Submitted February 1999
Summary: Alt-Clark has finally found his Lois. But when Lois becomes deathly ill, will Clark give up everything to save her?
I'd like to thank Frances Coogan for the correct spelling of Mr. Tracewski's name and also for the name of the restaurant where Lois and Clark had their first date. Also, thanks to LabRat for confirming the spelling of Mr. Tracewski's name and for some great ideas about how to come up with a last name for Jack. I'd also like to thank Debby Stark for confirming that no last name was listed for Jack in the original scripts. I'd like to thank my Mom who got me hooked on Lois and Clark in the first place. And last, but certainly not least, to my FoLC sister, Karen Ward, who's been with me every step of the way in this story and is the most supportive and generous friend I've ever had.
Alternate Metropolis — October 6, 1998 7:50 p.m.
Clark Kent opened his door and there stood before him a sight he'd never thought to see again.
"Yes … quite."
"What are you doing here?"
"Well, my boy, I wanted to know if you'd be interested in taking a little journey."
"To find Ms. Lane."
"Find Lois? Shouldn't her Clark be helping you then?" Clark automatically came to the conclusion that Mr. Wells was referring to the woman from the other reality.
"No, my boy, we're going to find *your* Lois."
"My Lois!? Mr. Wells, the Lois of this dimension died five years ago."
"That may be, Clark, but wouldn't you like to know for sure?"
"I've been to the Congo. I've never been able to find her."
H.G. reached into his pocket and pulled out a newspaper with a bold black headline screaming from the front page:
MYSTERY WOMAN IN COMA FOR 5 YEARS
SEARCH TO IDENTIFY INCONCLUSIVE
Clark yanked the paper out of H.G.'s hand. He super read the story, scooped up the elderly writer, rocketed into the stratosphere, and arrived at the mission mentioned in the article within minutes.
"Mr. Wells, please wait out here."
Superman entered the door of the mission and stopped the first person he saw.
"Excuse me, ma'am?"
"Yes ma'am. I'm here about the woman in the newspaper article. The one that's been in the coma, that you're unable to identify."
"I believe I can identify her."
"Well, come with me." The woman led Superman down a dimly lit hallway, to the last room on the left.
"She's just in there." The woman pointed to a closed door. "You can go on in, if you like. I'll just leave you alone."
Superman just stood there in front of the closed door, gathering his thoughts and his courage. This could be what he'd been waiting for since he'd met the other Lois. This could be *his* Lois. The one he was destined for.
The Man of Steel reached for the doorknob and noticed his hand was trembling. He turned the knob and the door swung open soundlessly.
Superman walked into the room slowly, tentatively, making his way to the slight figure laying on the bed.
His heart rate increased. It was her. She looked angelic and so fragile. Her long brown hair was spread out on the pillow and he longed to touch it but dared not.
He sat down on the bed beside the woman he'd already grown to love, careful not to disturb her. He knew that he couldn't wake her but she looked so delicate, like she'd break if he moved her.
He reached out hesitantly, cupping her face in his hand.
"Lois," he said gently, "come back to me."
Her eyelids fluttered and before he knew what was happening he was looking into the most beautiful pair of eyes he'd ever seen.
"I heard you calling," she whispered, "I heard you calling."
"Where am I?"
"You're in a mission in the Congo."
"How long have I been here?"
"Oh my God! What happened?! I must have gotten too close on that gun running story. Five years, I can't believe it's been that long. I'm sorry, I know I'm babbling. I do that sometimes. Who are you?"
"I'm Superman er … Clark Kent."
"It's a long story."
"One I wouldn't mind hearing. Is there anyway I can get home?"
"I think that could be arranged. I'll be right back." With that, he left the room.
Lois Lane was astonished. She'd been in a coma for five years and she'd been brought back by a Greek God in a cape. She was pulled from her thoughts by a gentle knocking on her door. A small gentleman in a long coat and a hat started walking toward her.
"Hello, my dear."
"Do I know you?"
"No, but I know a great deal about you."
Superman came back into her room.
"If you're willing to go with me, Lois, I have the permission to take you back to Metropolis." He turned to H.G., "Do I need to come back for you Mr. Wells?"
"No, my boy, I've done what I came to do. I'll be going back where I belong now. Good luck, Clark."
"Thank you Mr. Wells, for everything."
"No thanks is necessary."
H.G. Wells left the room looking at his watch with a slight smile. Soon Clark's super hearing picked up a slight blip and he knew the man who'd given him the world was gone.
Clark turned to Lois. "Are you ready to go?"
"Is there a plane available?"
"Well, actually, we don't need a plane." He said, scooping her up in his arms. Before she knew what was happening, she was flying in the arms of the gorgeous stranger.
"When did people start to fly?" She said in a surprisingly calm voice.
"People don't, Lois. Just Kryptonians."
"What's a Kryptonian?"
"Someone from the planet Krypton."
"You mean, you're an alien?!"
"Yeah, but don't make it sound like a bad thing."
"Oh, no, it's not a bad thing. I like the flying." Even though Lois knew she should be mind boggled by this flying man who claimed to be >from another planet, she wasn't. Something in his eyes told her she could trust him. Despite these unbelievable circumstances, something about him just made sense to her.
Superman laughed out loud. "I'm glad you do, Lois. We're almost to Metropolis. Do you have any relatives I can take you to?"
"No, I don't. My parents died shortly before I went to the Congo. It was a car crash. I have a sister, but there's no telling where she might be. I'm sure that my apartment's been rented to someone else by now."
"Would you like to stay with me?"
"Oh, Clark, I couldn't impose on you like that."
"It's not an imposition, Lois, really."
"Then I couldn't think of anything I'd like more." Lois surprised herself by her readiness to accept this stranger's hospitality. Even though she'd known him such a short time, she felt a bond with him like she'd never felt with anyone she'd ever met before.
Just about that time, Superman started making his descent. He landed on the patio of the apartment on Clinton, setting Lois carefully on her feet.
She wobbled slightly, nearly losing her balance.
Clark reached out an arm to steady her. "The first time you fly can be somewhat unsettling and you've also just come out of a coma so," he swept her back up in his arms, "you should probably start out walking gradually."
Clark carried Lois into his bedroom, laying her gently down on the bed.
"Clark, I can't take your bed. Where will you sleep?"
"On the couch. It's no big deal, Lois, you need the rest more than I do."
He turned to leave but Lois's whispered words, barely audible to a super ear, stopped him.
"Thank you, Clark."
Morning found Clark's superhearing waking him from a sleep filled with dreams of Lois.
"Help! Superman, Help!!"
Stopping only long enough to leave a note for Lois beside the bed, he was gone.
About half an hour after Superman left to save the day, Lois stirred and came fully awake. For the first couple of minutes she had trouble remembering where she was, but a glance at the note on the table, quickly fixed that problem.
Lois — Superman was needed. Make yourself at home but don't overdo it.
Lois sighed, rolling her eyes slightly. Her stomach growled loudly as she swung her legs over the side of the bed.
"Well," she thought, "I might as well see if my legs will work any better this morning."
Lois stood up slowly, wobbling like a newly born colt. She made her way into the kitchen, taking one small step at a time, all the while unsure if the next step wouldn't find her sprawled out on the floor.
She made her way to the kitchen in search of something to eat.
Figuring Clark hadn't had time to eat breakfast and wanting something herself, she started rummaging around and scrounged up the ingredients to fix pancakes, eggs and sausage.
