By Laswa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: August 2002
Summary: Mxyzptlk returns to the third dimension to take revenge on Lois and Clark.
Well, here it is. My very first posted fanfic. I got the idea when I was on vacation and I started writing, but I never would have thought that I would actually go posting that story a few weeks later. And I wouldn't have done so, without the help of a lot of people here in folcdom.
First, I'd like to thank my beta readers. Gerry, who taught me a lot about commas and punctuation ;-), thanks for everything! Caroline, thank you for your encouraging mails. And Saskia, I still haven't got a clue how you managed to do it so fast, but I'm glad you did. :-) Thank you!
Then I'd like the people who took the time to translate some sentences for me. Christiane, Jill, Elena, Helene and Urara. Thanks for taking the time. I was positively surprised that all these people just wanted to help me and showed interest in the story.
I also would like to add a special thanks to Barb and LabRat. Barb, thank you for your (almost daily) encouragement, it meant a lot to me. And Labby, thank you so much for beta reading, asking about the story, assuring me that whatever happened was just another thing in the world of writing. Thank you both!
All usual disclaimers apply. The character of Lois and Clark do not belong to me and no breach of copyright is intended.
Oh, and since this is my first story, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Comments are very welcome.
Note: I translated one sentence. You can find it at the end of the story. This sentence is notified by a (1)
It was a warm Friday afternoon in Metropolis. A lot of people were enjoying themselves in the park. Children were running around, a young couple was picnicking under a tree, and a jogger came running by, waving his hand at them. In a few weeks, the summer holidays would start, and the air was filled with the usual expectance, which the warm air seemed to bring along.
But suddenly the clouds were darkening and they moved in front of the sun. A giant grey cover seemed to slide over the park, which had been so peaceful just a few minutes ago. The sky was darkening. As a sudden streak of lightening crossed the sky, parents picked up their children, the young couple cleaned up their stuff and now stood with their backs against the tree, hands clasped together. When loud thunder rolled through the sky, the bright light was followed by the appearance of a mysterious, black clothed, little man, who was floating a few inches of the ground. Everyone around him held their breaths, but he didn't seem to notice as he looked around him, laughed and started walking, leaving a stunned silence behind.
With her husband's arms wrapped around her, Lois opened the door of their townhouse on Hyperion Avenue. She felt the soft pressure of his lips on her neck and a whispered, "Finally. A whole weekend alone."
They stepped slowly into their house as Lois asked, "Don't we have something planned this weekend?"
"No, sweetheart, relax. We finished the story about the newest creep in town before we left. We are totally free," he added with a grin, as his lips searched her neck one more time.
"Goood," Lois purred, as she was ready to give in, but suddenly she remembered something. "Clark, your parents!"
"Lois, relax! We're not meeting them until tomorrow afternoon, so we have another whole day…" As he started to pull her closer again, Lois couldn't really believe it.
"I don't want to stop, but what about Superman. Doesn't he have any activities this weekend?"
"No, as far as I can see, Superman doesn't have anything to do this weekend. I checked his diary already."
"You *still* have that diary?"
Clark groaned. "Lois, why are we talking about all these little things, while we could be doing something much better?" As he looked at her face, he saw his words didn't have any effect on his wife. She was still looking questioningly at him. "Okay, okay. I give in. Yes, I still have that agenda. It's not like I can just scribble down Superman's schedule next to Clark's. It's there all day at the Planet, anybody could just check it out."
Lois didn't let him off the hook just yet. "Where do you keep it?"
"In a bag under my cape. That way no one can see it and it's always near me."
Clark, seeing the change in her eyes, knew she had finished asking all her questions.
"A body AND a brain, huh?" She winked at him.
"Haha." Clark said as he touched his lips lightly to hers. But then the sound of Lois' stomach growling kicked in and both of them sighed.
"Shall I make you something? I know how dangerously close to starvation you get when we miss out on lunch." He winked at her.
"Ummm, yeah. I think I'm in the mood for some chocolate."
Clark laughed and said, "Lois, you're always in the mood for 'some' chocolate."
"I know," she said simply, as she smiled and walked in front of him to the kitchen.
A few minutes later, Clark, with a nice bucket of chocolate ice-cream and just one spoon, joined Lois, who was sitting cross-legged on the couch. But Lois didn't really want to talk about the story again, as her eyes kept longingly glancing back at the bucket in Clark's hands.
"So, you going to feed me some of that?" Lois asked.
"Oh, sorry. Open your mouth." Lois did as she was told and Clark guided a spoonful of ice- cream into her mouth. Lois closed her eyes as she let the cold, tasty ice-cream melt on her tongue. She didn't see Clark swallowing hard. After three bites of ice, Clark had had enough. As Lois leaned forward to receive the next bite, she didn't feel the cold of the ice- cream, but the warm lips of her husband.
