By Cyad (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rated: PG 13
Submitted: August 2002
Summary: This vignette is a rewrite of the argument Lois and Clark had about Mayson in the conference room, in the season II episode "Church of Metropolis." With a twist!
Thankies: Thanks to all the readers on the MBs who sent me comments (Labrat, Chiefpam, Kaethel, Maria-Ferndez, Fortran… and I'm sure I'm forgetting some of you. Sorry 'bout that). A big special thanks to my Beta-reader, Saskia. You were of great help, and always had a good comment to throw at me. Also very grateful and special thanks to Kaethel for her patience and load of advice… Couldn't have done it without you (Si, si, j'insiste).
Dedications: To my mother… "Live a bit for yourself, you can't carry the world on your shoulders (well…)". And to my mother's mother: it's not what you can't do that matters, but what you're still able to achieve. Luv ya.
Disclaimer: Yeah well, pity the characters are not mine. I don't own them but who knows what Santie's gonna bring me for X-Mas? This is only a fanfiction, my first one actually. Good or bad, feedback is always welcome (as long as it's constructive) so, don't hesitate, email me! (Cyad puts a bullet-proof vest and one of Perry's colorful ties on, before connecting to her email box).
< > Denotes character's inner thoughts, even when chatting with their own conscience. // Denotes LL and CK's incursions or chat with Lois and Clark, or with each other. LL stands for Lois Lane's conscience, CK for Clark's one. Both are only looking and acting like humans near Saturn's atmosphere or when they're on Saturn.
"Clark she's dirty!"
"Show me the proof," he replied doubtfully, shutting the conference room door behind them. He should have known she wouldn't give up so easily, especially when she was in full digging "Mad Dog Lane" mode. But after last night with Mayson, he couldn't help but defend the New Troy D.A assistant against Lois's unfounded and, to him, unmotivated accusations.
"You don't have any proof on Snell and you're willing to go after him," she pointed out.
<I have all the proof I need against him, you should know me better than that, *partner*… Damn! She's right, I can't prove anything, only Superman could…er…>
"That's different, Lois," he softened. "I told you I have… a source," he added in an evasive way.
<Oh great, one more lame excuse. Clark Kent or the art of avoiding touchy subjects and not facing responsibilities… Like he couldn't tell me face to face he's dating Mayson…and more> she thought.
<What does he think I am to overprotect me like this? A porcelain doll? Well newsflash, buddy, I can take care of myself, I did so before you even wrote obituaries in the Smallville Gazette, and I'm strong enough to handle the truth>
/Even if it hurts and means giving up on your fantasies about you and Clark in a relationship?/
<I don't fantasize about Clark and me!>
/Of course you don't, and men read Playboy for the articles/
<Men can't be trusted>
/Ooh, I see old fears coming back/
/Clark would never do anything to hurt you and you know it/
/He's different from all the men you've met…/
"I'll tell you what's different. When Snell bats his eyes, you don't get quite so giddy!" Lois blurted out, not knowing if she was upset at her conscience or hurt that Clark didn't trust her enough. Did he think so less of their friendship that he couldn't even be honest with her about his feelings towards Mayson? As Clark's face paled in shock, disbelief and…something she couldn't quite define, she regretted her harsh words and fiery temper.
"Wh… Are you jealous?!" he spat, thrown a bit off-balance and taken aback as realization sank in. <Could she really be jealous of Mayson… was she caring more about him than she was willing to admit? Was she…in love with him…Clark?>
<Of course I am jealous! What do you think? That I should sit here and wait? You're my partner, and the best friend I've ever had…I trusted you!> Lois's mind shouted. <I shared so many things with you, things I'd never imagined I'd ever admit, unless to someone I knew I could completely rely on,> she realized, saddened.
<I've never opened up like that to anyone. Who am I gonna run to for a night chat, or when I'm up for a Mel-Gibson- and-pizza fest or…>
/When you need big, strong, comforting arms to fall into and a shoulder to cry on?/
"What!!" the drilling and high-perched voice nearly killed his super hearing. "I'm not jealous", Lois mumbled, "we're friends and partners, and whatever you do in your own time is…"
<What's her deal? How dare she…>
"…Whatever you do", Lois stressed, "I don't care unless it affects our job".
<What!! This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!> Clark mentally exclaimed.
"How is it affecting our job to say I disagree?" he argued back. " Say that you have no proof on Snell, that Church is the head of Intergang, and therefore no proof that just because Mayson works for Church she's part of Intergang. We gotta stay on track!" he shouted, naively thinking he could rally her to his point of view. But Lois obviously wanted to play the stubborn reporter here.
