By Mobile Richard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted March 1999
Summary: When Lois and Clark break up after a fight, Superman starts to date Lois. Except this is news to Clark!
This takes place during the second season, after Lois and Clark start dating, but before she finds out that he's Superman. :-) For purposes of the story, I'm assuming that the episode Vatman never happened. ;-)
Standard disclaimers apply; the characters were created by DC Comics, Warner Brothers Studios, December 3rd Productions and ABC, and the story is mine. :-)
"Lois, it's Clark." His tone was cold and impersonal on the telephone. "Perry wanted me to call and ask you if …"
"Clark!!" Lois's voice thrilled with emotion. "Thank goodness! I'm … I … I …" She paced back and forth, trying to gain some control over herself.
"Lois??" Clark's voice changed, vibrant now with concern for her. "Is something wrong? Are you all right?"
"I … no … I mean yes … I … I mean I've been so …" her voice broke, and she sobbed. "Clark?" The line had gone dead. She stared at the useless instrument in her hand, tears streaming down her face, then jumped as someone knocked on her door.
"Lois??" said Clark's voice. "Are you okay? Can I come in?"
Lois drew in her breath sharply, looking from the phone to the door. How did he …? She shook her head in bewilderment, too distraught to deal with it now, and hastened to open the door for him. "Clark!" she gasped as she fell into his arms. She clutched at him for support, her legs almost refusing to hold her up. She was crying in earnest now.
"Shh," said Clark soothingly as he hugged her tightly. "It's okay, Lois, I'm here. I'm here now." He half carried her to the sofa, where he set her down gently.
"Don't leave!" she cried as he relaxed his grip and prepared to straighten.
"I'm just going to make you some tea," he said softly. But Lois wouldn't relinquish her hold on him, and in the end he had to sit next to her on the sofa, rocking her back and forth while he murmured a wordless babble of soothing sounds. When he saw that she was starting to regain some control, he gently disengaged her arms and got to his feet. "I'll make that tea now," he said.
Lois didn't argue, leaning back against the sofa in exhaustion. It was such a relief to have Clark back!
Clark busied himself with preparing the tea, all the while wondering what had happened to upset Lois so much. He would have liked to think that she was just overcome with emotion at seeing him again, but he realized that her outburst was indicative of a different kind of problem, and he waited patiently for her to be able to tell him about it.
"Thank you!" she gasped, accepting the steaming cup with gratitude.
"What's happened to frighten you, Lois?" Clark asked. His voice was gentle, betraying none of the bitterness he might have been expected to feel, considering their last meeting. Lois looked into his eyes and remembered her wish, the last time they had been together: that she could have two men. Well, she no longer wanted two men, and she hoped this one man was willing to forget and forgive the pain she had inflicted on him.
She drew a breath. "It … it's Superman," she said tremulously. Clark stiffened and drew back slightly.
"Are you upset that he doesn't come to see you any more?" he asked with a trace of bitter satisfaction.
"No! That's not it … I mean, he does come to see me and I … I don't … I don't know …"
"What??" said Clark. "Superman comes to see you? Do you expect me to believe that, Lois?" his voice was cold.
Lois gaped at him. "Yes, he comes to see me!" she snapped, stung by the incredulity in his manner. "Did you think you're the only man who could be in love with …" She bit off what she had been going to say, arrested by the hurt now showing in Clark's eyes.
He hid his emotions again immediately, however, merely saying in a wooden voice, "So he comes to see you, Lois. Are congratulations in order here?"
"Clark," said Lois contritely, laying a hand on his arm. "I'm sorry. I never meant … what I said to you that day … and … and …" She swallowed. "I've missed you," she finished simply.
Clark was surprised. What's Lois doing now? Is she pretending that she's been seeing Superman just to make me jealous? I didn't think Lois would resort to trickery like this just to get me back. Besides … well, she doesn't need to. All she has to do is say the word, and I'll be at her side in an instant …
He resolved to go along with her pretense, sitting back and saying neutrally, "I've missed you, too, Lois. Are you trying to tell me that you've decided you're not interested in Superman after all?"
"No! I mean yes! I mean, that's not it! It's Superman, Clark. I'm worried about him; he's changed so much." She rose to her feet and wrung her hands as she paced back and forth, not noticing Clark's look of surprise. She took a deep breath.
"For about a week after you left," she went on, "he didn't appear in Metropolis at all. And even after he made his reappearance, I still didn't see him … until the day of the fire at Matt's Barn and Bedding. I got a little too close to the fire and he picked me up and carried me to safety …"
"Lois!" burst out Clark. "You mean you've seen Superman?"
"Clark! I just told you! Yes, I've seen Superman, and …"
"He rescued you?? But, Lois, he didn't *fly* did he?"