"Wha-?" Lois tried to formulate a good sentence, but thought better of it. His lips were so much better than that ice, she mused as she melted against Clark. She thought about a few years ago, when she'd thought that ice-cream was the sweetest thing on the Planet. <God, how wrong I was.,> she thought with a sigh. That was the last thought that crossed her mind, before she gave in to his kiss completely.
A little later, they were so wrapped up in each other that they didn't hear someone giggling. When the sound intensified, Lois finally looked up and realised something or someone was in the room. Lois looked back at Clark and saw he hadn't noticed the presence of the little man. She gave him a nudge in his ribs.
Finally he opened his eyes, but they were still dazed from their kiss — one moment he'd been kissing Lois and the next she'd been elbowing him. Lois saw him turning his head to the man and heard him say:
"Oh nooo, not you again," he said, shaking his head.
"No better way to arrive than to interrupt two people who are so obviously enjoying themselves," he said.
"Mxyzptlk!" What are you doing here? Can't you just stay away? Just turn around and never come back? Can't you just stay in your own dimension? What kind of dimension is that anyway?" That moment she felt Clark lay his hand on her shoulder. She knew she had to calm down.
She heard Clark say, "Mister Mxy… whatever. When are you going to leave? We are in the middle of something here and we really don't need you now."
She saw him give Mxyzptlk a very scary look that almost screamed that he had to get out. But Mxyzptlk obviously missed it.
"Mr. Kent, Ms Lane. It's very nice to see you again. And I saw I was interrupting something, Mister Kent."
Lois noticed that Mxyzptlk actually had the nerve to smile; she, on the other hand, was getting angrier by the second.
Mxyzptlk looked at Lois curiously, but continued, "Anyway, I'm glad you didn't forget about me. I certainly did not forget what you did to me. And you didn't think I'd just stay away, did you? So I stayed in my own dimension thinking about something that I could do to you. The fifth dimension is very boring, so I had all the time in the world. Oh, I almost forgot. I have to go now, but don't worry, I'll be back." He said it almost cheerfully, as he snapped his fingers and disappeared again. Silence filled the room once more.
"I hate him, Clark. I really do. Why does he have to come back every single time? Always leaving his own dimension?" She got up from her seat and started pacing through the room. "Is that legal over there? I don't think so, otherwise our dimension would be pretty full with all those little demons. This is like their perfect playground. So why don't they stop him? Clark? Aren't you worried by his appearance?"
Clark rested his hands on her upper arm as he said, "Lois, I know nothing more about this little guy than you do. And we can't do anything about it. He's gone for now and when or if he returns we'll —"
"If he returns? He will, Clark, you heard him!"
"Okay, okay, when he returns, we'll deal with him then. We know how to get rid of him."
"Yes, but do you think he is stupid enough to say his name backwards again? He may not be one of the clever ones, but no one is that stupid."
"Lois, we'll figure it out when we have to. He only wants us to get all nervous until he comes back, and I'm not going to give him that satisfaction."
"Me either, Clark. Sorry." She gave him a small smile.
"It'll be okay, Lois. Well, you didn't forget what he interrupted, did you?" he said, as he pulled her closer.
"How could I?" she answered as their lips locked once again, and they forgot about the interruption.
Lois and Clark put the thought about the short and strange visit of Mxyzptlk aside. They celebrated their free weekend and they spent the next day at the farm in Smallville with Martha and Jonathan. It was a nice and quiet weekend, even for Superman and it was over all too soon. On Monday, they went back to the office and got back into the routine of a normal working day.
But on Thursday they were confronted with Mxyzptlk again. They were at the Planet in the conference room discussing the newest developments of their latest story. They didn't need interruptions, so they had closed the blinds. Suddenly, the imp appeared again and both looked up from their notes.
"Oh, you again…" Lois sighed. She was a little startled by the appearance of the imp again. She had completely forgotten about him. But she wasn't going to show him she was a little agitated.
Clark stepped in front of her and looked directly at the imp. He began, "You have to…" But the imp interrupted him.
"Mr Kent, I think you are not in the position to demand anything. I wouldn't even dare to demand anything, if I were you."
"That's why I am what I am, and you what you are," Clark said angrily. What was that imp thinking?
"Oooh, clever, Mr Kent. But I would back down a little if I were you. You remember what happened last Christmas?"
"Yes, and you don't have to remind me. You put us in a time loop, but we defeated you then, if you recall. So why do you think you can just go messing around here again?"