<As if you could make a soft and reasonable person out of her when she was like that…>
"But, you're not saying stay on track, you're saying stay away from my girlfriend!" she exploded.
She was hurt, deeply hurt. Not because Clark dared to break down all her arguments, but because he didn't seem willing to think straight when the "M name" was involved. Under normal circumstances, he would have argued a bit and then, reluctantly (or purposely) backed her up on their investigation, even if it meant ramming themselves into a dead end or proving her wrong. But when it came to Mayson's supposed <who am I kidding, established> links with Intergang, it was as if he was ready to rip her head off.
<At least he could be honest with me and tell me he's in love with Mayson. I wouldn't chase a dream then, but hang on to the safety of our friendship> Lois sighed.
<…I don't want to lose that, not on a girlfriend…and definitely not on Mayson> she silently objected.
"But she's not my girlfriend!"
<I'd never have thought that Lois could be so narrow- minded; when will she understand?>
<She's not his girlfriend?! Then…is there, could we…?>
/Yes honey, you could be partners at every level, if you only let him find his way through you and quit being so obstinate/
<I'm not obstinate!>
<Not! Oh, gimme a break, ok?>
<So I'm the one who should take the first step and forget about last night's moony eyes, tight embrace and passionate kiss?>
/I don't think this is any of your business…/
Lois's determination to nail Clark wavered a bit as she noticed the pain in his voice. But she was so offended by his demeanour that she couldn't stop herself.
"Whatever she is, she's got you wrapped around her little finger and blindfolded!"
Clark couldn't stand this any longer; the situation was hopeless. She may be a Kerth Award reporter, but she couldn't even put two and two together when it came to personal feelings.
The argument they had was just a pretext and had nothing to do with business-related matters whatsoever.
<I guess so>
"You know, if anybody's blind around here, it's you!" he pointed out and with that, left the Planet's conference room pretty upset, but not as much as Lois was.
"What is that supposed to mean!!" she wondered.
/Yeah, what was that supposed to mean, Clark?/
<You know darn well what that meant! And they call her a top investigative reporter. She beams at Superman while completely ignoring me…That is, unless she's in a lot of trouble, and suddenly remembers we're partners…> Clark answered his conscience while pouring some Oolong tea in his mug and making himself comfortable on his sofa.
He'd left the Planet a few hours ago and had flown directly to this little special place in Ireland. The spot was deserted and wild. He didn't go there very often, only when he had a tough decision to make, or wanted to be left alone or…when he was upset. Watching the waves break at the bottom of green grass and rocky cliffs always helped him release the tensions that were clouding or affecting his judgement…while eventually matching his mood. After this Irish relaxing pause, he'd gone back home.
/You're just upset. You two were getting along so well… What about enlightening her about your propensity to fly in spandex and help people?/ his conscience chimed in.
<Well, I could have told her Superman was my source but…>
/She would have asked questions you weren't ready to answer?/
<You know, you're beginning to sound a lot like my parents>
/I take that as a compliment…Now, what about Mayson?/
<Hum…what d'you mean?> Clark mentally went on, taking another long sip of tea.
/Well I thought from the beginning it was Lois's kisses you were longing after, and not those of a blonde, witty D.A assistant…/
<Hey! This is suppose to be a comforting debate, and I'd like to stress the "comforting" qualifier here>
/Well, I'm just wondering…/
<Truth is, I can't imagine my life without Lois, but Mayson…it's complicated… She saw the real me right from the beginning, where Lois is…was…whatever>
/All over Superman you mean?/
/But Lois knows the real you, the real other you too, I might add. I mean she works with Clark on a daily and even nightly basis. You're best friends and you share a lot of things, *personal* things, with each other. And just who's always there when your super alter ego's in trouble? I don't think Mayson would ever be this close to you if she knew about you extra-curricular activities/
"But this discussion is pointless, I'm not in love with Mayson!" Clark said aloud.