Something told Lois that soon Clark would be home so she started setting the table for two. She looked up as she heard a not yet familiar sound. Clark came through the door wearing jeans, a flannel shirt and no glasses. He took her breath away. Her knees became weak and it had nothing to do with her recent illness.
"I fixed breakfast." She said, surprised that she cold even form words that would come out of her mouth.
"Lois, this smells wonderful. You really outdid yourself. I can't remember the last time I had a home cooked meal." He sat down across from her heaping his plate full of the succulent food. "I'm not much of a cook myself, and rarely ever eat, but this reminds me of my mom's breakfasts when I was a kid." He continued to eat but noticed that Lois barely touched her food. He knew something was on her mind but he didn't know her well enough yet to approach the subject.
Finally working up her courage, she began speaking, haltingly at first, but overcoming her fear the more she explained.
"Clark, I need to ask you a favor."
"Sure, Lois. Anything."
"I'm not really sure how to say this. I'd like to borrow some money, just enough to get a decent set of clothes, so that maybe I can get my old job back."
"Sure, no problem. I'll loan you whatever you need. There are some things I need to tell you though, before you go back to the Planet."
Clark proceeded to tell her about the time the other Lois had come to this dimension, impersonating her and how she'd been the driving force that had created Superman. He was careful to leave out the part about the other Lois and Clark's marriage, not wanting to pressure her into anything before she was ready.
"Wow, Clark, that's a lot to take in. Was she just like me?"
"No, she wasn't."
"That's so strange. But, then again, five years ago I would have thought a flying man was strange, but I've adjusted to that pretty well." She said with a sly smile.
She got up, preparing to clean the breakfast dishes. She'd barely stacked two plates together when Clark zipped around her cleaning at super speed.
Lois stood there, amazed, a silly grin on her face.
"Wow!" was the only word that would come out of her mouth.
Clark stuck his hands in his pockets, hanging his head, slightly embarrassed by her adoration.
He took out his wallet and dug around until he found $200 and handed the crumpled bills to Lois.
"Clark, I couldn't possibly take all that. That's more than I'll need to buy clothes."
"Don't be silly, Lois. That probably won't be enough."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm sure, Lois."
She gave him a slightly flirtatious smile which melted his heart.
"You wanna help me shop?"
He tuned in his super hearing to make sure nothing was going on in the city.
Lois was paying for her two business suits while Clark talked to Perry on his cell phone.
"Yeah, Perry, I know we thought she was dead, but trust me, she's standing not two feet away from me, arguing with the saleslady about the price of an outfit."
"That's Lois. I'll still never be able to figure out who that other person was who said she was Lois."
Clark changed the subject. "Do you think Mr. Olsen will give her her job back?"
"I'll call him and see what I can do, son. You take care of that l'il lady and bring her by to see me real soon."
Lois walked over to join him.
"Who was that?"
"I still can't believe he's mayor. So, tell me more about this Mr. Olsen that owns the paper now."
They started their trip back to Clark's apartment and Clark took the bags away from Lois. She looked tired and he felt that the shopping had sapped the little bit of energy she'd gained.
"Well," Clark began, "he's a computer whiz kid, a genius. You really forget most times that he's so young. He's real easy to work for. He wants what's best for the paper and he believes in letting his reporters use their instincts."
Lois let out a long sigh, "I just hope he lets me have my job back."
"He'd be crazy not to."
Clark's super hearing kicked in and he glanced up at the sky.
"What? What do you hear?" Lois asked almost instinctively.
"Gunshots." He handed her his apartment key. "Make yourself at home." With that, he took to the sky, a red and blue blur.
"I wonder if I'll ever get used to that." Lois thought out loud.
She picked up the bags off the ground where Clark had left them and continued walking back to his apartment.
She thought about the five years she'd lost and it scared her. Was she the same feisty reporter that took off to the Congo, still reeling from her parents deaths, in search of a story bigger than any she'd ever covered before? Did she still have that tenacious spirit that drove her to be the best at anything she set her mind to? She mustn't, because she'd never doubted herself like this before. She couldn't imagine herself as anything other than a reporter, but she didn't want to be something she no longer had the talent to be.
"Oh, girl," she said to herself, "snap out of it! the least you can do is try. Besides, you don't even know if you still have a chance at a job."
She walked up the steps to Clark's apartment, opened the door, entered and sat the bags down beside the door.
She leaned back against the door as a wave of dizziness hit her like a ton of bricks. The dizziness overtook her and she crumpled to the floor.
Across town, Superman was catching all of the five rounds of bullets being shot at him, reducing them to a pile of dust. He flashed back to the time when the other Lois had taught him to be Superman and he'd gotten shot at for the first time in his life. Up until that point, he hadn't known bullets would bounce off him without even leaving a scratch.
He apprehended the two criminals who had unsuccessfully tried to rob the convenience store and turned them over to the police. He took to the sky, anxious to get home, to get back to Lois.
It took him no time at all to get home, but when he tried to open the door, something stopped it. He x-rayed through the door to see what was holding it. He was stunned to see Lois in a heap on the floor. He ripped the door off it's hinges and set it aside. He rushed to her side, nudging her gently, pain contouring his face.
He did the only thing he could think of , he picked her up and flew her to Metropolis's Woodland Heights Hospital.
An hour later the doctor came out to talk to Clark.
"Hello, Superman, I'm Dr. Bernard Klein." He said, extending his hand to shake Clark's.
"It's nice to meet you, Dr. Klein. What's wrong with Lois?"
Dr. Klein sat down next to Clark.
"Well, Superman …"
"Please, call me Clark."
"Clark, we're not really sure exactly what is wrong with her. She's got a disease that's causing all of her organs to systematically shut down. I'm really very surprised she's survived this long. I'd give her another 4 months at most before she dies. I'm sorry Superman … er … Clark."
"Thanks for letting me know, Dr. Klein. Can I see her?"
"Sure you can. But, she's heavily sedated."
Dr. Klein led Clark to a small recovery room.
"I'll leave you alone."
Superman walked over to the bed and realized that Lois's eyes were open.
She blinked her eyes rapidly and her voice sounded like her mouth was lined with cotton, but she managed to say, "Hi, Clark."
"Wha … What's wrong with me?"
"Nothing, you're going to be just fine."
"Liar. I can see in your eyes you're hiding something from me." Lois felt that the drugs were overtaking her again, and managed to lightly grasp Clark's hand before she drifted back into slumber.
Clark brought her hand up and kissed it tenderly. He didn't know if it was worse to have never met her than to have her for such a short time. He decided he'd rather have one moment with her than a lifetime without her. The Man of Steel knelt down beside her bed, his long, flowing cape spreading out behind him. He continued to hold on to her hand as if his breaking that contact would seal her demise.
He leaned his head back and cried out in a mournful voice, "Please, God, don't take her from me."
Two Hours Later
Clark was still kneeling on the floor, Lois's hand gripped firmly in his.
His head shot up. He had an idea, an idea that would probably save her life.
He got to his feet and reluctantly laid Lois's hand back down on the bed. He leaned down, kissed her forehead and whispered, "I love you, Lois and I'm going to do my best to save you."
Superman left the room in search of Dr. Klein, anxious to have an expert opinion about his idea. He approached the nurses' station and was met by a tall, middle aged woman with large wire framed glasses.
"Hello, Superman, what can I do for you?"
"I'm looking for Dr. Klein. I need to talk to him about something *very* important."
"I'll see if I can find him, meanwhile, you can wait in the doctor's lounge." She pointed in that direction.
Superman made himself at home in the doctor's lounge, pouring himself a cup of coffee and getting comfy on the sofa. If felt good to just relax for a minute, but Lois was never far from his mind. He'd been sitting there for twenty five minutes when Dr. Klein finally entered the room.