"Clark," Lois interrupted softly. "Maybe you have to listen to what he has to say. He can be very powerful, remember?"
He knew she was right, of course. This imp could make for a lot of trouble. But he was just very angry, because of the return of Mxyzptlk. He'd hoped he wouldn't ever have to face the imp and his stupid spells ever again. But there was nothing he could do about that now, Clark mused. All he could do was some damage control, and Lois was right when she said that making smart remarks wasn't really good for that.
All the time that Clark's mind was racing, Lois and the imp were both staring at him. But the look on each of their faces was completely different. Lois' face showed a little fear. She hid it rather well, but Clark saw it anyway. And she was angry. He gave her a small nod, which said that he had understood what she said to him. Then he looked back at the imp. The giant smirk on the imp's face told him that he was loving every minute of this.
"Okay, imp, why are you here?"
"I already told you. The fifth dimension is very boring and this one is fun. And anyway, you owe me something. I never forgot what you did to me."
"Excuse me, what we did to you?" Lois interrupted angrily. "You were the one who switched dimensions and started messing with our time. You can't blame us. We only put you back in your own place. If you ask me, you were lucky with the way we treated you if you compare it to your behaviour against us."
"Lucky? You call me lucky? You put me back in my own dimension so unexpectedly that I landed in front of two passing… I think you call them officers, who immediately grabbed me and put me in prison. So yes, you owe me."
"There is a big difference there, Mxy, because you did all those things yourself. You knew what you were doing and you knew that wasn't okay. We didn't do anything to you, you just pulled us into your mess."
"Details, details… Anyway, I spent my time usefully and I've thought of something nice." He looked at them, but they didn't react. "Well, I'm not going to spoil the surprise. You just check it out yourself. His face showed that irritating smirk again before he disappeared.
Lois looked around her. She listened to every strange sound she could hear, but nothing seemed different than a few moments ago. She looked over at Clark, who raised his eyebrows. Lois walked to the window blinds and peered through them. She saw the usual buzz of the busy newsroom. Jimmy was reading something on the computer. Ralph was walking along with a woman Lois hadn't seen before, but she didn't seem to enjoy Ralph's attention at all. <Well, who did? > Lois thought. Nothing seemed different; nonetheless, she was very cautious. Something must have changed; otherwise, the imp wouldn't have had that giant smirk when he left.
"Je ne vois rien d'anormal, et toi?"
"What? Clark, talk English please." Lois said. <Why was he speaking French?>
"Lois, mais de quoi tu parles?"
Lois watched Clark and she felt a feeling of panic coming up. Clark saw the sudden change of mood in her eyes. Something was very wrong here.
<This is not good>, Lois mused. "Clark, can you try to speak English?"
"J'essai, mais…je n'y arrive pas," he said.
Lois did understand what he was saying, not every word, but enough to understand what the problem was. Clark was speaking French and he couldn't do anything about it. It suddenly occurred to her that it was a good thing he was speaking French as she still remembered some of it from high school.
<Great.> She thought. She needed to remain focussed on the situation at hand. Clark was looking at her with a very lost expression on his face. Ooh, she hated Mxyzptlk and what he could do. "You do understand what I'm saying, right?"
"That's good. First we have to get you out of here. The Planet is not the best place for you to be right now." He shook his head, those frightened eyes still fixed on her. "Just another day in the lives of Lois and Clark, huh?" She tried to lighten the mood. A very small smile crept onto his face. Not much, but it was something, she thought. "I have an idea," she told him, "you just have to look sick, okay?"
That wasn't very difficult for Clark as he thought about all the consequences this could have. He and Lois would have to deal with that later. First, he wanted to go home, away from all these people. Lois didn't even wait for an answer. She grabbed his hand and pulled him to Perry's office.
"Perry, Clark isn't feeling very well." She looked back at Clark. "He really isn't well," she added when she looked back at Perry.
"Well, if you are really sick, then I want you to go home. Are you going to be all right, son?" Perry looked at Clark.
"I don't think so, Perry. I'm going to bring him home if that's fine with you. He was kind of dizzy, so I think I'll have to drive him." She took two steps to the door. "That's okay, right, Chief? If he's home and he feels better, I'll come back."
"Lois, I didn't ask for your opinion, I asked Clark here if he'll be okay." He turned his head and looked directly at Clark. "Now son, do you really need your wife to drive you home?"
Lois really wanted to go with Clark, to see how they could solve this. Why did Perry have to be so difficult right now? After what seemed like an eternity, Clark nodded and he made a sound that Perry could have understand as 'uh-uh'.
"Can we go, Chief?" Lois continued quickly.
"Okay, Lois, but I want you to come back as soon as Clark here is safe in bed."