/Could you say that again?/
<I'm not in love with her. If you're referring to the kiss, she took me by surprise>
/Sure, and I'm the Pope/
<Honest, I didn't kiss her back. You were there, you should know…>
/Ok, let me get this straight 'cause I don't have all night: you don't love Mayson, and you can't hide from me that all you're wishing for right now is to be with Lois in a more, say…involved basis, so…/
<Why am I chickening out?>
/Why don't you make up? You could start by apologizing for your behavior/
<What? Why should I be the one to take the first step? She started it all!>
/Been around red kryptonite lately? You both are responsible for what happened/
<Really funny. I can't explain why she…overreacted>
/Here it comes… Some investigative reporter, you are…/
<But if I tell her, how will I know that she really cares about Clark and not…>
/You'll never know unless you take the chance. Now the only thing that matters is: are you willing to take this risk?/
"Trying to win over a super conscience is a lost battle." Clark sighed, spinning into his supersuit and whooshing out.
A world round tour, arson and a boat saving later, he was back, exhausted. His "duties" had temporarily helped with focusing his mind on non-Lois related subjects, although it didn't make them vanish. After a super speed-shower, he headed to bed. <Sleeping on it is worth trying,> he thought before rapidly drifting to sleep.
<Who does he think he is, leaving me with such an enigmatic sentence? I hate riddles and mysteries… Sure he did that on purpose!>
/Lois, you're being totally unfair/
<And you're becoming totally annoying>
She was fuming… She had tried to drown herself in work, but her usual cure for personal problems proved useless. So there she was, pacing the conference room, trying to compose herself and calm down a bit. <First major fight,> she hadn't even seen it coming. Clark losing his temper was the last thing she would have expected, even if he'd had every right to, considering what she'd thrown at him.
<How did I dare to intrude in his personal life like that?> she mentally cursed herself, fumbling with the wrapper of a Double Fudge Crunch Bar…
Sure, she'd argued with Clark before, on a professional basis that was, about assignments, about her propensity to jump with both feet into a story first and think about the writing of the article second, even about everyday life subjects. But these were normal "minor arguments"…that best friends and working partners faced from time to time.
That Mayson issue was too much for her to take in, and she couldn't stand it… God only knew why.
/Ooh, God's nothing to do with that at all, Lane, and you bloody damn well know it/
<I don't know what you're talking about!>
/The hell you do!/
"Oh shut up!" she shouted at her conscience, her hands clasping her head. Then, reluctantly admitting that it was beyond common sense to even think about finishing the article she was working on, she decided to call it a day, and she went back home.
~ Sad'Turn Bar, Outer Space, 1st Saturn Ring ~
/Hey there… You look worn out/
/Yeah, you too. Want a pint of that meditation enhancer?/
/Well I could use a 'connecting soulmates' cocktail…/
/That bad, huh?/
/You'd be exhausted, too, if you had a client like mine to look after!/
/You're telling me! Believe me, you couldn't find any worse than the person I'm in charge of /
/Are you challenging me?/
/You bet I am! Who's your owner?/
/ Oh, a journalist…you?/
/Well, me too, among other things…What's his name?/
/It's a she, actually. Lois Lane, from the Daily Planet. Ever heard of her?/
/You have no idea… Actually, I'm Clark Kent's conscience/
/Omigod! Well, I've heard a lot about your owner too… I probably know him better than you do, no offence/
/Oh, I doubt that; no offence at all/
/You know, I'm just wondering… There are one or two things I'd like to discuss…/
/What about the "among other things" stuff?/
/Er…we need to talk/
~ A few cocktails later ~
/I can't believe this… So he's Superman? I mean, you're flyboy's conscience?/
/Well, I don't really like the term but…from a certain angle…yes./
/I'm just trying to keep a grip on reality here… Do you have special skills too, such as, I don't know… master mind tricks, hypnotic things… can you read thoughts or block other encountered consciences?/
/Can I read minds or overcome you at your owner's expense, you mean?/
/I guess that's what I mean/
/Well, I never tried./
/Now I understand what he meant with his "if anybody's blind here" puzzling phrase… You know Lois really has me working hard on this one./
/T'was my idea actually… I would never have thought he would voice this one aloud./
<Well, it puts things into perspective; I can see his point now… I think>
<Truth is, he's not keen on apologizing first. I guess he's scared Lois might overreact again if he told her about him being…you know…>
<Well, he's got that right. Lois doesn't want to take the first step either, and she's so stubborn she's never gonna admit she's in love with Clark>
<But they're made for each other; even a blind man would see this… Sorry, I never meant to…>
<Never mind, I see your point. I guess it's up to us then?>
<Yeah. I suggest we start with dream suggestions and a hint of mind-reading>
<Sounds good to me… Yours or mine?>
<Yours definitely. I always wondered what being Lois Lane would feel like.>
She woke up with an excruciating headache. Her brain was ready to explode, or someone was having a party in there. Lois Lane had spent the previous night considering two crucial options: should she or shouldn't she call Clark and make amends, regardless of her pride and self esteem? She'd clutched at her phone, dialing Clark's number several times and invariably hanging up when the pre-recorded voice of her partner's answering machine greeted her.