"You wanted to see me, Superman?" He said, shutting the door behind him.
"Yeah," the word came out as one long sigh. Clark ran his hand through his hair, contemplating how to broach the subject.
Dr. Klein poured himself a cup of coffee and joined Clark on the sofa.
"Well, spit it out, Superman."
"I have an idea that might be able to save Lois. I'm not real sure of all the particulars, so I thought I'd tell you. Being a doctor, I thought you could get me in touch with the right people. I was thinking, if there was some way to transfer some of my powers to Lois, then she wouldn't be sick anymore. I mean, I've never been sick a day in my life and almost nothing hurts me, except Kryptonite, so it stands to reason the same would be true for Lois if she had a measure of my powers."
Dr. Klein got a pensive look on his face. "That's a very interesting theory, Superman. I do some freelance work at a place called S.T.A.R. Labs. I'm willing to bet that a certain doctor Karen Waren and myself could come up with a way to successfully transfer some of your powers to Lois, but I'm not sure we could figure something out in time to save her."
"But, you will try, won't you, Doctor?"
"Yes, of course. She means a great deal to you, doesn't she?"
"She means everything to me."
Dr. Klein patted Superman on the back. "I'll do everything I can. Now, why don't you go back and look in on Lois and head home? You look tired and it's my understanding that Superman doesn't get tired."
"Thanks, doctor, for all of your help."
"It's my pleasure." Dr. Klein left the lounge and soon after, Superman followed, making his way back to Lois' room. She was still sleeping, of course, and he went to her side. He again raised her hand to his lips, kissing it softly. He marveled at how tiny her hand was compared to his.
"Don't worry, Lois," he whispered, "It's all going to work out just fine. I'm not going to let you go, Lois, not now that I've finally found you. I love you." With that, Superman flew out of the hospital and soared high in the clouds. He flew slowly, not wanting to go home alone now that he'd shared his apartment with Lois. He'd been alone so long and one and a half days with her had taken all of that pain away. He'd failed the other two people he'd cared most about, his parents, but he wasn't going to fail Lois. He couldn't.
Superman took a detour by the mayor's house. He changed into 'normal' clothes. It seemed that most times people dealt with Clark a lot easier than Superman. Clark had come to think of the Whites as his surrogate parents. He came to them with every problem and they treated him just like a son. The Whites had been unable to have children so it was only natural for them to transfer the love they'd been ready to give to a child of their own, to an orphaned boy from Kansas.
Clark rang the bell, even though he'd long ago been given a key to the door.
Alice opened the door and launched herself into Clark's arms, hugging him tightly.
"Clark, you've got to quit being such a stranger around here, you haven't been to dinner in weeks."
"I'm sorry, Alice, Superman's been keeping me really busy."
"Come in, sit down. Can I get you anything?"
"No, I'm fine, I don't have much of an appetite. Is Perry here?"
"Yeah, he's on the line with a senator or something, he should be through pretty soon. Something on your mind?"
"Did Perry tell you that Lois is back?"
"Yes, he did. He's very excited about seeing her again and so am I."
"Alice, who was at the door?" Perry yelled from another part of the house.
"I'll be right out, Honey."
She looked at Clark, "I guess you heard that."
Perry came into the room, suit jacket long since discarded and shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He had a glint in his eyes that Clark attributed to his job as mayor. Clark felt that Perry was much happier with his new job than he'd ever been at the Planet.
"Great shades of Elvis, Son, you look like you've been through the ringer. What's happened?"
Clark told the Whites about Lois's illness and Dr. Klein's dismal diagnosis.
"Is there anything that can be done, something they haven't thought of?" Perry asked, the worry showing on his face.
"Dr. Klein promised he'd do everything possible."
"If you don't mind me saying this, Son, you seem pretty smitten with Lois."
"I was thinking the same thing." Alice chimed in.
Clark gave an embarrassed laugh. "Yeah, the moment I saw her I got this *feeling* like nothing I've ever felt before."
They chatted a few more minutes about Lois then Clark's superhearing kicked in.
"I've got to go," he said, then flew off to save the day yet again.
At 10:00 p.m. Clark arrived back home after several gruelling rescues from an earthquake in California.
The first thing he did was call the hospital.
"Metropolis Woodland Heights Hospital. How may I direct your call?" the nurse at the reception desk answered.
"I need to speak to Dr. Klein."
"One moment, please." The nurse paged Dr. Klein and he picked up the phone.
"Dr. Klein, this is Clark Kent, I'm calling to check on Lois."
"Her condition hasn't changed, Clark, she's been asleep most of the night, but she did wake up one time and complain of some very intense pain. I increased her pain medication and she's slept the rest of the night."
"Have you thought anymore about the power transference?"
"I did call Dr. Waren and give her the basic details. She's going to work on it tomorrow. She mentioned that she might need to run some tests on you to determine how your powers work. Call me in the morning and I'll let you know."
"Thanks, Dr. Klein."
They each hung up the phone.
Clark decided he needed a shower. The earthquake had been pretty dirty and, subsequently, he was covered in rubble from head to toe.
He took the suit off, examining it for damage before tossing it in the hamper. He climbed into the shower, turning the hot water all the way on. No cold water was needed. He let the water, only warm to his super skin, run over him, relaxing his tired body. With every wave of the water that fell over him, he wished more and more that it was that easy to wash away Lois's illness.
He felt helpless in a way he'd only known one other time in his life. That time, he hadn't been able to save the people he loved above all else in the world. He wondered if this time would be any different.
He finished his bath leisurely and stepped out of the shower. He dried himself off and slipped into a black terry cloth bathrobe, not bothering to put on clothes. He then padded, barefoot, into the living room.
Clark flung himself down on the couch. Before long sleep overcame him. His dreams were haunted with images of Lois. He saw himself running through dark, mist enshrouded woods. Up ahead he saw Lois, running, looking back over her shoulder, beckoning him with her eyes. She kept running, always out of his reach. He was frustrated and unsure what to do next. He saw a large black shadow appear in front of Lois. It swallowed her whole. He woke up screaming her name, sweat covering his body.
He quickly changed into the suit and flew back to the hospital. He floated cross-legged outside of her room and x-rayed through the wall to keep an eye on her. Had a passer-by glanced up, they'd have seen their resident super hero floating in mid air, staring at a wall, his cape billowing in the breeze.
Morning came and found Clark on a payphone in the lobby of the hospital.
"No, Mr. Olsen, I'm not going to be able to make it into the office today. I'm going to be at the hospital."
"All right, Kent, but I'll expect some overtime next week!"
"Sure thing, Boss."
Clark hung up the phone and went in search of an elevator. He found one not far from the phone and pushed the button for Lois's floor. He stopped by the nurses' station and left a message for Dr. Klein.
When he reached Lois's room he was almost afraid to go inside. He knew she was awake, but he didn't know how to answer all of the questions he knew she'd ask. He worked up his courage and opened the door.
She was sitting up in bed, eating the hospital-provided breakfast. He knocked lightly on the door to alert her to his presence.
She looked up and smiled that enchanting smile. "Hi, Clark."
"Hey, Lois. How're ya doin'?"
"Pretty good, I guess, considering. Come on in. Shut the door. Maybe if I have a visitor, they'll stop poking on me for a while."
Clark glanced at her arms and saw the many bruises that attested to the poking and prodding she had received.
"Oh, that's all I'm good for, huh?" he asked in an attempt to hide his sadness at her plight.
She laughed nervously, "That's not what I meant."