"Okay, I promise. Thanks Perry!" She said over her shoulder. She was already on her way out with Clark on her heels. They hurried through the newsroom, ignoring Jimmy, who was calling after them asking where they were going.
When they entered their townhouse, Lois turned to Clark. She looked him straight in the eye. "We only have to make him say his name backwards and then he is gone. Everything will be okay, then.
She stepped forward and felt his arms slide around her. Everything would be okay as long as they were together. "I love you, Clark," she whispered against his chest.
"Ich liebe dich, Lois."
"Uh-oh, Clark, that sounds like German, doesn't it?
"Ich werde alles aufschreiben, was ich versuche zu sagen, vielleicht kannst du es dann verstehen."
"Clark!" Lois said with a very high voice. "I have no idea what you are saying!" She panicked. She got really scared now. She could understand his French a little, but she had never spoken German.
"Warte eine Minute, ich habe eine Idee." Clark said, as he turned into his Superman suit and flew out of the window.
Lois plopped down on the couch. This wasn't nice anymore. She couldn't talk to Clark, he couldn't come to work. And Superman! How could he help all those people if they couldn't understand him and how could he offer help and make a rescue plan if he couldn't communicate with, for example, the firemen. How could they understand what was going on? She couldn't just say that an imp from another dimension had put a spell on Superman and Clark, could she? What if people noticed that both Clark and Superman were afflicted. Would they see the connection?
But those weren't the biggest problems. The world wouldn't stop spinning if Superman wasn't there. People would have to get used to it, and it wasn't as if they always counted on him to be where they were. He'd be missed, of course, but they'd have to go back to the way they handled things before Superman had arrived. No, the biggest problems they would have to face were completely different. She couldn't talk to Clark, they couldn't share their little jokes; they couldn't discuss their stories. She couldn't go back to how things were before Clark arrived. How was it possible that one imp could make her lose a part of her, her best friend, her partner at work? She let out a long sigh. They'd have to return that little imp to where he came from as soon as possible. But she couldn't do that alone. She needed Clark with her; they could do this. They communicated on so many other and deeper levels than just the verbal one.
At that moment she felt a rush of wind and Superman landed in their living room. He was carrying a plastic bag from the bookstore.
"Hey," she said. "Glad you're back."
"Ich habe etwas gekauft, das unsere Kommunikationvereinfachen k”nnte."
Lois didn't know what he was saying, but she saw the books he laid on the table. Lois took a few steps so she could see what he'd bought. She looked at the books. They were dictionaries. Both French- English and German — English.
"Clark, can you try to write down what you want to say in English?" Clark looked at her with a smile, picked up the dictionary and supersped to a word which he indicated with his finger.
"Brilliant," Lois read aloud and saw him giving her a big smile. She had to laugh and she said, "Of course I am, you lunkhead." She lightly patted his chest. "Now, come on. Let's try it."
Clark walked to the desk and searched for pen and paper, but couldn't find it.
"Lois, hai per caso visto la penna e…" As he turned to Lois, he saw her shocked face.
She said, "That was definitely not English, not French and not German."
"Italiano," he whispered.
"Clark, aren't those three languages you learned on your world trip?"
"Where else have you been?" She asked cautiously, almost afraid to hear his answer.
"Gran Bretagna, Spagna, Olanda, Brasile, uuh… " He paused and she saw a flicker of something in his eyes she couldn't quite define… "Giappone e Cina." He ended softly. Lois looked wide- eyed at him. Neither of them knew what to say.
"Well… we have a lot of dictionaries to buy then," Lois said. "Clark, we are not going to be intimidated about this. I've been thinking and we communicate on much deeper levels than just the verbal one. We have to deal with this until Mxy returns. We are going to make him say Kltpzyxm and he's gone. And you'll be okay. But for now you just have to show me what you mean using the dictionaries. Besides," she added with a wink, "I kind of like that Italian accent." She saw her words had the desired effect.
"Ti amo, Lois," he said with a spark in his eyes. Lois got that look in her eyes, and Clark knew she was up to something. Of course, she had understood him, but she asked, "What did you say?"
"Ti amo, Lois, moltissimo," he repeated with a giant smile on his face.
"Sorry, I really don't understand." She even had the nerve to look disappointed, but he saw the flicker in her eyes. "Oh wait," she said. "I know, maybe you have to show me."
She didn't have to say that twice. Clark took two steps towards her, and he softly pressed his lips on hers as he lightly touched her cheek with his hand.
"Tesoro, e per il lavoro?"
Lois gave him a puzzling look.
"Perry?" he tried again.