She'd decided that sleeping on it would be a good thing and she'd headed to bed. She'd made herself comfortable, determined to enjoy a quiet evening working on her notes, watching a soppy movie, and eating popcorn and chocolate. She'd quickly fallen asleep, TV on, notepads, chocolate bar wrapping papers and a now empty pop-corn bowl, scattered all over her bedcover. She'd awoken sweaty, shaky and feeling really sick.
She'd had weird dreams though: she was a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like nightclub singer. Then suddenly, this out of a soap-movie guy with gel-combed hair erupted into the club and methodically started shooting a popcorn-loaded gun at everybody. So she had ducked under the piano and made her way backstage, where a tux-dressed Clark awaited her. They'd been heading to a Limo when Lois had tripped over a greasy pool and dropped into a sewer hole, falling down endlessly…before finally landing and almost drowning herself in melted chocolate, with Double Fudge Crunch bars floating on top. Then her world had faded and she was flying upwards, feeling extremely safe and free…As if she didn't have to fight anymore. She hadn't noticed the voice at first.
"I would never let you down Lois," Clark's voice had whispered.
"I know," she'd answered as his arms tightened around her waist.
<Something isn't right, I know something isn't right> she'd thought, cuddling closer in his arms and resting her head on his shoulder as he'd wrapped his cape around hers.
<Superman??> she'd wondered silently, trying to process the obviousness her brain didn't seem willing to take in. Looking up, she'd smiled at Clark's face, gently stroking his cheek before placing her hand on his chest, mesmerized as she fingered the "S".
"Superman…Clark??" she gasped, as he'd slowly taken his glasses off.
<Clark is Superman.> Lois bolted upright in bed, abruptly jolted out of her recollection.
/Very subtle, that mind suggestion of yours. Very High Conscience University Advanced Studies Department style…/
/Oh yeah? Well let's see what you can do… Mastermind!/
"Clark is Superman ?!!" The thought temporarily overcame the headache.
/Yep, Clark is Superman./ LL popped in.
/Who did you expect, Spiderman?/
/No, I just… Who are you, anyway?/
/He's CK, Clark's conscience; don't pay attention…/
<Clark's consc…Omigod… This is it, I'm crazy!> Lois mentally exclaimed, hardly reaching the kitchen, sitting herself down as two aspirin pills slowly dissolved in water. Closing her eyes, she pulled the glass to her lips and drank it straight to the last drop.
Lounging in the Royal Saturn Hotel lobby, LL and CK were still laughing at CK's Superheroes insinuation. But consciousness quickly took over as they finished their enhancing drinks.
/Let's see how your prot‚g‚'s doing/
/Did she really hear you say I was Clark's conscience?/
/So…she heard me, too/
/Brilliant conclusion… Is this leading anywhere?/
/It means that she and Clark are already connected, mind and soul… and that we're 'brothers'/
/'Sisters'!/ LL immediately shot back.
/Or 'sisters'…/ CK carefully replied, feeling uncomfortable with LL's gender-shifting trick.
/So that's your big scoop? They're soulmates?/
/Obviously, smart isn't your middle name… Our job is a piece of cake! We just have to improve the old dream trick and get them back together!/
/Got it. But we gotta let them think it's up to them, that they're in control…/
/Wow… Really clever!/
/Why d'you think they called me Ace for?/
Clark was asleep, flying in mid-air. His dream couldn't have been more pleasant… scary, but pleasant. Saving Lois for the what… a zillion times? He couldn't quite recall the hows and whys, but there he was, Lois tenderly cuddling in his arms, gently stroking his face.
<Talk about heaven> he sighed with content, gaining a little more altitude.
<Something is wrong…>
<Did she really say that?> Clark asked himself. Noticing the fear in her voice, he studied the situation: apart from the tux and cape mix'n'match, which made him think for a second that he'd lost his fashion sense, everything seemed pretty great to him. It could have lasted forever…but Lois quickly found her answer and he stood there, transfixed, as she slowly took his glasses off, exposing the naked truth.
<Clark was Superman>
He woke up abruptly, realizing too late that he was levitating in his living-room…before loudly hitting the ground.