He stuck his hands in his pockets, "I know, I was just teasin'."
They shared in mutual laughter and both relaxed in the other's presence.
Clark saw Lois wince with pain before she said, "What's wrong with me, Clark? Am I going to die?"
Her bottom lip began to quiver and tears started rolling down her face.
Clark went to her bed and sat down beside her, gathering her in his arms. She broke down and let all of her fears come to the surface. She felt comfortable in a way she'd never known before and she'd only known Clark for a few days.
"Shh …" he said stroking her hair, "I'm not going to let you die, I'll do something. I'm going to be working on something with Dr. Klein and Dr. Waren."
She sat up enough to see his face. "I met her this morning, she was really nice."
"Did she tell you anything about what's wrong with you?"
"No, she didn't. Nobody around here will tell me anything. You want to tell me what's going on, Clark?"
He took a deep breath, let it out slowly and began telling her about her fatal illness and the grim diagnosis. He watch the emotions play across her beautiful face. Shock. Disbelief. Anger. Fear. He then explained about his idea to save her and Dr. Klein and Dr. Waren's willingness to help.
"You'd give up some of your powers for me?" She asked.
"Of course, Lois."
There was a knock on the door and Clark never got to answer her question.
Dr. Klein entered the room, looking intently at a chart.
"Well, Lois, how are you feeling today?"
"Pretty good, Doc, I'm just in a little pain."
"I decreased your pain medication so you could wake up for a while. But, if you're uncomfortable, I'll increase them a bit as soon as Clark leaves. By the way, Clark, Dr. Waren wants you at S.T.A.R. Labs as soon as possible. I'll be back in a bit." And as quickly as he'd entered the room, he was gone.
Clark stood up and ran his hand through his hair.
"I guess I'd better get going."
He bent down and kissed her lightly on the cheek. She turned her head slightly until their lips met. It was a kiss of hope and a promise of things to come.
Dr. Karen Waren was preparing things for her testing session with Superman. She was a beautiful woman in her early 20's and already a celebrated scientist.
She glanced up as she felt a breeze blow her hair and Superman flew into her laboratory.
He approached her and extended his hand to shake hers. "It's very nice to meet you, Dr. Waren."
She tilted her head to the side and said, "Hmm … I've never noticed this before, but you look a lot like my husband Dean."
She picked up a silver framed picture off her desk and showed him.
He was surprised to see someone who bore such a striking resemblance to himself.
"Well, Superman, if you don't mind, I'll need you to go behind that curtain and change into this gown."
Superman looked at the bit of cloth in his hand.
"This has no back."
"I've always wondered myself why they make them like that."
Superman laughed and went off to do as told.
Dr. Waren began calibrating her machines in preparation for the tests she planned to run on the Man of Steel. She was very excited about the possibility of being the doctor to discover a way to transfer Superman's powers. Of course, she knew she'd never be able to tell anyone and the information could never be used again, but it would be very self-satisfying to know she'd accomplished something this, well, super.
The Daily Planet — Same Time
"So, you see, Mr. Olsen, I believe I could bring good things to your paper and I'm very excited about working here."
"Well, welcome to The Planet, Mr. Luthor."
"I'll explain each part of the tests to you Superman …"
"Please, call me Clark."
"Okay, Clark, as I was saying, I'm going to explain things as I go along. First, I'd like to see how your heat vision works."
The tests went on into the wee hours of the morning. Dr. Waren took pages and pages of notes and by the time she let Superman leave, she had a pretty good idea of how to begin.
Superman flew back to the hospital to take his post outside of Lois' window.
Again morning found Clark on his way up to Lois's room. This time, he wasn't hesitant about entering.
She greeted him with a cheerful, "Good morning."
She looked better than Clark had seen her and seemed to be feeling more alive than most days.
"Good morning," he replied, shutting the door behind him and walking toward the bed. "You seem to be feeling better."
"Yeah, Dr. Klein gave me some very strong pain killers, but the good thing about them is they don't make me drowsy. So, if I have to be in here, this is the best way to be. Did you see Dr. Waren?"
"Yeah, she seems very confident that she'll be able to make the transfer."
She got a pensive look on her face. "Clark, do you realize what you're doing?"
"Yes, Lois, I do."
"Why are you doing this for me?"
"Because I help people, Lois. You need help."
"I'm not saying I'm not appreciative, because I am. It's just, I don't understand why you'd do something like this for me."
"You will eventually, Lois, trust me."
"I trust you. Now, why aren't you back at work?"
"Because I'm here with you."
"Well," she said, "I won't tolerate it anymore. I'm kicking you out of my room, Mr. Kent, go back to work!" She was struggling to keep the corners of her mouth down.
"Yes, ma'am. I'll be by tomorrow. You take care of yourself." He leaned forward almost kissing her but decided against it and cupped her face in his hand instead and then he left the room.
"I will." she whispered.
Clark arrived at the Planet reluctant to get back to work and only doing so because Lois wanted him to.
There was a note on his desk asking him to report to Mr. Olsen as soon as possible.
He decided to get it over with sooner rather than later and made his way to Mr. Olsen's office.
He knocked gently, then entered. "You wanted to see me, Boss?"
"Yes, Kent. I've hired a new reporter, Lex Luthor, and I've also just gotten off the phone with Ms. Lane who I've hired as well. Lane will be working out of the hospital until such time when she can return to the newsroom. I'm going to partner her with Luthor. I want two reporting teams working for my paper; therefore, I'm partnering you with Catherine Grant."
"Eureka!" Dr. Waren yelled as she stared, amazed at the glowing purple compound she'd made that morning. It had all the properties of Kryptonite except the one that made it dangerous to Superman. It was her discovery and she named it 'Ultra K'. It was her theory that if Ms. Lane and Superman were touching and a laser was shot at them through the Ultra K, Superman's powers would be duplicated in Lois's body. Not transferred, but duplicated, giving both of them equal powers. All that was left was the test.
She picked up the phone and called the Planet.
"Mr. Kent, this is Dr. Waren. I've got it."
He didn't even bother saying goodbye, just hung up the phone. He turned to his newly acquired partner, "I've got to go, Catherine, I'm sorry."
He left the Planet, a blur, on his way to the hospital.
Lois was surprised when she saw Clark, as Superman, enter her room. Something about him in that suit took her breath away.
"What is it, Clark?"
"Dr. Waren's figured out a way to transfer the powers."
"Well, let's go!"
He scooped her up in his arms and took to the sky.
"Are you nervous, Clark?"
"It'll be okay, Lois, I promise."
They arrived at S.T.A.R. Labs and Clark continued to carry Lois.
"I think I can walk, Clark."
"I'm not going to risk it."
They both laughed, their tensions easing.
They found Dr. Waren in her lab setting up the components for the experiment.
"Hello, Superman, Lois."
"Hi, Dr. Waren." They both said.
"I'd like you both to sit down on that couch right over there," she said, indicating said sofa. "Lois will need to be in your lap and you'll need to wrap your arms around her, tightly."
Clark walked over to the couch and sat down, gathering Lois close.
Dr. Waren had the Ultra K positioned where the laser would pass through it and hit Superman, thus creating an aura that would duplicate the powers in Lois' body.
She explained the procedure to them.
"What's Ultra K?" Clark asked.
"Basically, it's synthetic Kryptonite without the properties that make it harmful to you."
"You're pretty smart to figure that out, it's a shame you won't be able to tell anyone of your discovery," Superman said.
"I understand you wouldn't want this information getting out, I'm prepared to let you destroy all of my research notes and the specimen of Ultra K as soon as we finish the duplication."