"Perry told me to come back as soon as you were safe in bed and last that I checked…" She looked him over from head to toe… "No, you are definitely not in bed. "
As she lifted her head to meet his eyes, Clark saw her tracing her lips with her tongue. That was all the answer Clark needed. He needed to show Lois exactly on which level they communicated really well. He bent his head and locked her lips with his. Clark felt the tip of her tongue dart around his lips, and after a few seconds he opened his mouth to her. The kiss was quickly heating up and while Lois' hands travelled along his body, he picked her up to bring her to the bedroom. Suddenly Lois put her hand on his chest to stop him. He looked at her quizzically as she whispered, "You do realise that once we get there, you'll be in bed and I promised Perry to come back as soon…" He really didn't want her to go away, so he immediately turned around, to make sure *he* wouldn't be in the bedroom. But she already stopped him, by putting her hands on his chest as she continued.
"You didn't let me finish my sentence." She gave him a stern look, and Clark had to laugh at the sight of his love in his arms, trying to look serious, but failing hopelessly.
"I promised Perry to come back as soon as you were safe in your bed, and I promise you, once we get in that bedroom, you will be very far from safe," she whispered huskily in his ear. She let her tongue slide along his ear blazing a path to his mouth as she felt Clark carrying her to their bedroom.
Lois was back at the Planet after an endless follow-up of goodbye kisses. He had brought her to the door and, after a passionate kiss, had opened it for her, he whispered in her ear, "Ciao, bella." Lois had laughed out loud and stepped out of the house, heading to work.
They were both a lot more positive about their situation, but now that she was alone again, she had too much time to start worrying. What if Mxy didn't come back and Clark would be left speaking all those languages? It would be a disaster. Not only for them, but for Superman, too. She didn't even want to think about that. She hoped there wouldn't be any major calls. They'd agreed earlier that he'd only respond to really major calls. Clark would try to get some work done at home. He'd write it down in Italian and later translate it. But that meant he couldn't do any current stories that needed to be printed in the next few days. That'd be Lois's responsibility. She really had to get her mind off Clark and on her work. Just as she started typing on her computer, she caught the sound of the news.
"…thirty-nine people are trapped in the train, including six children. The Swiss authorities tell us that the train was just clearing a tunnel, when it hit a tree on the tracks. You can see from these pictures that the train is on fire. The emergency services are battling against the strong winds fanning the flames. The fire is blocking one entrance. The tunnel is too long for rescue workers to enter and evacuate the passengers through the other end and the risk of an explosion from the fuel tank remains high. There doesn't look like much hope of rescuing those trapped inside…"
The images on tv showed the burning tree in the entrance. It was terrible and Lois knew that Superman was needed. Lois saw the burning tree blocking the entrance completely. In the background she could hear people screaming. She knew it'd be a matter of seconds before Superman would appear on the scene.
She was right. Everybody in the newsroom cheered as one of the commentators announced that the familiar red, yellow and blue had arrived. As one of the reporters on the scene explained everything that was going on, Lois realised that Superman hadn't approached the fire chief to ask what was going on as he normally did. The commentator told that the problem in this situation was that many passengers had started running to the other side. This way, Superman couldn't just blow the fire out because there were people on all sides of the fire. And the fire was spreading throughout the train. Another commentator related that Superman just flew into the other side of the tunnel. He explained that Superman was signalling to the people who came running out of the tunnel that the train could explode. Meanwhile another camera showed that the tree was completely burning now. A sea of flames danced in front of the entrance. Then applause rose as Superman flew out of the tunnel with a woman with a baby in her arms. Under his other arm he held a toddler, who was looking wide-eyed at the superhero.
"So far thirty-six people have been rescued from the train. Eighteen of them are injured, how many of them badly is not known. Three people are still inside, a sixteen year old girl and two little boys, four and five years old."
But then it happened. A big explosion made the walls of the tunnel shake, and a fireball erupted from the blocked entrance. Some people in the newsroom let out shouts of dismay, and one woman clapped her hands together and prayed for the safety of the little children. But most of them just stood in the middle of the newsroom, eyes disbelievingly staring at the television. The silence that followed was almost unreal. Before them, the camera followed the girl stumbling out of the tunnel, with a little boy hanging onto her arm. A wave of relief filled the room.
Lois was glad to see that the girl and the little boy were safe, but she was very nervous about Clark. She hadn't seen him anywhere.
But then the camera switched and she saw Superman flying out of the tunnel very slowly. Her initial relief was quickly replaced when she saw him carrying the little boy in his arms. Both were blackened by the ash, and the little boy's clothes were almost gone. Superman flew as fast as he could to the paramedics. Superman just stood there as the men huddled over the boy and tried everything, but a few minutes later the paramedics covered the little body with a white sheet.