- Bang! -
- Bang! Bang! Bang!-
"What the…?" Clark wondered, checking his clock: 2:38 am. Then realizing someone was knocking on his door, he quickly got up, catching a glimpse of the hole he had just made on the floor. <Ouch!> he thought, pulling the sofa over it at super speed. There was only one person who would visit him at such a 'decent' hour.
"Hi," she replied as he opened the door. "I know it's late and that I woke you up but… there's something I need to tell you. I know you're probably gonna hate me for this but, see…" Her spitfire babbling mode ceased a bit as she ran out of breath.
"What is it? Last time I saw you so nervous was when Kyle Griffin had called you in the middle of the night, threatening you." Clark teased her, before realizing she might have stuck her finger into something big again. "Lois… you haven't received strange, anonymous and menacing phone calls lately, have you?" he asked.
"No! No…I just…" she choked, feeling ill at ease.
"I've been having weird dreams, the weirdest of all being… Promise me you won't laugh," she suddenly urged him.
"I won't," he reassured her, aware of her heart pounding furiously in her chest.
"Ok." Taking a deep breath, she went on, "well, the weirdest being…being you being…" the words froze on her lips as she studied his face.
"…me being Superman," he finished.
"Yeah," she giggled nervously. "I know it's crazy 'cause you're not…I mean you're not exactly… Wait a minute, how do you know about my dream?" she asked dubiously.
<Wrong guess, Lois here>
/Whoops… The person you're trying to reach is not available at the moment, please call back later/
<You're not gonna get away with this, how does he know about my dream? Was he there?>
/Well, more or less…LL, I need backup here…t'was your idea after all/
<HEY! I think we can cut the crap ok! I want an explanation and I want it now!>
"That dream of yours, I had it, too" Clark started "You were singing in a club…" He broke off, momentarily distracted by the image of the gorgeous curve-enhancing dress Lois'd been wearing. "Then a sniper came out of nowhere," he continued, willing to focus on a safer subject. "I recall popcorn and me saving you from drowning into liquid chocolate…then you…we… I told you I would…"
<The only thing I don't get is this 'me in a tux' stuff.>
<Well, it's not about you wearing a tux, it's about me and how bad I want you 'untuxed'…>
"…Never let me down…" Lois completed for Clark. "I know, I guess I always knew. But I tried to fool myself into thinking we could be just friends…it was easier than facing the truth"
/The one that says you're soulmates, lunkhead; the one that says she fell in love with you at first sight but would never admit it, even if her life depended on it/
<What? Who are you, her conscience?>
/You're not that bad for a guy from Kansas. By the way, you can call me LL./
<So…she's loved me… from the beginning?> Clark mentally wondered.
/Yup. Well, you were the only one who dared to stand up to her. I told you her secret…what about yours…flyboy?/
Lois could swear there was a double meaning in his question. As a set of emotions played across Clark's face, she knew she was right.
<Speaking of Clark's face, if you took a closer look, it reminds me a lot of…of…>
/You're burning, honey./
<… I mean, if it weren't for the glasses, I could swear there was a resemblance with…>
/Yes, almost there, come on… I'm all ears./
<And I'm on the edge of my seat! Clark can't possibly be S…Sup…Super…>
/The word you're looking for is 'Superman'. Why is it so unbelievable?/
<Well, because… I thought we were best friends and…I had that crush about Sup…Until I realized the only man I could spent my entire life with, was Clark>
/So you admit it?/
<As if you didn't know I was in love with Clark; you just told him! You're my conscience, you're supposed to back me up, not tell all my private thoughts for free!>
/Sorry, couldn't help it./
<You said Clark and I were soulmates… How do you know?>
/Well, it's all between CK and me…we're siblings on a cosmic level, which is what you humans refer to as "being soulmates". I thought a top investigative reporter like you would have guessed it by now/
<You mean I'm able to read Clark's thoughts and he can also read mine because we're connected, because we share a special bond?>
<Then what about the flyboy's secret? You mean that Clark is really Superman?>
<Yes Lois, I am Superman.>
She stared at him in shock. When she didn't seem to recover and remained silent, nearly gasping for air, Clark reached for her.
"Lois…are you all right?" he asked, concerned. She shrugged, stepping backwards and away from Clark, although still staring at him. She was shocked in many ways. Firstly, she couldn't believe she'd actually had a chat with Clark's conscience- a short one, but still, that was baffling. Secondly, she was mad at herself for being so blind. She'd worked with Clark for what? Two years now, and she hadn't ever suspected a thing. But mostly, she was devastated by Clark's lies about his "other identity".