"Of course he flew!" said Lois in annoyance. "He's Superman! What's the matter with you, Clark?"
But Clark didn't heed her. He was the one pacing now, striding up and down before her while she looked at him as if he had gone mad. "How is this possible?" he muttered.
He stopped pacing and stood in front of her, looking earnestly down into her face. "Okay, Lois, I'm sorry; I've been away, and there were no newspapers in the Hangayn Mountains … I didn't realize … I … just got a little …" He took a breath. "Okay, go on, he carried you to safety …"
"… He carried me to safety and then *flew* me home!" Lois said with emphasis, looking challengingly at Clark. He didn't dispute her, however. "And then he said … he said that he'd like to see me again, so I said yes and I invited him to dinner …" She wasn't looking at Clark now. "… and he started coming to see me in the evenings after work!" she finished, still not looking at Clark, who had remained silent. "Well," she said miserably, "you were gone, and you had said you weren't coming back, so …"
"Yes, well never mind that," said Clark quietly. "So you've been seeing Superman. Dating him."
"Yes," affirmed Lois.
"And he's changed?"
"Yes!" she whirled and faced him again. "Or no! Maybe I'm the one who's changed. Clark, you know how I've always … the way I felt about Superman …"
"Yes," said Clark.
Lois breathed deeply. "… or the way I *thought* I felt about Superman. I always thought that I loved *him*, the real man … but from what's been happening lately, I'm afraid … Clark, I'm beginning to think that I never loved him at all … that I was just infatuated with him because of his superpowers!" Something in Clark's eyes told her that this was not exactly unwelcome news.
"Okay," he said quietly. "What made you decide that?"
"When we started to see each other, when I started to get to really know him, I began to realize that he's not what I thought at all. I thought he was warm, and caring, and kind. Oh, Clark, I thought he was gentle, but …" she choked, "he's anything but!"
"Lois!" said Clark, shaken, "he hasn't … hurt … you?"
"No, oh, no, not anything like that. At least, not yet." She swallowed.
"What do you mean, not yet?"
"Well, he's been pressuring me to … well … he's the strongest man in the world, but I always felt so *safe* with him, I mean that he'd *never* … but, lately, I've been very conscious of … I've been frightened that … I even thought of borrowing a gun from Lucy's latest boyfriend … but, of course, then I realized … what good will a gun do … he's Superman!" her voice rose hysterically.
Clark sprang to her side and enfolded her in his arms. "He won't hurt you, Lois, I promise. I won't let him!"
Lois made a sound between a laugh and a sob. "That's just it, Clark, what can you do, what can anyone do? How can anyone stop him?"
"Lois, I promise you," said Clark grimly, "he will not hurt you!"
A knock at the window interrupted them, and Clark turned his head to see Superman hovering outside. "Let me talk to him, Lois," he said.
"No," she said faintly, moving to the window to unlatch it. "I have to …"
Superman flew quietly in and landed expertly next to Lois. "Hi," he said, bending down to kiss her.
Clark made a movement and Superman deigned to notice him for the first time. "What's he doing here?" he asked.
"I don't think Lois wants to talk to you right now," said Clark, striding forward and thrusting himself between Lois and Superman.
"Clark?" said Superman. "The boyfriend? The *ex*-boyfriend, I should say. Out with the old and in with the new, eh, Lois?" he advanced on Clark in the obvious expectation that Clark would retreat.
Clark did nothing of the kind, however, holding his ground and standing eye to eye with the imposter Man of Steel. "Lois wants me to stay," he said, thrusting out his jaw.
"No, Clark!" Lois shrieked, seeing Superman's hands ball themselves into fists. She was terrified for Clark's life. What if Superman killed Clark? She couldn't let that happen! "I … please go now! I want to be alone with Superman."
A look of satisfaction crossed Superman's face, to be replaced by annoyance as Clark still stood his ground. "I'm staying," said Clark simply.
"No, Clark, please." Lois's eyes implored him. "Go now. I've changed my mind. I … I don't want to see you any more. I don't love you and I never will. Go away."
For one moment she feared that Clark would insist on staying in spite of her declaration, but, after hesitating briefly, he seemed to come to his senses, and, hastily excusing himself, he exited her apartment.
Lois sank to the sofa, covering her face in her hands. Clark was gone! She was all alone with this stranger, whose presence became more intolerable to her daily! But at least Clark was safe; she wouldn't have his death on her hands. She sobbed.
"Hey," Superman sat on the sofa beside her. "What's all this?" he removed her hands from her face. "You know I don't like seeing you like this, baby."
Lois looked up in sudden hope at his tone, but staring into his eyes, seeing their cold, ruthless expression, she knew that she was still caught in the nightmare. A sudden gust of wind swept through the room, diverting Superman's attention from her. He drew in his breath sharply and Lois turned her head to see what had captured his notice.