"Thank you, Dr. Waren."
"Don't mention it. Just next time I have an accident, one of you come save me. Now, both of you, close your eyes. Lois, are you okay? You look a little pale?"
"I'm fine, just a little nervous."
"Okay, on the count of three I'll switch the laser on. The beam will last ten seconds and when it shuts off, Lois, you should be Super. 1 … 2 … 3!"
The laser shot through the Ultra K, engulfing both Superman and Lois in the purple haze. Eventually, the haze subsided and the laser shut itself off.
Dr. Waren took off her safety goggles and walked over to the couch. Both Superman and Lois seemed to be coming around.
"How do you feel? Lois?"
"I feel a little dizzy but better."
"Well, I want you to try to get up and walk around."
Lois eased herself off Clark's lap, testing out her legs which had failed her on several recent accounts.
She jumped a little and started to float but fell right back down to the ground
"Whoa!" She said with a huge grin on her face.
"Clark, I think you'll have to teach me how to work these things."
"Will do." He was laughing as Lois would float up and back down over and over.
"So, Superman, really all that's left to do is for you to destroy all of this." Dr. Waren indicated the numerous sheets of paper and the Ultra K she'd placed in an empty waste basket.
Superman focused his heat vision on the items which ignited almost instantly and eventually burned to nothing.
Lois walked over to Dr. Waren and hugged her.
"Thank you for giving me my life back."
"You're welcome. You take care of our super hero."
"I'm going to."
Everyone said their good-byes and Superman scooped Lois up into his arms, taking to the sky.
"Can't I fly myself?"
"Not until you learn how."
"And how do I do that?"
Clark landed in an empty field.
"By having a little fun. First I want to teach you how to use your x-ray vision, it's the easiest one to use. Just focus on something, concentrate and soon you'll be able to see through it."
Lois squinted at the ground, hands on hips and concentrated.
"You have to give it time, Lois, before it starts working."
Lois resumed her previous position. Suddenly, she saw layers of the ground peel back and she was looking deep into the Earth.
"Wow!" she said, a permanent grin plastered on her face.
"Do you think you could do it again, Lois?"
She focused again at the ground and the same thing happened, only quicker.
"Yeah, that was easy. What's next?" She had the look of a kid at Christmas.
Superman turned to a small puddle next to them and froze it with his super breath.
"How'd you do that?" Lois asked, wide eyed with wonder.
"Well, it's just like exhaling, only harder. Here, I'll melt it, then you try it."
He focused his heat vision on the puddle until the heat started making it bubble.
"How'd you do that?"
"One thing at a time, Lois. Now, freeze the puddle."
Lois exhaled, hard, and the puddle froze.
She jumped up and down, clapping her hands with childlike glee.
"Now, melt it."
"How do I do that?"
"See if you can figure it out."
Lois tried looking at the puddle many different ways before she found the right one. The ice melted and the puddle started bubbling.
"Ha! I did it!"
"Okay, Ms. Hot Shot."
"Yeah, Super Duper?"
"I'll race you to that tree."
"Okay," she said, "on the count of three."
The counted together, "1 … 2 … 3!"
Clark made it to the tree before her but Lois was amazed at how fast she made it from point A to point B.
"Wow," she said, "this is so cool. Can I learn to fly now?"
"Sure, first you need to float, I think you've already figured that out a little."
"Yeah, I can float." And she demonstrated her newly found ability.
Superman floated up beside her.
"Take my hand. Do you trust me?"
She placed her hand in his, "I trust you."
He took off flying, fast, holding tightly onto her hand.
"This is so fun!" Lois said, amazed that she'd soon be able to do this herself.
When Clark reached the desired altitude, he let go of her hand.
She wavered, slightly, but soon had the hang of it and was keeping up with Clark.
"Where do you want to go, Lois?"
They flew a few more minutes and Clark indicated they should land.
They touched down by a beautiful river.
"Where are we?" Lois asked.
"The Seine River. Monet painted it in many of his works."
"I should have recognized it, I love his paintings. Clark?"
He turned to face her, their bodies almost touching. "Yeah?"
She laid her hands on his chest and looked up into his eyes. "How can I ever repay you?"
"You don't have to, Lois, I did it because …"
He caught himself before he said anything more.
"Because you *needed* me."
"You're a strange one, Clark Kent, but I think I've got you figured out."
She reached up and kissed him, lightly at first but with more confidence when he didn't pull away.
Clark was hesitant of these feelings Lois was showing him. He feared they were a result of her gratitude over his helping her. And, as much as he wanted her, he didn't want her that way.
Some time later their kiss ended and they just stood there, looking into each other's eyes, searching the other's soul for a sign there might one day be something between them.
Clark was the first to find his voice.
"I think we ought to get back to Metropolis."
They arrived at Clark's apartment in no time at all and ran into Clark's landlord, coming out of the apartment next to Clark's.
"Is 342 open?"
"As a matter of fact, it is. Fully furnished, $950 a month."
"I'll take it!" Lois said out of nowhere.
"Lo-is," Clark said, "where are you going to get the money? You know you can stay with me."
"Mr. Olsen sent some money to the hospital this morning, sort of a signing bonus." She turned to Mr. Tracewski. "Here's the first month's rent."
"Here's the key. You can come by my office tomorrow and sign the lease. Clark can give you the directions," he said and continued on his way.
"Well, neighbor, I'm going to see if I can get settled in my new apartment. I'll see you in the morning. Goodnight, Clark."
342 Clinton 11:30 p.m.
Lois was tossing and turning on her bed, unable to sleep because of all the cries for help she heard.
When she couldn't take it anymore, she flew as fast as possible to the 24 hour Costmart. She bought bolts of teal, purple, pink and yellow material. She was back at her apartment by 11:50 and had a costume whipped up by 12:05. It was a purple form-fitting suit with a teal cape. Touches of pink and yellow spread throughout.
She looked at herself in the mirror and was pleased with what she saw.
"Now," she thought, "I need a name… Ultra Woman," she said out loud, inspired by the Ultra K which had made it all possible.
She heard the latest call for help and took off in that direction.
A train on the East side of Metropolis had derailed and plowed into four cars.
She leaped into action, pulling people out of the rubble. She felt someone tap her on the shoulder.
"Lois, what are you doing here?"
"Helping people. Now, if you'd excuse me, I've got to get the last person out."
"No, you don't," he said and rescued the man himself.
"I think we need to talk, Mr. Kent." The words came out through gritted teeth. She took to the sky, instinctively knowing he'd follow her.
"What are you trying to pull, Kent?"
"You can't be this," he said, gesturing wildly at her suit.
"I'm not sure at what time you appointed yourself my guardian, but it stops *RIGHT NOW*. I'm not going to stand around while people call for help, knowing I can do something about it. I'm not that kind of person."
"People are going to wonder how you got your powers. Neither one of us can afford people finding out about it. Did you think of *that*? Of course you didn't."
"Yes, actually, if you'd stop domineering for a second and listen, I'd tell you what I've come up with."
She put her hands on her hips.
"I'm simply going to tell everyone I'm also from Krypton."
He just rolled his eyes and flew off.
The Planet newsroom was alive with activity. Everyone wanted to be the first to pull in the story about the newest super hero.
Lois entered the newsroom, impeccably dressed and radiating confidence.
She found Lex Luthor's desk and threw the "Ultra Woman" story in front of him.
"That's the biggest story since Superman and I'm your new partner, Lois Lane."
She sat down on the corner of his desk while he read the story.