<So he's not a boy scout after all.>
All she wanted right now was to run away, hide and cry…<cry out loud on my 'infallible' judgement when it comes to men> she thought ironically. Somehow, she'd been sure Clark was different. He was kind, gentle, reliable and so caring. Perry's words suddenly came back to her: "This guy would walk on water if you'd ask him".
<And I'd die for him if the situation required it,> she sighted, surprised at her own silent statement.
"So that dream… Everything was true, wasn't it?" she asked Clark.
"What are you talking about?" he tried to convince her.
"Don't play innocent with me, Kent, or should I say Superman?" she shot back.
"How could you do this to me?" she let out, close to tears. "I thought you trusted me. At least I trusted you to tell you everything there is to know about my life…even the darkest side of it."
Feeling her on the edge and fighting tears was tearing him apart, especially because she was right: he should have told her long ago. He knew about her reluctance to trust men, both professionally and sentimentally. Strangely, she'd let him be her partner and best friend… And he'd betrayed her.
"Lois, I'm so sorry… I didn't mean to hurt you in any way," he replied softly, reaching for her hand, darting a puppy-dog glance at her.
"But you did…" Her voice cracked as she pulled her hand away and flung the door open, running out of Clark's apartment.
Clark didn't know how to react. Lois seemed really shaken up and he was afraid she might do something unexpected or hurt herself. <But running after her or babysitting her in a Superman's suit would only make things worse.> He was still trying to convince himself when he heard the distress horn of a petroleum tanker, sinking along the Japanese shores.
She had run home, miraculously managing to open and close the door behind her, despite her shaky hands… To be honest, she was nothing but shaky. She dropped her purse and leaned her back against the wall before slowly sliding to the ground, crying. She'd been crying for an hour, like a schoolgirl after a heartbreak, unable to stop herself. She had no more tears to cry now, but her mind was clear… or at least she thought it was, but really she was still distraught. She couldn't imagine her life without Clark, but right now, she couldn't imagine building a relationship with him on such a betrayal either… And this was eating at her.
<I could use a Valium>
Normally she wasn't keen on taking sleeping pills. But right now, she was in no shape to go through another bunch of tearful and sleepless nights like the one she'd experienced after Claude's trickery. Once in bed though, she was tossing and turning, her mind continually obsessed with Clark's revelation. Unable to sleep, she decided to go out for a walk. The fresh air dispelled her dizziness as her steps automatically drove her in the direction of Clark's neighbourhood. Suddenly, she felt a pat on her shoulder. Considering the late hour, she took a deep breath and mentally prepared for a taekwondo kick. Before she could turn and face the stranger, a hand was pressing a chloroform-soaked cotton cloth on her mouth. She struggled for a while until everything went dark.
Her eyelids were so heavy she could hardly lift them up. Gathering all her strength and willpower, she finally managed to flung her eyes open.
"Ah, Miss Lane, at last! How kind of you to join us!" a sniggering voice greeted her. Lois raised her head and sat herself upright.
"Who are you?" she asked the grey-haired man.
"Trask? I thought you were dead."
"Yeah, lots of people do… Bad habit," he answered.
"How?" the question died on her lips.
"How did I rise from the dead? One word: Paramedics. You should never underestimate them, even the Smallville ones. They took me to the hospital faster than a speeding bullet. There, a doctor examined me just to acknowledge the death… You know how they get very official when it comes to death certificates. Fortunately, he discovered the bullet missed the heart and just broke a rib so he removed it."
<I thought Rachel would have been better than that,> Lois sighted.
"Of course, there were policemen all over the hospital, damn them. I got convicted after my convalescence and put into jail…but I successfully escaped, six months ago."
"Good for you. So lemme guess, you wanna kill Superman, therefore…" Lois started with a bedtime-story voice.
"You'd really do me a great favor by jumping off this plane, and screaming for help like you successfully did a few years ago" Trask finished.
"Oh, please! Don't tell me you're gonna use your old missile tactic again!"
"It was a good one… Until your 'God in tights' screwed it up. Which is why I improved it a little," Trask added, an enigmatic smile on his face.
"Really? And just what did you do, dip it into Kryptonite?" Lois joked
"Not quite. But the nuclear warhead hooded in the fuse *is* made of Kryptonite," he explained. As Lois forced her face to remain neutral, he dragged her to the instrument panel, switching on the fuse-ignition button. "Bye-bye Superman," Trask bragged.
