"Lois, you have no idea what you're getting yourself into," he said glumly.
"Oh, I know we haven't talked out all the details. But I figured once we got the disguise down, we could talk about the rest."
Shaking his head, he entered her bedroom to change into the clothes Lois had given him. Several minutes later, he reappeared. The jeans were slightly too large on him, but the shirt seemed to fit decently. The Superman stance and his slicked-back hair were the only features left to identify him as Metropolis' hero.
"Wow. That makes a heck of a difference." Lois said. She couldn't take her eyes off him. He looked good. There was something about him, though. She couldn't seem to put her finger on it.
"All right, now let's try a few things." She picked up a few more items out of a bag. "Here, try on this mustache. It should match your hair color. And these glasses too. Of course, you'll also have to disguise your voice. I don't know how, maybe an accent of some sort. Hmm, and the hair. We've got to do something about your hair. We just can't keep it slicked back like that. And I didn't like any of the wigs. They just didn't look natural. Try running your fingers through it to give it a more natural look."
Clark was having a hard time keeping up with her. This woman was on a mission and no super power was going to hold her back. Holding the mustache in one hand and placing the glasses on his nose, he realized it wouldn't be too long before she realized his true identity. As he ruffled his hair a little, Lois bade him to turn around, so she could get a good look at him. The shock he saw in her eyes told him everything. The gig was up.
"I warned you, Lois. I came here to tell you that the secret identity wouldn't work. A secret identity to a secret identity just isn't going to work. I tried to tell you, but you were so bent on getting me to try on these crazy costumes that I couldn't get a word in edge-wise." Although the look on his face was serious, his love for her shown through.
"Clark?" Lois was still in a state of disbelief.
"Yes, Lois, it's me." Clark said. "Can we have that talk now; the one about the details of this relationship?"
Knowing it would take awhile, and a few choice words, Clark guided Lois to the couch. Their relationship would definitely be worth it.
"Clark, you're Superman?" Lois asked a bit tentatively.
"Yes, Lois. I am."
"You're Superman, and you didn't tell me? You worked every day with me and never told me? How could you do this?" Her anger and wonder were evident on her face. She rose from the couch and began to pace around the room. "How you must have enjoyed listening to me talk about Clark to Superman and about Superman to Clark. How could you just sit there listening, knowing full well … "
"I knew you'd be angry when you found out, but … "
"Angry?! Of course I'm angry! A bit hurt too. Actually more hurt than anger, if I were to think about it! I told you I loved you!"
"You also told me you only thought of me as a friend." The look in Clark's eyes grabbed Lois. Suddenly the past 48 hours went through her head. Sitting on the bench with Clark professing his love, while all she could think about was Superman. Superman's scathing remarks the night before.
<If you had no powers at all, if you were just an ordinary man leading an ordinary life, I would love you just the same. Can't you believe that?>
<I wish I could, Lois, but under the circumstances I don't see that I can.>
The pieces began to fall into place. Lois turned from Clark in shame. 'What he must think of me!'
"Oh, Clark," Lois said in the barest of whispers. "You must find me repulsive after the things I said and did."
"No, Lois. I don't."
A surprised Lois turned around. She hadn't realized he had been able to hear her. But of course he could; he was Superman. A new wave of shame filled her. Her mind tried to rewind the last year to remember things she must have said or done that she thought no one could possibly know, but in reality, Clark must have known all along.
"Lois, I love you. I told you yesterday, and nothing that has happened last night or today can change that. If anything, it's made me love you more."
"But why? Why? I've ignored you and made rude comments to you for a year now. How could you love me? And after the remarks I made last night, you love me more?" A confused Lois sat back down.
"Well, I can't say that after last night's conversation, I wasn't hurt. But seeing you today has made me realize how much you must really care for me. To go to such lengths just to be with me. Even if it's just an ordinary me. So, you didn't realize who the ordinary me was originally. How could you when I kept throwing myself at you as Superman?" Clark paused as he fumbled for the words. "Lois, I love you. I have loved you from the moment I first saw you. I wanted to tell you so many different times, but it has been ingrained in me to keep my powers a secret."
With each word she heard from Clark, Lois was more amazed. "And how could you know I wouldn't write a story on it? How do you know I won't turn around right now and write that same story!"
"Lois, you are a good and kind person. You would never knowingly write a story that would hurt an innocent person. If you were to write my story, my parents, you, Jimmy, Perry and anyone else associated with me would be targeted. I trust you, Lois. I'm sitting here trusting you with my life. Sure, some reservations keep spurting up in my mind. But if I ever want to have our relationship go any farther, I have to put it all on the line."
Lois looked at Clark as if she was seeing him for the first time. Here was a man who was offering everything to her: his reputation, his life, his love. She could crush it all in one moment. Or she could take it as it was meant. She chose the latter.
"Oh, Clark. I don't deserve you. How you could even look at me this morning after what I said last night is beyond me. It's going to take a while for me to handle all this. I care for you more deeply than I've cared about anyone else. I feel like so much has happened in the past 24 hours. Can we take this slowly, so I can catch up?"
"Of course, Lois. I think that would be best anyway. Oh, and Lois — "
"Can we clean up this mess of costumes? It's bringing back all the weird memories of when my mom made my original costume!"
"Your mom? Oh! Martha made your costume, didn't she? You'll have to tell me about that sometime."
"Gladly, Lois, gladly. My life is an open book to you now."
A mischievous glint appeared in Lois' eyes as she said, "Oooo! I am definitely looking forward to reading that bestseller!"