She gasped. A second Superman was standing in her living room beside the open window! She sprang to her feet, but the Superman beside her was quicker. "Well," he said, not taking his eyes from the interloper, "I've been expecting you. It's certainly taken you long enough … where have you been?"
"Never mind that," said the newcomer. Lois's memory stirred … where had she heard that phrase recently? "You're going to leave now. Ms Lane can do without your company."
"I'm going to leave …?"
"That wasn't a suggestion," said the newcomer, folding his arms across his chest.
Lois was staring from Superman to Superman, her mouth agape. Of course! The man she had been seeing recently wasn't really Superman! Why hadn't she guessed? She knew she couldn't have been so wrong about her hero's character! He was good and kind and gentle, just as she'd thought. "S-Superman!" she gasped, "I'm s-so glad to s-see you!" she ran straight into his strong, comforting arms.
"It's all right, Lois," he told her, gathering her protectively into the crook of his arm. "Everything is going to be all right." He looked at the imposter. "You!" he said. "Out! I'll talk to you later."
"We'll see about that," sneered the imposter. But to Lois's relief, he flew away without further argument.
"It's you! It's really you!" sobbed Lois, clinging to Superman.
"Shh, Lois, it's okay. It's really me."
"I'm so glad you're not … I knew you couldn't be …" She looked up into the brown eyes, reassured by their gentle expression. "Who was that other Superman?"
"I don't know," said Superman. "But I'm going to find out."
"He was awful!" Lois shuddered. "I told Clark …" she caught her breath. "Oh, my gosh! Clark! What have I done?" She released Superman and paced a few strides away.
"What?" said Superman. "What have you done? What's the matter, Lois?"
"Clark!" explained Lois impatiently. "I told him … and now he'll think … and he went away and now he'll never …" she raced to the phone and began dialing frantically.
"Lois, what are you doing?" asked Superman.
"I have to talk to Clark," said Lois. "I have to tell him … he's not there! I have to talk to him!" She was starting to cry again.
"Lois, what is it?"
"I was so afraid for him. I was afraid that Su— that the imposter would hurt him, so I told him to go away … that I wanted to be with Superman, that I didn't love him, but he doesn't know that and …"
"It's okay, Lois, I'm sure that Clark will understand," said Superman reassuringly.
"No, it's not okay! You don't understand!" She paced back and forth wringing her hands. "You see, three weeks ago we had a fight … because of … it was nothing, really, just a silly misunderstanding, but I said some things I didn't mean, and I told him … I told him that I didn't want to see him any more! And that wasn't true! But then he went away on special assignment … he's been in Mongolia for three weeks and just got back. And I was so glad to see him, but now he'll think … after I told him …" Her voice broke.
"Lois." Superman's voice was gentle. "Clark will understand, I promise you. I know."
"No, he won't," said Lois miserably. "Unless …" she brightened, looking up at Superman, whose face had softened when she had first begun to relate her troubles. "Could you take me over to Clark's apartment?" she asked. "I'll wait for him, or maybe I could leave him a note …"
"I'll do better than that," said Superman. "I'll find him and bring him here."
Lois's face, glowing happily, fell suddenly. "Oh, but what if that other Superman comes back? I can't expose Clark to that kind of danger," she said.
"Don't worry," said Superman. "It'll be all right. I'll be around." He reached out a hand and caressed her face. "Always," he added softly.
As soon as Superman had left, Lois raced into the bathroom and splashed cold water on her face, then started to reapply her makeup. A knock at the door interrupted her preparations.
"Lois?" said Clark's voice.
She rushed to the door and flung it open. "That was quick …" One look at Clark's face, and she knew she didn't have to explain anything — Superman must have told him. She flung her arms around him and he returned the embrace, laughing happily. "I'm … so … glad …" Lois said breathlessly. She dragged him to the sofa, springing into his lap as soon as he sat down.
"Hey …" Clark laughed as she pushed him backward. She held his face between her hands, covering it with kisses.
I should tell her now, Clark thought. I should tell her that I'm Superman … He cleared his throat. "Uh, Lois," he began.
"You are the best friend I've ever had," Lois continued. "The best partner … and the only person I could ever stand to work with."
"Lois …" Let me finish what I was going to say.
"And the most caring, kind, and honest person I've ever met."
"And Superman too! I *knew* he was good, I just knew it!" Lois was rubbing her cheek against Clark's and didn't notice the look of consternation that crossed his face.
"And we're never going to fight again," Lois whispered, "… ever." She continued to rain kisses on his face.
Never going to fight again.
Clark closed his eyes. What the heck. He could always tell her tomorrow.