Superman bowed his head as a woman came running to the boy, yelling and screaming at no one in particular. She fell on her knees beside the little body. Superman glanced once more over the crowd and over the boy as he flew up with a saddened look on his face. With a whoosh he was gone. Lois had never seen him look so defeated. Meanwhile, Perry had turned off the television.
"Come on, people, this is not for us. This is private. Now, get back to work!" he said as he walked back to his office.
Lois was already running out of the newsroom. She had to see Clark as soon as possible. When she stood outside, she hesitated over where to go, but there was really only one place she could go. She ran to her jeep and drove home as fast as she could.
She had never seen him like that, and she knew he'd need her right now. She hoped that he wouldn't be so stupid as to think he'd have to deal with this alone. But she didn't really know why he was so defeated now. She thought she'd convinced him a long time ago that, what counted was what he could do and not what he couldn't. Of course, he was saddened when he couldn't save a person and maybe even more when it was a young, innocent little boy. But it had been a long time since she had seen him like that. Finally, she arrived at their townhouse. She walked quickly to the door and let herself in. The first thing she saw was the open window.
'He's here,' she thought. She walked to the open space in their living room. She stopped when she saw her husband sitting on the floor. He was still in the suit, but there was nothing super about this man. His back was turned to her, and he obviously hadn't noticed that she'd come in. His cape was surrounding him, the sides were burnt and almost all what used to be red, was covered with black ash. Even his eyes seemed to be clouded with the smoke. She stood in front of him and kneeled. Finally his eyes moved, and his gaze rested on her face.
"Lois," he whispered so softly she almost couldn't hear it.
"Oh honey, I'm here. Everything's okay," she said as she touched his face with her hands.
"Iya, thigaunda. Bokuwa karega kirainandayo…" As he was talking, his voice trembled before he started to shake.
Lois quickly took his hand and pulled him on the couch towards her until his head rested in the crook of her shoulder. She put her arms around him and felt his body relax. He moved, so that his arms enveloped her. She didn't have a clue which language he was talking now, but it didn't really matter. She felt rather than heard his sobs and she held him harder, trying to embrace his body with her arms. That was how they sat for a time, before he fell into a restless sleep. But as time went by, his breathing came more even and lulled Lois into sleep.
Slowly, she became aware of her surroundings again. She couldn't really remember why, but she had a strange feeling in her stomach. She was still floating between dream and reality, but something wasn't right. She turned around to snuggle up against her husband, but she woke up immediately as she felt the cold, empty place beside her. Then it all came back to her. Mxy, Clark, the fire in the tunnel. 'Oh god, where was Clark?' was the next thought that entered her mind.
As if he could read her mind, Clark opened the door of their bedroom. Dressed only in his sleeping shorts and carrying a plastic bag from a store she hadn't heard of before.
"Hey," she said as she rubbed the last of sleep out of her eyes. He smiled at her, but it didn't really meet his eyes.
"Clark, we have to talk about this."
He nodded and showed the Japanese — English dictionary to her. "Japanese," Lois stated. "Well, another for the collection, huh?" After she said it and he didn't react, she realised he really wasn't in the mood for silly morning jokes. "Clark, come back to bed and tell me what happened that made you so upset. Hey, wait a minute, how did I get here? We fell asleep in front of the couch." She gave him a questioning look.
"Aa, daga…" Clark walked over to the bed and sat down. He opened the dictionary and started flicking through it. He pointed at a word.
"Carry?" Lois asked. He nodded. "Oh, you carried me." She smiled at him. "Thank you."
"Douitashimashite," he said with a smile.
"Do you want to tell me what happened in that tunnel?" He nodded. Immediately, she saw his thoughts go back to the previous night. Tears sprang into his eyes again, and Lois moved over to him. But he held up his hand and shifted her so that he was sitting with his back against the headboard, with Lois in front of him, her back against his chest. His arms encircled her and with one hand he held the dictionary. Lois moved a little to the side so she could see his face. She'd rather really face him, she thought he wouldn't be able to finish his story if she kept looking at him. But she was in his arms, and at this moment that was what he needed. <…together stronger than me alone…> His words came back to her. <Now was the time to prove it,> she thought. She looked back at Clark, who'd apparently been waiting for her signal to begin. He swallowed before he started rifling through the dictionary. And the flood of Japanese words came, while his hand supersped through the pages.
"After… explosion… three kids trapped…"
"Yes, one older girl and two little boys." Lois said. He nodded his head again.
"Girl …one boy… free…sent away… boy…left… stuck… under chair… near… fire… train… unstable… kid… unreachable… had to… talk… him… out… He… not… understand… So… little… fear… in… eyes."
