By Sara Betttina <email@example.com>
Submitted: March 2001
Summary: An Elseworld Fic: A college student suddenly finds herself at the Daily Planet, making friends with Lois, Clark and especially Jimmy.
I wrote this in March 1997 and just discovered it again on my computer. Obviously, it's not only an LnC fanfic but they are in the story somewhere. I must have been in a really weird mood when I wrote it because it contains a lot of references to LnC type stuff (movies Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain were in, stuff they've done in their lives, etc.) If you're curious about the references, just ask. I am aware of some gapping holes in the plot, but perfection takes time…and talent! Oh, yeah, Lois, Clark, Perry, Jimmy, Superman, and Lex are all property of DC Comics and ABC. Teri and Dean and all their references belong to them. I own Beth, Scoggins and Chris (not that anyone would want him…)and this plot. Much thanks to my editor, firstname.lastname@example.org and to Volterra for her copyright advice. Anyway, enjoy! Comments appreciated at email@example.com
It was a wonderful spring day; a day made for skipping classes at Princeton University, where I was a student, and playing frisbee in the park, not a day for crying in the closet. But I was.
"Why am I alone? Anne's off with, ooh, Ro-ger," I said, mimicking the tone that crept into my roommate's voice every time she spoke of her boyfriend. "And here I am sitting alone, in my closet. Maybe I'm just too smart to be dependent on some guy. Yeah! Smart…and alone…and talking to a shoebox! GRRR!" I was so mad at Chris, my boyfriend of the past two years, for dumping me yesterday that I hurled the defenseless shoebox full of his old love notes against the closet wall and burst into tears. I was still sitting on the floor, sobbing, when I heard a voice behind me. I turned slowly, embarrassed that someone had caught me crying in my closet, wearing my schlumpy old bathrobe. There, leaning against the closet door, was Scoggins.
"Scoggins!" I cried, forgetting my earlier embarrassment. "How? Why? When? What?" I stumbled over my words as I tried to find out why this mystical creature was in my closet.
"Hello, Beth," Scoggins said gently and then asked, "How do you know my name?"
"I think I've always known," I said dreamily. "So, anyway, Scoggins, what are you doing here?" I asked as I tried to scrub the tear streaks off my face.
"You called me." Scoggins looked amused.
"No, I didn't," I said, growing confused.
"Well, actually, you didn't. At least not on purpose. You see, a few years ago, before you came to college, a student named Ben had this room. Ben was totally obsessed with Batman. When that light panel came loose," Scoggins pointed to the light over my desk and then continued. "When it came loose, his roommate Bob hung a sign on it that said 'To the Batcave', which gave Ben the idea to create a machine that would take him to Gotham City. Unfortunately, he programmed it wrong, so it takes people to Metropolis, Superman's hometown, instead of Gotham City, Batman's hometown. He was so disappointed he hid his invention in the wall of his closet. When you threw the shoebox full of…" Scoggins paused, picked up one note and read it aloud. "'Dear Bethy-Sugar-Lips, How will I survive the weekend? Are you sure you have to visit your parents on Christmas Day? Can't you stay here with me? There are some great football games on TV — Bills versus the Forty-Niners. We could order a pizza and I'd even let you choose the toppings. Love, your little Honey- Bun, Chris.'" Scoggins stopped reading and burst out laughing. "You actually dated this jerk, Beth?"
I blushed. "Yes."
"Anyway, as I was saying," Scoggins finally got to the point. "You accidentally started Ben's machine, so…" Scoggins paused, as if for effect. "Now we go to Metropolis."
"Metropolis, Illinois? Been there, done that." I began gathering my former boyfriend's mushy billets-doux and throwing them in the minuscule waste basket that Princeton so thoughtfully provided. Scoggins looked amused again.
"No, Bethy-Sugar-Lips, the real Metropolis. You know, where Lois and Clark and Jimmy and Perry and Lex and Superman live."
"Excuse me?" I cried, in total disbelief. "Metropolis is fictional. It's made up! Pretend! Imaginary! Fantasy! It's not real!! It's a television show, a movie! It's a comic book, for pete's sake!" I slammed the shoebox into the trash angrily.
"Oh, it's real," Scoggins said calmly. "People don't believe Metropolis is real because we don't let them."
"Yeah? And who put you in charge of what people believe?" I asked sarcastically. Scoggins was still calm.
"I'm not in charge. My job is simply to take people from this world to the alternate universe."
"I suppose Elvis is the President in this 'alternate universe'?" I asked even more sarcastically.
"No, of course not!" Scoggins said seriously. I was about to speak again when Scoggins continued. "He retired years ago. Charleton Heston is President. Now, come on! We need to leave, Beth!"