"That's a nice piece of journalism, Ms. Lane. I see why they say you're the best."
"Thanks, Lex. Please, call me Lois, we're partners now."
"Sure thing, Lois. Now, shouldn't we turn this in to Mr. Olsen?"
"That's precisely what I was thinking. Great way to start my career back by beating Kent and Grant out of an exclusive."
Lex handed the story back to Lois and they walked toward Mr. Olsen's office.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw Clark enter the bullpen, a good-looking woman, presumably his partner, Catherine Grant, hot on his heels.
"Hello, Lois, it's nice to see you up and about. Let me introduce you to my wife." James Olsen said, indicating the lovely blonde standing next to him.
She extended her hand to Lois.
"It's so very nice to meet you, Ms. Lane. I'm Mayson Drake-Olsen."
"It's nice to meet you too, Mrs. Olsen." She turned to her boss, handing him the papers in her hand.
"This is the Ultra Woman story. I conducted an exclusive interview with her early this morning."
"This is excellent work, Ms. Lane."
"Lex can fill you in on the details of the story he's been working on and that can be your first collaborative work."
With that, Lex and Lois were on their way.
Across the newsroom, Clark had eyes only for Lois. He hated seeing her work with someone else and he hated that they'd parted fighting last night. He'd have to straighten things out with her soon. He'd just found her and there wasn't a power on Earth that would keep him away from her.
"… and the Police Commissioner gave a statement on those murders this morning."
"Excuse me, Catherine, what did you say?"
Catherine Grant was a classic beauty. She was sophisticated, worldly and brilliant. She'd waited all her life, only dating occasionally, for the right man. She had her sights set on Clark Kent.
"I said, there was another body found last night and Police Commissioner Henderson gave a statement about them this morning. James wants us to write an article about it, that's our newest assignment."
"Are there any suspects?"
"The Commissioner didn't name anyone, but my instincts tell me he's hiding something."
"Let's go check it out."
He helped Catherine with her coat and they left the newsroom.
Clark would have been interested to know that Lois's eyes followed him until the elevator doors shut and even then she was tempted to use her x-ray vision to keep him in her sights.
She'd slept very little the night before, between working on the story and thinking about Clark.
She didn't want to fight with him. He'd given her a new lease on life but it was so much more than that. She felt a connection with him that she couldn't understand.
Lois's head shot up as she heard a desperate cry for help. Unsure of how to get away from her partner, she simply said, "Lex, I've got to go."
"I'm sorry, there's just something I have to do. I'll meet you at the interview."
She walked away from Lex and left him gaping after her retreating form.
About the same thing was happening in the lobby of the Daily Planet.
"Catherine, I've got to go."
"I'll meet you at the Police department."
Catherine felt the breeze blow her hair as Superman ran off to save the day.
Middle of Atlantic Ocean
The boat was half way under water when Metropolis's two super heroes arrived on the scene. They simply looked at each other and started assisting the rescue effort. They tried to stay out of each other's way but inadvertently wound up running into each other numerous times. They'd just look at each other, not say a word and continue on their separate yet similar agendas.
Within an hour the wreckage was taken care of and the last person was put on the Coast Guard's boat.
With one last look at each other, Superman and Ultra Woman parted ways.
Metropolis Police Department
Clark Kent came through the door, straightening his tie. He spotted Catherine talking to an officer and went over.
"Hi, Catherine, sorry that took so long."
"No problem, Clark. This is Inspector Jack Overstreet. He's been telling me what he knows about the murders. He's in charge of the case."
"So, what do we know?" Clark asked.
"All the victims have been in their late twenties or early thirties, very attractive and all professional women. Each woman has been killed in what we've come to believe is a pattern."
"What sort of pattern?" Clark asked.
"The bodies have been found in two separate alleys. We think the next one will be in the alley off Carson Avenue. We're currently scouting the force for a volunteer to use as bait, so to speak."
Catherine got a pensive look on her face. "Would you accept a civilian volunteer?" she asked.
"We might. She'd have to fit the profile and be prepared for a little danger."
"I'd like to do it."
"Catherine, are you crazy?" Clark exclaimed.
"No, I'm not. This is something I'd like to do. One of the women who was killed was a close friend of mine. I want to do this for her and for every other woman in Metropolis. Will you let me, Inspector?"
"Yes, Ms. Grant. Come back in the morning and we'll discuss the details."
Clark and Catherine exited the precinct and hailed a taxi.
"Daily Planet," Catherine told the driver.
Lois Lane was adjusting her skirt while walking down Besolo Boulevard looking for the Cox building. She was on her way to meet Lex to interview the owner, a Mrs. Cox, who was presumably the boss of a new crime syndicate nicknamed Intergang.
As she reached the building, she met up with Lex.
"Let's go get this interview," she said.
"It's already been taken care of."
"I've already interview Mrs. Cox. I waited for you as long as I could, Lois. Mrs. Cox is a very busy woman."
"Fine!" she said, "Let's get back to the Planet." She turned to the street yelling, "Taxi!"
James Olsen left his office in search of his reporting teams.
He found Kent and Grant compiling notes in the conference room. He stuck his head in the door.
"Why don't you break for lunch?" He suggested.
As he turned around to head back to his office he saw Luthor and Lane exit the elevator and motioned them over.
"Lex, Lois, why don't you take an hour for lunch?"
Both teams took different elevators and different doors out of the Planet but they all arrived at a restaurant on Eastwood.
It was a relatively new business. Somewhat shady but it served the best food in Metropolis. It was called merely Church's.
By definition, lunch should be a time to relax and forget about the problems of the day. For the two hottest teams in Metropolis — it was just the opposite.
Catherine's mind was on the foolishly brave thing she'd volunteered to do. While Lex was thinking of the things he'd like to do to the voluptuous blonde waitress, Mindy.
But Lois and Clark's minds were following the same path. Each one was thinking of the other and couldn't keep their eyes off each other.
Back at the Planet, the moment Catherine Grant emerged from the elevator she ran into the man of her dreams.
He looked deeply into her eyes and said, "Hi. I'm Daniel Scardino, but you can call me Daniel. I'm here to fix the copier."
Catherine, never one to hold back when she really wanted something, simply said, "Would you like to go out, Daniel?"
Evening — Lex Luthor's Apartment
Lex Luthor was desperately trying to figure out what it was about his partner he didn't trust. She'd been running out a lot and didn't seem to have much interest in working with him. He was re-reading her story about Ultra Woman when it hit him.
"Aha!" he said aloud, "I've got you figured out little Ms. Lois Lane, or should I say Ultra Woman?"
On opposite sides of Metropolis, Superman and Ultra Woman were starting their nightly patrols.
They'd each stop every now and again to take care of minor disasters. With each task, they grew ever increasingly closer to each other.
They met up in the sky over the Daily Planet.
Before Lois could fly off, Clark grabbed her hand.
"Would you come with me, Lois? There's something I'd like to show you."
He took off flying, Lois not far behind him.
It wasn't long before Clark reached his destination.
Off in the distance Lois could see the remains of what used to be a farmhouse.
"Where are we?" She asked.
"This is where I used to live, the Kents' house. When they died, they left it to me in their wills. I haven't ever been able to bring myself to live here, I've only visited it occasionally."
"Clark, I …"
"Lois, I …"
"You, first," she said.
He took both of her hands in his.
"Lois, I'm so sorry. I acted like a total moron. I don't know what came over me. Of course I don't expect you not to help people. Will you forgive me?"
"Yeah, I was a total moron or yeah, you forgive me?"
They inched closer to each other, until their bodies were touching. Lois laid her head on his chest. She could feel his heartbeat underneath her ear.