Lois looked back at Clark's face and saw he was on the verge of tears again. "Oh, Clark," she said. She pulled herself up and gently pushed one arm behind his back to embrace him. Clark looked back and started flicking through the pages again.
Explosion… boy… couldn't… get… away… floated… to… him… Slowly… No wind… fire… not enough… breeze… fire in engine… slow-motion… speed… got… him… heat… fire… boy… raised… arms… I…too late… Could… talk… him… out… if… not…
"Mxyzptlk." He spat the word out. Never had she heard him so angry, she saw that he had clenched his fists. She gently grasped his hand and intertwined their fingers.
Boy… would… live… no… pain… mother… hate… him.
Lois didn't know what else to do than just hug him. Mxyzptlk had gone too far now. His little jokes cost people their lives. And if more of these accidents followed, it would be too much for Clark, too.
"Clark, I promise you, we are going to get him and send him back. I don't know when or how, but I'm personally going to make sure that he gets what he deserves."
Telling the story had been hard for Clark in the beginning. But by the time he'd finished, he was glad he'd told Lois. He needed her to hold him. It felt good, and it gave him the feeling that something was right in the world. Together, they'd solve this. Relating the story had forced him to relive it all over again. Now that he had finished he found himself exhausted. He looked up the word in the dictionary and showed Lois.
"It's okay, just try to get some sleep. I'll stay here until you do."
Clark lay down with Lois against him. They snuggled up that way, until Lois saw that he was asleep. As much as she hated to leave him alone, she had to get back to work. She was already half an hour late and she had to think of another excuse. She looked at Clark one more time. He didn't look like he was going to wake up within the next few hours. She softly slid out of his arms and out of bed. In silence she got dressed and left for the Planet.
Lois tried to work, but without Clark it was definitely difficult. Before Clark, she hadn't even wanted a partner and now she couldn't work without him. <How ironic,> she thought. Not that she had put her heart in it today. She had spent most of the day worrying about Clark and thinking of a way to get rid of Mxyzptlk. But now she was in the conference room and really trying to get some work done. She was looking through some files that Jimmy had just brought in.
"All alone, Ms Lane?"
Lois turned around and, in the corner of the room was Mxyzptlk.
"What are you doing here?" Lois asked him, annoyed.
"Oh, just go away, Mxyzptlk," she sighed. She hadn't thought of a plan, and Mxy only made her blood boil. "What are you doing here anyway? Are you going to put a spell on me too?" she asked him sarcastically.
"Be careful of what you say, Ms Lane," the imp said. He clearly didn't like this attitude of Lois.
"Mxy, what were you thinking? That we'd be devastated by your appearance? Come on, it's not like you are the most dangerous creature we ever met." Lois voice dripped with sarcasm.
"Watch it, Ms Lane. You are playing some dangerous game here," the imp said angrily.
"Game? I'm not the one who is playing games. I'm just trying to get some work done so I can return to my husband. So if you'll excuse me," she said as she sat down and picked up the files.
"You have no idea who you're dealing with," the imp spat at her, just before he vanished again.
Lois watched the spot where he had just disappeared. She didn't know if this was the right tactic, but she did know she wasn't going to show the imp how scared she really was.
When Lois came home, she found Clark on the couch in front of the television. When she entered, he immediately turned his head and flashed his mega-watt smile at her.
"Hallo," he said simply, as he stood up, grabbing a book from the table, and walked over to her.
Before she even looked at the book, she lifted her head up and gave him a kiss on the lips. "Hey," she said. Lois let out a sigh as she read what was on the front. A dictionary, again. But this one was Dutch — English. "Dutch. Great. Whatever," she said.
She looked up as she heard Clark chuckle. "Are you okay?" she asked, as she looked back at him, surprised. He lifted the book and started rifling again.
Thanks… for … last… night. You… much… help.
"Clark, I didn't do anything, I just held you. There wasn't anything that I could do or say. It was terrible. How come you seem so relaxed now?"
He shrugged his shoulders. Still mad, he showed in the dictionary. He shrugged again. Lois moved to his side.
"Come here. We are going to kick that imp back to his own dimension, okay?" She was glad that he didn't seem to be sliding back into that dark mood he was in when she arrived home yesterday.
"Zeker weten," he said in an reassuring voice. He saw she didn't really understand, so he made a face which showed her he was ready to fight with her against Mxyzptlk. Lois laughed.
Lois laughed. "If you are going to look at him like that, and he knows it's against him, he'll go screaming back to where he came from."