"Do I have any choice?" I asked, sighing.
"Nope," Scoggins said cheerfully. "Let's go!"
"Can I change first?" I asked, picturing myself flying with Superman wearing my old bathrobe and fuzzy bunny slippers.
"Nope again." Scoggins was so irritatingly cheerful. "Your clothing will always be perfectly suited for whatever activity you engage in while in Metropolis. It's one of the nicest features — you never have to decide what to wear."
"Yeah," I said unenthusiastically. I still doubted the authenticity of this 'alternate universe' thing but I was too emotionally drained to argue. Scoggins looked at my closet and said something that sounded like "Let viem komme mich" and suddenly I was standing on the sidewalk of an ordinary-looking city. I was embarrassed to be in public in my bathrobe, but when I glanced down I was wearing a simple, albeit short, black skirt and gray sweater. I was surprised, although not as surprised as I was when I looked up and saw the Daily Planet's signature Globe overhead.
"Omigosh! I really am in Metropolis! Wow!" I started to get really excited as I stared at the Globe. "Who needs Chris when you're in the same city as…" My voice trailed off as I heard a 'whoosh' and saw a flash of red in the clear blue sky. "Superman!" I finished my sentence and headed inside the world- famous Daily Planet. I went straight to Perry White's office and knocked.
"Hello, Mr. White. I'd like to work here," I said calmly. He didn't even look up from the masses of papers on his desk.
"Can you yodel?" he asked.
"What?" I was completely unprepared for that particular question. Finally he looked up.
"How do you think I became editor of this paper? Because I worked my butt off for this paper? Because I could sniff out a hot scoop faster'n a hound dog? Of COURSE NOT!" He was yelling by now. "It's all because I could YODEL! Now get the samhill outta my office! JIMMY!!" he bellowed.
"No, wait a second, please. Read this," I said finding a manuscript in my lap. I thrust it toward him and he glanced at it, then fell to reading it intently.
Jimmy appeared then, but appeared hesitant to come inside the office. "You yelled?" Jimmy asked without looking at me.
"Find a desk for our newest reporter, uh, what's your name, honey? Beth. Beth Copelen. Jimmy, find Beth a desk because she'll be covering the Superman beat from now on," Perry answered. I had no idea what kind of story I'd given him but apparently that did not even matter.
"Yes, sir, Chief, sir," Jimmy saluted and then turned to me. Obviously he liked what he saw, because his mouth fell open as he looked at me for the first time. I grinned happily and followed him across the newsroom. I liked what I saw, too.
As we walked I could hear Perry muttering to himself. "Jiminy Christmas, not them too! Lois'n Clark just got back from their honeymoon. Next thing ya know Jimmy and what's-her-name-Beth'll be off on their honeymoon. It just never ends."
Jimmy showed me my desk and computer and then rattled about deadlines and sources and schedules and staff meetings. I wanted him to stay, because boy, was he cute. I could see that he wanted to stay too, so I asked him to help me with my computer. He leaned across me to turn it on and I looked up. His face was mere inches from mine. We leaned closer and closer until…I felt a hand clamp down on my shoulder. I spun around and tried to avoid looking at Jimmy's blushing cheeks. Man, he was even cuter when he was embarrassed! I had completely forgotten about Chris and my earlier heartache. All I could think about was the adorable dimple that showed in Jimmy's cheek when he smiled. Perry stood over us, trying to look stern and not exactly succeeding.
"I leave you alone for ten minutes and already this happens! Lois, Clark, get over here and explain to these two why office romances are a bad idea." He spoke to someone over our heads.
"Sorry, Chief, I have to disagree. I think office romances are a super idea." Clark said, strolling toward us.
Lois grinned. "See how well I've got him trained already?" She paused suddenly as Clark looked out the window and then at his wife. Lois started speaking again, as though finishing her earlier statement. "Now show them what a good husband you are," she said to Clark, "and go get me some Choco-Choco-Monster-Chip ice cream." She smiled sweetly as Clark mumbled that he would be back soon.
Perry just shook his head. "Lois, you know that boy'd walk on water for you? Or he'd drown tryin'." Lois smiled again as Perry left and then she turned to me.
"Hi," she said. "I'm Lois Lane. That lunkhead who just ran out of here was my husband, Clark Kent. And you are?"
"Hi, Mrs. Kent," I replied casually, as though I was used to meeting real-life comic-book characters every day. "I'm Beth Copelen, the newest Superman reporter. I just started today. I think Perry hired me to take some of the load off you and Mr. Kent."