"I'm sorry too, Clark. I should have discussed it with you before I went and did anything stupid. I don't know if you've noticed but I tend to act before I think."
"Yeah, I've noticed. That's just one of the many things I love about you."
"What did you say?!"
"I said, I love you, Lois."
"Oh, Clark." There was a catch in her voice and tears glistened in her luminous eyes.
"You don't have to say you love me, Lois."
"I can understand that it's much too fast for you to feel anything for me."
"But, Clark, I …"
"I'm content with just being friends."
"Clark, if you'd stop and listen for a second, I'm trying to tell you that I love you too."
A look of utter disbelief crossed his face before he picked her up, spinning around with her in his arms.
He put her back on the ground and said, "Lois, there are a few other things I need to tell you."
"What is it?"
"Do you remember what I told you about the other Lois?"
"Yes, of course I do."
"Well, that's not the whole story." He then came clean with her about the other Lois and Clark's marriage and reporting partnership.
She stood still a few seconds, absorbing all the information. She finally said, "Things are certainly different."
There was an awkward silence, neither one knowing quite what else to say. Slowly, they leaned toward each other and finally their lips met.
It was a kiss filled with joy and they became lost in each other. So distracted were they by the touch of the other, inch by inch they floated higher into the sky. As the kiss deepened, they floated in front of the moon.
A long while later, they finally pulled away and revelled in the bliss of being together.
They both glanced down at the same time and realized they had left the ground.
"I guess we got a little distracted." Clark said.
"Clark, what's that?" Lois asked, pointing at a patch of ground that seemed to be glowing.
"I don't know." He replied, floating them down to the place in question.
He flung away two feet of dirt before he found the round, glowing object.
As soon as Clark's hands were around the globe, a man appeared.
A hologram, by appearance, he wore long, white robes and exuded royal power.
Lois and Clark both stood transfixed by the image. And then, it started speaking.
"My dear son, if you are hearing my voice and seeing this hologram it means you have made it to adulthood, for only after twenty winters could your touch activate this globe.
"There is so much I want to tell you, Kal-El. Our planet is slowly destroying itself so your mother and I have researched and found a planet to send you to. It is called — Earth.
"The inhabitants are just like our people and you should have no trouble settling down and having a family.
"The only difference is the sun. Our planet, Krypton, has a red sun and Earth's sun is yellow. I'm not sure what effect that will have on you.
"Time grows short, my son, and I must say my farewells. Remember that your mother and I both loved you dearly and had there been any way to save all of us, we would have."
As suddenly as the image had appeared, it was gone.
Silent tears were falling down both Lois and Clark's faces. She went to him and gathered him in her arms.
"Come on, Clark. Let's go home."
He handed Lois the globe and scooped her up into his arms, taking to the sky. She didn't bother to point out she could have flown herself. She felt he needed this contact with her and she was prepared to give him everything he needed for the rest of his life.
When he arrived at her apartment, he set her back on her feet.
She smoothed his hair back and reached up, kissing him lightly.
"I love you, Clark Kent," she whispered against his lips.
"I love you, Lois Lane," and he turned around and took off toward his apartment.
As Lois entered the door, she noticed a plain manila envelope on the floor.
She bent down and picked it up. It had a strong smell of men's cologne and cigars.
Inside she found a note written in bold black letters:
I know your 'Ultra' secret and if you don't want everyone else to know, I'll expect payment. I'm not talking monetary payment, I'm sure we can find some interesting way for you to appease me, say, on your back. We'll talk about the details later.
Lois was inwardly seething. The nerve of that man! She hadn't liked him from the moment she'd met him. She'd sensed something sinister just underneath the surface of his polite facade.
She was more than angry and took to the sky, causing a sonic boom in her wake.
She arrived at Luthor's house within minutes and knocked on the door.
It wasn't long before Lex opened the door. He was wearing a black silk bathrobe and taking a long drag from a foul smelling cigar.
"Well, hello, Lois. Come to pay me to keep my mouth shut?"
Lois sprang into action, grabbing him by his robe and throwing him roughly against the wall.
"Do you know how easily I could kill you, Luthor?"
"Don't think I'm not enjoying this little display, Lois, because believe me it definitely does something for me, but I do hope you realize I'm going to tell everyone your little secret."
"Not if I tell them first," and she dropped him hard and stormed out of the house.
It was a dreary morning in Metropolis. Lois Lane stood alone on a platform in front of the world-famous Daily Planet globe. She'd been up all night, calling all the media people she could get, organizing a press conference.
The first person she'd spoken to last night had been Clark. She'd made sure he knew what she was doing and why. He'd been very supportive and she'd had to talk quick to keep him away from Luthor.
She caught his eye in the crowd and he winked at her, mouthing the words, "I love you."
She mouthed back, "me too," then said, "People of Metropolis, may I have your attention please? Most of you know me as Lois Lane, a reporter for the Daily Planet. I'm here today to tell you that I am also Ultra Woman."
"Ms. Lane? Kim Carrigan, LNN News. Are you from the same planet as Superman?"
"Yes, I am. We're both from the planet Krypton."
"Kate Perez, Metropolis Star. Are you related to Superman?"
"No, I'm not."
"Excuse me, Catherine Grant, Daily Planet. Are you Superman's girlfriend?"
A hush fell over the crowd and Clark joined her on the platform. He looked deeply into her eyes before saying to the crowd, "Yes, she is. I realize everyone has a lot more questions but you can read all about it on the front page of the Daily Planet, thank you."
Clark put his arm around Lois and helped her off the stage.
"So, I'm your girlfriend, huh?"
"Yeah, I guess I am."
"Let's go talk to Mr. Olsen."
The elevator ride up was short but Lois and Clark took advantage of their time alone. Their arrival at the newsroom interrupted their romance.
Lois and Clark took off for Mr. Olsen's office, one agenda on their minds.
"Lois, Clark," Olsen said, "I love it that I have both Superman and Ultra Woman working for me. What can I do for you?"
"Mr. Olsen," Lois began and laid Lex's blackmail note on his desk, "I received this last night."
James Olsen read the note a few times and picked up the receiver of the phone on his desk.
"Luthor, I want you in my office, NOW!"
Before long, Lex entered the room and the tension crackled like thunder.
"You wanted to see me, Boss?"
"Yes, I did, Luthor. You're fired. I want you out of my building within the hour and I never want to see you set foot in it again." He turned to Lois, "Lois, I'd like you to go with Clark and Catherine today on the serial killer story."
Catherine stuck her head in the office door.
"Inspector Overstreet just called. He's ready for us at the station, Clark."
"Catherine, Lois is to go with you too," Olsen added.
Lex pushed past Catherine on his way out the door, nearly knocking her down. He was silently vowing revenge on everyone in that room and someday, someway, he'd have it.
"You will have a wire on and we'll be able to hear everything that is going on," the Inspector explained to Catherine.
"Superman and Ultra Woman will be tagging along not far behind too," Clark chimed in.
"Okay," Catherine said in a somewhat shaky voice, "I'm ready."
Everyone piled into the police van and took the short trip to Carson Avenue.
Ultra Woman and Superman took to the sky as soon as Catherine was deposited in the alley. Inspector Overstreet drove a short distance away and the wait began.
Catherine was leaned up against one of the walls, glancing at her watch every now and then as if she were waiting for someone to pick her up.
Everything happened so quickly it was a moment before the super heroes and the Inspector knew what was going down.
The man had jumped Catherine from behind, throwing her brutally to the ground. Before she had a chance to scream he struck a stunning blow to her face, knocking her out.