Lois's mind was racing. The only way for her to prevent Superman's death would be to disarm the weapon and stop the ignition process, or find the emergency button. She could also manage to stay in the plane…
<Time, gain some time…> she thought, discretely scanning the calculator-looking dashboard. <Gosh, where's that red buzz… Ah, here it is!>
She'd spotted it under the control panel, inches from Trask's hips.
"There's just one thing I can't explain," she started, slowly stepping towards him. "You're willing to risk the life of innocents just to kill Superman, why? It doesn't make sense… What has he done to you?" She asked, stepping a little closer as she surreptitiously tried to reach the button. Trask's answer made her grip the framework tighter.
"He exists! Death of civilians is a mere tribute to pay when it comes to clearing the earth of aliens."
"You're totally insane, you know that?" she defied him, her fingers skimming over the emergency button. She took his silence for a sign of victory. She shouldn't have.
"So 'Lois' is it? Ready for a jump?"
"No way," she calmly stated, stressing each word.
"Miss Lane, you don't really have a choice here," Trask added, pointing a gun at her. The deafening sound of the siren, and the red flashing lights coming with it caught him off-guard… But it was nothing compared to a plane losing its fuel (and therefore, altitude) in a mountainous area.
"Actually, I think I do," Lois corrected, "What are you gonna do? Kill me?"
"As a matter of fact… yes!" Trask answered, pushing her out of the military plane.
/Lois, dear, you should really bite your tongue sometimes,/ LL popped in.
<I guess he doesn't take 'no' for an answer. Well, it's probably better this way, I mean, look at the facts impartially: all the men I trusted and let get close to me betrayed me in the end… Claude, Lex… even Superman, well Clark. Maybe it has nothing to do with men; maybe I'm the one to blame for all this…>
/Are you out of your mind?!/
<… Even the personalization of truth and justice wasn't that trustworthy when it came to applying the principles he was standing for. Clark Kent, Mr. Right-from-Nowheresville, wasn't any different from that bastard Claude or this Machiavel's heir of Lex.> Lois went on, lost in her own thoughts. <Face it Lois,> she told herself <you'll always be a loner… even if the Planet's your second home and that you have a father-like relationship with Perry… not to mention that Jimmy's like a brother to you. In the end, I'll always be alone.>
/Yep, you are!/ LL went on. /You can't possibly compare Clark to Claude, and definitely not to Lex!/
<I know, I know. Speaking of…> Lois answered her conscience.
"A Lex Luthor type of ending, how ironic," she laughed.
/Huh?! "Flying Saviour wanted" you mean!/
Superman wouldn't save her this time, even if he tried, and it was probably better this way. She didn't deserve to be happy, and she certainly didn't deserve to be loved by Clark. Clark was too good to be true. <No one could love me, I'm not worth it,> she stated.
/You have great timing, you know that?/
/Er… there's an emergency here…/
/What d'you think I'm doing? Taking a vacation in Japan? We're on an emergency too, honey./
/I understand, but you don't want me to end up in the 'Damned Souls Section' do you?/
/Lois is in trouble?/
/Your mind reading is in progress…/
/She's gone into Intergang playground again?/
/Not quite, let's say she's testing Newton's theory…live./
/Spiritually put, but right now I'd opt for MAY DAYYYYY!>
/HELP SUPERMAAAN!! If you prefer…/
/Hold on, heading back home; passing by the Lexor Hotel tower…/
/Well, make it Vegas mountains…/
It was like in her dream… She was falling down, feeling amazingly fine and free. All she ever wanted now was a never-ending fall. <Yeah, 'cause the worst thing when you're falling, isn't the falling itself…it's the landing>
Closing her eyes, she resigned herself as she saw her whole life passing by. <Too bad about that Pulitzer,> she thought. <Too bad I'll never be able to tell Clark how much I…>
/And you couldn't have told him in the first place? No you had to shoot that Mayson issue at him! This is pure Lois Lane: jump both feet into something, and think of the consequences later…/
<It's a bit late for lecturing me>
/No, I think it's right on time/.
All of a sudden, the falling stopped, and she felt herself slowly going upwards. She opened her eyes in disbelief, unaware of the blast as the plane crashed in the mountains, with its weapons.
"Learning to fly, Lois?" Clark asked, holding her tight. A few minutes later he was carefully flying them through her apartment's window.
"Well, I wanted to improve my landings, and I obviously did" she joked before burying her face in his shoulder as silent tears trailed down her cheeks. "I hadn't planned on being saved though," she sobbed.