She opened her mouth to say something but we were interrupted by Perry yelling, "Beth! Superman just rescued Claudette Rocque from her husband's burning mansion. Take Jimmy and get the scoop!"
"On it, Chief," I replied as I grabbed my notebook and ran to the elevator with Jimmy practically on my heels. We were in such a rush that we failed to notice the janitor standing by the vending machines. He grinned as he spoke into his cellular phone.
"Yes, Boss, I've chosen our target. Forget Lois Lane — I've found someone much better."
Jimmy took the pictures and I wrote the story, both of which made the front page. True, the article was in the very bottom left-hand corner, but it was on the front page. I was thrilled! My first day as a reporter for the world-famous Daily Planet and I wrote a front-page article! This 'alternate universe' thing was great!
The next morning, over doughnuts at my desk, Clark congratulated me and Jimmy for our good work. "You write very well, Beth. I saw Superman this morning and he said you reported this exactly as it happened. It's really important for a journalist to have a truthful reputation and you certainly are building a good one."
I grinned. "Thanks, Mr. Kent. That means a lot, especially since you and Superman are such good friends."
"Oh, please, Beth, call me Clark. Mr. Kent is my dad." Just then, Clark stopped suddenly and muttered something about a dentist appointment before running out of the newsroom. I hid a smile, knowing what he was doing because I watched an actor play both Clark and Superman each week on television. I'd never realized how lame his excuses were until one cropped up in every conversation. Sure enough, a second later Perry yelled to me to go cover an attempted robbery at S.T.A.R. Labs, where someone had set a bomb. I ran to the elevator with Jimmy, just as before. As soon as the doors slid shut, we converged. He tangled his hands in my hair as we kissed and I wrapped my arms around his neck. We still had not separated for air when we heard laughter. Assuming it was Clark, back from his 'dentist appointment', we jerked apart hastily and turned around. It most definitely was not Clark; it was a tall dark-haired man wearing a custodial staff shirt and laughing. We blushed beet- red and I tried to wipe the lipstick off Jimmy's lips. The man stopped me.
"That's not necessary," he said harshly. I looked toward him and finally noticed the gun in his hand. Jimmy sheltered me with his body and demanded to know why we were being held up. The man laughed again.
"I'm not holding you up," he stated, gesturing at Jimmy with the gun. "I'm just kidnapping her." I tried in vain to hit the emergency button on the elevator but I missed as the man grabbed my arm.
"Over my dead body you're kidnapping her!" Jimmy exclaimed angrily.
"That can be arranged," our assailant said cruelly.
"NO!" I screamed as the man sprang at Jimmy. Jimmy collapsed on the floor. I knelt by him, sobbing, afraid he was either dead or dying, when I too blacked out.
I awoke on a huge expensive-feeling bed and tried to move. I was still wearing the same clothes, for which I was very grateful. My wrists were tied with a piece of very heavy rope. I shook my head, as though that simple gesture would have the power to reorder the universe. I wanted to be with Jimmy, in the newsroom, in the bedroom, even back in my closet, basically just anywhere familiar and safe. I tried vainly to find enough energy to sit up. Then I saw the man standing next to my bed.
"Hi, Beth, how are you feeling?" he asked kindly. I simply stared. "Speechless, I see," he laughed. "You've already met my assistant Jake." He nodded to the door, where the man from the elevator was standing. Then he continued. "And I am…"
"Lex Luthor!" I gasped.
"Ah, you know me. Interesting." Lex looked at me thoughtfully for a minute. "I suppose you wonder why you're here," he continued. "One word — Superman. You see, ever since Lois and Clark got married, Lois hasn't cared about Superman. He's only visited her once in the entire month that Lois and Clark have been back from Hawaii. I needed a new way to lure Superman to me, so I placed a spy at the Daily Planet, posing as a janitor. Jake has been quite helpful. He saw how much you knew about Superman; obviously you've done your homework. He also saw how nice Superman was to you at the Rocques' house by giving you information about the fire for your article. I read it, by the way — you write very well. Jake also saw you and Jimmy and knew that if Jimmy were involved with you, Superman would be even more likely to try and rescue you, because Superman and Jimmy are such good pals. Basically, you were a perfect target."
Jake had returned and he paused in the doorway before entering. Lex waved him in and I overheard Jake's report.
"Superman found that note I left with Jimmy's body, so he'll get started pretty soon." Lex nodded and signaled to Jake, who left the room and reappeared instantly with a tray in his hand. "The drug you were given should have worn off by now, but in case it hasn't drink this. It's oolong tea, which helps the body rid itself of poisons," Jake said as he poured the green liquid into a cup. I sat up groggily and Lex adjusted the pillows. I had to give Lex credit for being a gentleman, even while holding someone hostage.