Superman and Ultra Woman swooped down, dragging the man off Catherine's unconscious body.
Superman searched the man and found a gun, a knife and a wallet. He threw the wallet at Ultra Woman.
She dug around until she found the man's license. His name was Nigel St. John.
The Super-Duo turned the criminal over to the Inspector.
Catherine came to, sitting up and rubbing her jaw.
"Did we catch him?" she asked.
"Yeah, we did." Lois answered, respect for Catherine's bravery evident in her voice.
Back at the Planet, Catherine announced that she would no longer work there after the end of the day. Her and Dan were getting married and moving to Tahiti.
Catherine decided she was too close to the serial killer story so Lois and Clark wrote the story together.
After a lovely dinner at Fouquet's, Lois and Clark were on their way home.
"I really enjoyed working together today, Clark, on that super-thing and the story."
"So did I," He said, but she could tell his mind was far away.
"What's wrong, Clark?"
"I'm not sure, I've just had this strange *feeling* all day, like something bad was going to happen."
They arrived at Lois's door.
"Well, I'm sure it's nothing. Do you want to come in?"
"No, I'd better not. You look kinda tired and I must admit, I am too."
"I'll see you tomorrow, then." She said and they parted with a kiss.
Clark couldn't shake the sense of foreboding. Even when he was home, sleep evaded him. Everytime he closed his eyes, he saw Lois being devoured by a huge black shadow.
Lois checked her messages. There were a series of call where the caller would breathe heavily and slam the phone down.
Probably Lex, she thought. But, it didn't bother her now that she knew she could take care of herself.
She put her purse down by the door and walked to the bathroom where she turned on the hot water. She peeled off her clothes and stepped in.
It felt good to relax a while and let the worries of the day wash away.
With her eyes closed and her senses relaxed, she neither saw nor heard the man creep up on her.
The first indication she was in trouble came when he wrapped a glowing green rope around her neck. Fire shot throughout her body, radiating from the place where the rope touched her neck.
"Hello, Lois. My, my but you have done something much more interesting that the other Lois ever thought of."
"Who are you?" she managed to whisper in a voice dripping with pain.
"Tempus?" a look of recognition crossed her face.
"I see the Boy Scout has told you about my little escapades with the other Lois and Clark. Well, I might have failed with them but I won't fail with you. Step out of the bathtub, Lois."
All the color drained from her face at the thought of this maniac seeing her unclothed. She'd never been naked in front of a man before and this wasn't exactly the way she'd pictured her first time.
"No," she managed to say, though her eye sight was going in and out and she was feeling weak.
"I should have known you'd be as stubborn as the other Lois. Seems that's a character flaw you Lane women can't escape, no matter what dimension you're in."
He tugged roughly on the Kryptonite rope and her body started inching out of the water. He dragged her fully out of the water and she slipped and fell to the floor. The pain of the fall hardly noticeable compared to the pain the Kryptonite was shooting through her body.
He continued to drag her semi-conscious body across the floor in an attempt to get her out of the apartment and to his car.
"This is over, Tempus."
"How right you are, Superman," Tempus said, pointing a gun at his chest. He pulled the trigger and a Kryptonite bullet tore through the Man of Steel's body.
Superman fell to the floor, the room spinning as the Kryptonite did its evil work.
Tempus grabbed a towel, threw it over Lois and escaped cleanly out of the apartment.
Clark was still conscious but he could feel himself slowly dying. He needed help and he only knew one person who could help him. Please God, he thought, let her be at her lab.
He couldn't fly, so he had to use what was left of his waning strength to walk the four or so blocks to S.T.A.R. Labs.
Dr. Karen Waren was hard at work in her lab when she felt a draft >from an open door blow her hair.
"Superman?! What's happened?"
"I … think … I'm … dying," he gasped and fell to the floor.
Dr. Waren went to work immediately, setting up a make-shift triage on the floor where he lay.
She surgically removed the bullet from where it had embedded itself in Superman's body, not far from his heart.
Almost instantly, the wound started slowly healing itself. She moved the Kryptonite away from him, putting it in a lead lined box.
It wasn't long before Superman was awake, coherent and on his feet.
"Thank you, Dr. Waren, I've got to go now, Lois is being held by a man with Kryptonite."
"Wait! Superman, I have something you'll need."
She took out two vials of purple liquid and handed them to him.
"What's this?" He asked.
"It's a vaccine for Kryptonite. I discovered it at the same time I discovered Ultra K. You swallow one and somehow get the other one to Lois and you should both be safe from the effects of Kryptonite for a while."
Superman raised her into the air and loudly kissed her cheek, then zoomed out of the lab.
"Whoa!" she said.
In an abandoned warehouse in the Hob's River district, Lois wasn't fairing as well.
Tempus had put her in a cage made of Kryptonite and sat, fascinated, watching her half-naked writhing form.
He was surprised when he saw Superman bust through the wall.
"This time it's over, Tempus."
"That spandex must be cutting off the circulation to your brain, Superman. I have a gun *full* of Kryptonite bullets and I won't hesitate to fire another one into that big, brawny body."
He picked up the gun and did just that.
Tempus was dumbfounded when the bullet bounced harmlessly off Superman's chest.
"What?!" Tempus said, "Well, the little Mrs. can still die!" and he aimed the gun at Lois.
Before Tempus had the chance to fire, Superman had jumped on him, pushing him to the ground.
Superman hit Tempus one time, to make sure he wouldn't go anywhere but it took everything in him not to continue beating him senseless.
Superman raced across the room and ripped the bars off the Kryptonite cage, flinging them away from his love.
He jerked his cape off and wrapped Lois' naked body in it.
He then opened her mouth and poured the vaccine in, forcing her to swallow.
Her eyelids fluttered and she whispered his name.
"I'm here, Lois, you're safe now."
"I've taken care of him," he said and glanced across the room.
He was stunned to see that Tempus had escaped. In Clark's haste to get to Lois, he had failed to keep his super senses tuned in.
"Clark, he's the one who made me sick. He told me all about it."
"Shh …" he said, smoothing her hair back, "It's all over now."
The Next Night — Fouquet's
Lois and Clark were enjoying dinner with the Olsens and the Whites.
"… so Dr. Waren gave me the vaccine for Kryptonite and I went and saved Lois." Clark was finishing telling everyone about their adventure of the night before.
Perry raised his glass. "To Dr. Waren."
"Here, here." The other occupants of the table chimed in.
James Olsen stood and said, "I'd like to propose a toast myself. To my beautiful wife Mayson, who just told me today that we're going to be parents."
"Congratulations!" everyone said in unison.
After a few more drinks, everyone parted ways and Lois and Clark were finally alone.
"Do you want to take a walk?" he asked her.
"How about Centennial Park?"
They could hear thunder in the distance as they walked silently through the park.
When they came to the fountain, Clark motioned for her to sit down.
He remained standing as the rain started falling from the sky.
"Do you want to go home?" she asked.
"If the Earth opened up at my feet, I wouldn't move until I'd said this." He pulled a jewelry box out of his pocket and opened it to reveal an exquisite diamond solitaire. He then knelt down and said, "Lois, will you marry me?"
"Who's asking? Clark or Superman?"
"Who's answering? Lois or Ultra Woman?"
She joined him on the ground, kneeling beside him. She then cupped his face in her hands. "I'm answering."
"I'm waiting," he said.
Their lips met in a passionate kiss and they only broke the contact long enough for Clark to slip the ring on her finger. They resumed their kiss and floated into the sky.
Only The Beginning …