"I told you I'd never let you down." His last reply made her burst into tears. He hesitantly reached for her shoulders before gently clasping her in his arms for a slow-rocking embrace. He stood there, waiting as Lois released emotions she'd be shutting down for too long, letting them vanish with her sobs.
<No need for questions> he told himself as he tenderly caressed her hair and kissed her on the forehead.
"It must have been so hard for you to stand," Lois told him with a tired voice.
"What are you talking about?" Clark wondered.
"Being Superman… so lonely…" Lois feebly answered, her voice sounding more and more sleepy.
Her observation surprised him, although it was typical for Lois. She always seemed to see people's inner selves… especially if they were news-related. Sometimes, she was quicker at finding out than others.
/No kidding!/ CK joked.
That was certainly what has kept her alive, and what distinguished her from other reporters. He admired her for that.
"Promise me you'll never go to Vegas," she suddenly said.
<Vegas?> Clark suddenly wondered, a smile playing across his face as Lois struggled to keep her eyes open.
"I'd better go now," he softly whispered.
"Clark, no, don't leave me! Please stay," she pleaded, holding him tighter.
"Shh…it's all right Lois, I'm not going anywhere," he reassured her.
"There's some…something I wanna… something I wanna tell… tell you…" she said in a yawn. Her eyes blinked slower and slower as she rested her head on Clark's shoulder, cuddling up to him. He swallowed the lump in his throat.
"What is it?" he asked, his mouth suddenly dry. "Lois?"
Only her steady and peaceful breathing answered him. For a moment he stayed there, simply watching her sleep. After a while, he carefully scooped her up in his arms and headed to her bedroom. Then he laid her on the bed and covered her with a blanket.
"Sweet dreams" he murmured, before quietly leaving the apartment.
The next morning when Clark exited the Planet's elevator and headed towards his office, Lois was awaiting him with a cinnamon doughnut. She smiled as she noticed how he automatically stopped at the coffee machine to pour the brown nectar into two mugs.
"Lois," they chirped at the same time.
"We need to talk," their voices continued in unison.
"You first," they both let out.
"Well, I don't want to rush you into anything," Clark started. "But I thought maybe…"
"… We could have dinner, together…tonight?" she timidly offered.
"Yeah, actually I was gonna ask you out on a date… And I'm quite nervous about it," he went on.
"Oh," Lois simply replied. "Will you feel any better if you know I'm gonna accept?"
His mind went blank. "Well, it certainly helps easing down the pressure," he smiled back at her. She gazed at him for a moment, thoughtful.
"Do you think it would vanish totally if I told you that…That I love you?" she barely murmured.
"What?" he asked, not sure of what he'd heard.
"I love you Clark, I care about you…so much," she repeated.
"Oh, Lois…I love you too," he replied. "And I'm sorry you had to find out that way about… Well, truth is I was so scared I might lose you… That you might…"
"You know what your problem is, Kent?" she cut him off.
"You think too much," she said, stepping closer to him.
<Well, except when I'm with you. Right now, my brain has ceased to function>
"You talk too much," she added, her lips brushing his lightly.
"Care to elaborate…Lois?" Clark asked trying hard to silence the emotions that a simple kiss was arousing in him. She put her hand on his chest and her lips gently traced his jaw line with feather kisses. Then, locking eyes with his for what seemed like an eternity, she pulled his face closer to hers and whispered "shut up and kiss me, farmboy."
Mayson stepped out of the Planet's elevator…and gasped at the scene of Lois and Clark finally surrendering to their mutual feelings. Torn apart, she punched the ground floor button, her eyes pricking with fresh tears. Quickly making her way to the exit, she ran to a nearby taxi. Not paying attention to her surroundings, she bumped into a dark haired guy, who obviously wanted to share her transportation.
"Sorry, I wasn't looking…" she apologized, noticing the Hawaiian shirt and the leather jacket.
"Are you ok?" the man enquired.
"I'm fine, thanks, sir," she answered, boarding the taxi.
"Please, call me Daniel," he replied. Then to the driver, "D.A's office," he went on, unaware of Mayson's puzzled look.
/Seems like another job for us, sis'/
/Our new assignment huh? It's about time!/
*"I'm just as frightened as you,
Only this time is true.
Through fire and rain,
I will shelter you.
Take all the pain, and turn it to pleasure.
Until the stars collide,
Our hearts will fly together"*
"Fire and Rain" by Randy Crawford