"So what's your plan?" I asked, sipping the tea. Even though it was green, it was really good, nice and sugary. "I assume Lex Luthor always has a plan."
"Yes. Of course I have a plan. Jimmy will be found with a note stating the situation and asking Superman to meet Jake at the corner of Carter Avenue and Clinton Street. There he will find a message instructing him to go to Pricilla's Cafe and order an iced cappuccino, which will have another message on the cup, leading him to Gabby's Deli. He's going to go on a wild goose chase all over Metropolis before he eventually figures out that it's me. Then Superman will come here, where we will be waiting for him. You will be tied to the bed and surrounded by Kryptonite. Superman will be forced to give into my demand that he surrender to living life in a cage, in order for you to go free. You will be released with a heart-wrenching story stating that as Superman was rescuing you, he was fatally shot by a Kryptonite bullet, administered by an unknown assassin. That is all you will remember, as Jake is a master of hypnosis as well as a super spy, so Superman will remain here, forever my captive." Lex bowed, as though on stage after the final act of a marvelous play. I sat there, numb, with fear for Superman's, and Clark's, life. Somehow I knew Lex wasn't going to hurt me. I wasn't his target; I was just his means to an end.
I sat alone, in Lex's luxurious guest bedroom and contemplated my situation. Certainly it was rather unique to be held captive by Lex Luthor and not be in a comic book, but unfortunately, this was real life. Well, sort of.
My wrists were no longer tied but they were bruised and sore. I was free to move about the room, although calling it a 'room' was somewhat akin to calling St. Peter's Basilica a 'quaint little church.' The French doors led onto a tiny balcony, which showed quite clearly that I was several stories up. In one corner, complete with a sofa and several chairs, were a TV, a VCR, and a large stereo system. I knew Jake was still on guard outside my locked door, so there really was no possible safe route of escape. I was not worried about myself or my life because I knew Lex needed me as bait for Superman but I was worried about Jimmy. The last time I had seen him, he was on the floor of an elevator, completely unconscious. I didn't think that Jake would have killed him; knocking Jimmy out was one thing, killing him was quite another. But how long would it be before he was found?
I had confidence in Lois' investigative skills that she would put Jake and Lex together as the mastermind behind this evil plot. But waiting for her to figure it out was so boring! "How come they only show the good stuff on tv when Lois gets kidnapped?" I whined to myself. "Well, duh, because it's *interesting!* But how long can it possibly take them to find me? And what on earth am I going to do while I wait? Learn Lamaze? Teach myself to knit sweaters?"
I was becoming more and more agitated. I had agreed to come to Metropolis because I wanted to meet Superman, not because I wanted to be held captive. Lex was also becoming annoyed; he paced nervously around the room and growled every time Jake entered the room to say that Superman still had not shown up at the cafe. Lex finally decided to tie me back up and to go out and search for Superman himself. He had just scattered pieces of glowing green rock around the room in various locations when someone burst through the door. It was a bird…a plane…no, it was Superman! Superman looked kind of skinnier than before and he was wearing a paper sack on his head. I burst out laughing, which made Lex angry, so he tightened the ropes on my wrists, which made me cry out in pain. In a flash, Superman was standing over us and demanding my release. Lex was about to die of shock; there was Kryptonite all over the room and Superman still showed no signs of weakness. Superman carefully untied my wrists, which were now bleeding from the rope burns, and I saw into his eyes through the holes cut in the paper bag. It wasn't Superman; it was Jimmy!! He saw the recognition in my eyes and winked. He casually tossed the rope aside and then played with a piece of the Kryptonite on the bed. "Duck!" he said and then fired the rock straight at Jake. It hit him on the forehead and knocked him out cold.
Lex gasped audibly. "How…" he started to ask but Jimmy, aka Superman, interrupted.
"How can I play with Kryptonite and not be rolling on the floor in pain? Simple. The wonderful scientists at S.T.A.R. Labs discovered that it isn't the rock that makes me sick but the gas it gives off." Jimmy had obviously rehearsed this story. "By wearing special headgear, like this here paper bag, I am protected. It just makes me mad that I have to look like such a dork in public, and it's not a good idea to make me mad, Lex. Is it, Beth?" he asked. I shook my head, still giggling too hard to respond audibly. "So how 'bout you just come with me calmly and maybe I won't have to get mad, okay, Lex?" 'Superman' continued. At that opportune moment, the police burst in, followed closely by Lois and Perry.
"Are you okay, honey?" Perry asked, rushing over to me.
I began crying. "I'm fine."
Lois came over and hugged me. "Superman is giving his statement and the paramedics want to check your wrists, then you're free to leave. The police'll call tomorrow to get your statement. Come on, Beth." She helped me off the bed. I could hear Lex in the other room, also crying.
"My plans, my beautiful plans," he moaned. I started laughing again but I stopped when the paramedics asked me how much of the tea I had drunk.
"About a cup," I said. "Why?" They told me it was Kryptonite that had been melted and liquified. I simply stared at them.
"You mean, she drank a rock?" Perry asked and then burst out laughing. "What a great story this is gonna make!"
"Perry!" Lois scolded him. She looked rather worried, most likely wondering how Clark was going to manage to be near me and not get sick.
"I'm sorry, honey," Perry apologized.
"It's okay, Chief," I said and then screamed.
"What? What's wrong?" Lois looked panicked.
"That hurt!" I yelled to the paramedic who was poking my wrist with some tweezers.
"Sorry," he said. "The ropes are also Kryptonite and it left splinters in your wrists, which is why they're so swollen. We'll just pull them out, then we'll give you some antibiotics. I have no idea how a human will react to internalized Kryptonite. You'll want to visit your doctor soon and have this checked out." I promised and he bandaged my wrists before pronouncing me ready to leave. I was exhausted and I still hadn't seen Jimmy without his 'protective headgear.' I was just crawling into Lois's Jeep when Jimmy ran to us. He grabbed me in a hug and we stood there for several minutes. Finally we stepped apart.
"Beth, are you okay?" he asked, concern written all over his adorable face.
"I'm fine, Jimbo. Will somebody please just take me home?" I asked. Lois laughed and said she was quite sure Jimmy could handle that. She told me to call her if I needed anything. I thanked her and then asked her to thank Superman if she saw him. She looked surprised and then realized what I meant. I wasn't sure who was listening to us and I definitely did not want anyone finding out that Jimmy was playing Superman.
"Sure, if I see him, I will. But you should really thank Jimmy — he's the one who came up with this whole plan." She grinned and drove off, no doubt anxious to find her Superman.
Jimmy and I walked slowly to his apartment, not really talking but communicating just the same. Suddenly he steered me into Centennial Park. We stopped by a water fountain. He had me sit down. "You know, I've seen Lois and Clark each get kidnapped, actually several times, but I never realized how scared the other one must have been. When I woke up and you weren't there…" He started to cry.
"Hey, Jimbo, it's okay. I'm here now," I said, touching his cheek.
"I know and I never want you to leave again! Marry me," he said, staring into my eyes.
"What!" I was shocked.
"I don't want to lose you!" he said. "I…I love you," he said. I began to cry for the billionth time that day. I didn't say anything; I just hugged him as hard as I could.
I opened my mouth, knowing that I was about to say yes to marrying a comic book character, when a very unwelcome visitor appeared. "Scoggins!" I cried. "Leave me here, please!" I begged. Jimmy was stupefied.
"Who are you?" he asked Scoggins.
"This is Scoggins. You see, I'm not from here. I'm from a world where Superman is just a comic book. I accidentally found a machine that brings people from my world to yours. Scoggins brought me here. And now I have to go back and I don't want to!" I shot Scoggins a defiant look and prayed that there was some way I could stay there. Scoggins looked pained.
"We have to leave now, Beth," Scoggins said quietly. "We don't have much time before you're missed in your own world." I was devastated; two days in a row I get yanked out of my world at the most inconvenient time possible. I leaned toward Jimmy and kissed him for the last time.
"Goodbye, Jimmy. I love you," I said as Scoggins took my arm.
"Goodbye, Beth. I love you, too," I heard Jimmy call for the last time. Seconds later, I found myself in my closet, crying, again but this time for a different reason.
I now knew what it felt like to have someone really care about you, and I also knew that Chris had never loved me in our two years together like Jimmy had in our two days together. Anne found me there later that day and thought that I was still upset over the loss of Chris. She didn't believe me when I said I wasn't but she did wonder where I got the scars on my wrists. Somehow I don't think she'll ever believe the truth.
That was the original version of the story I published in 2020. It was intended to be simply a fictional novel — a made-up, fantastical adventure. But that is not what it really is. All the things told in this book actually happened, just as I have described them.
I came back to this world just seconds after I left it. I returned to my normal life, sans Chris, graduated from Princeton and eventually met and married James Justin Olsen. We had four children: James Jr.(Jimmy), Perri, Laine, and Jerome. I told this story to each of my children as a special bedtime story when they were little. As they grew older, they encouraged me to publish this and share it with others, so I did. When James died after 52 years of marriage, I decided the real truth had to be told…