As she laughed, she touched his chest with her hands and she looked up at his eyes. She saw he wasn't laughing. He was watching her instead with such a soft expression on his face, one which she hadn't seen in a while. She stopped laughing immediately. And she gave him her sweetest smile. Clark lifted his hand to her eyebrow and touched it with his index finger. Slowly, he let it slide around her eye, over her cheek, over her lips until he reached her chin. He lifted her head up to him, still looking at her with those beautiful eyes. Lois' heart acted as though it was going to jump right out of her throat. Her eyes focused on his lips, which slowly neared hers. She closed her eyes in anticipation of what was to come. It seemed to take forever until she finally felt his soft full lips touch hers. For a minute she thought he was stepping away again, but then his mouth found hers and soon their tongues were dancing again.
But suddenly they were interrupted again.
"I'm really sorry to be interrupting you, again," said the imp with a sarcastic voice.
Immediately they separated and looked at Mxyzptlk.
"Dit is de laatste keer dat jij ons onderbreekt." Clark's voice had become a few octaves lower and even Lois felt a chill run through her spine. In front of them was Mxyzptlk, and Lois had never seen him this angry, he almost matched Clark's dark expression. The men were standing in front of each other, and if she hadn't known better, she'd have thought they were going to fight. But she knew Clark just wasn't that type of person. Before they could say any more, another imp appeared. He was dressed in black, but his outfit seemed to be some kind of uniform.
"Ms Lane, Mr Kent," he said formally. "My name is Kryxstrk and I'm one of the inspectors of the fifth dimension. My job is to protect the third dimension from people like Mxyzptlk here." He nodded at Mxy, who was still staring angrily at Clark. Kryxstrk looked at Mxy and shrugged his shoulders. "Anyway," he said, "as you may know, we arrested Mr. Mxyzptlk here when he came from the fifth dimension and landed right in front of my partner and me in the park. We told him that he'd only get a mild punishment, but if he repeated this kind of behaviour we wouldn't be so generous."
"Generous? Generous?" The little imp spat at the officer. "You put me in jail for four months! That's not what I call generous."
"You don't? Kryxstrk asked him, as flatly, then he continued without even waiting for an answer. "Then I've got news for you. You'll spent the next four, five years if we're lucky, in jail."
Mxyzptlk's mouth fell open as he heard Kryxstrk. "But, why? It's not like I committed a crime or anything."
"Nee? Een jongen is vermoord, hij is dood, weg, door jou. Ik kon hem niet redden, omdat hij niet kon begrijpen wat ik hem probeerde uit te leggen. Door jou!" (1) Clark spat at the imp.
Lois didn't understand what he was saying, but Mxyzptlk obviously did understand Clark's Dutch, because he seemed to shrink in front of her eyes. The imp shot a nervous glance at the inspector.
"Yes, we already know that, Mr. Kent. That's why I'm here."
"Are you going to take him away?" Lois asked him.
"Yes, Ms Lane. We'll make sure he'll never return to this dimension, so that he can't leave even more damage behind him."
"How come you understood what Clark was saying?"
The inspector gave her a puzzled look. "Oh, the device. Yes, it's a new thing we invented in our dimension. We can put it in our ear and it translates everything that is said or heard to our language. It's the hottest item at the moment."
"How did you know that Mxyzptlk was here, anyway? If you can follow him, why didn't you stop him last time?" Lois asked.
"Well, the last time we didn't know where he had been, until he confessed. We immediately thought of a new law, to protect the people from this dimension, like yourself. We sent someone from our people in disguise. He'd keep contact with us and let us know if strange things happened."
"What kind of disguise?" Lois intervened.
"As a boy, Ms Lane."
"Why a boy?"
The inspector eyed her suspiciously. "Why all these questions, Ms Lane?"
"Because I want to know how you think you can save our dimension from creeps like… that." She shot a disgusted look at Mxyzptlk.
"Okay, well, the man, who is specialized in this kind of thing, is not very large. And our spy mustn't attract attention to himself, which he would, if we sent him like a little man. So we made him look like a kid, a little boy. He's been looked after by a family here in this dimension, who found him a few months ago. We choose that family because they were living in Metropolis, but unfortunately, they moved to Switzerland."
Clark raised his head at the mention. A boy in Switzerland? No, it couldn't be.
The inspector saw Clark's puzzled look. "Yes, Mr. Kent, the boy who died in the train was the good opposite of Mxyzptlk. Because he had moved, he couldn't watch out for Mxy, or other imps for that matter. We were already trying to get someone else here, too, when we got a message from Pratsjk, the boy. He told us something was wrong with Superman. But then the boy was gone, so we quickly sent someone else, who found out everything about Mxyzptlk."
This was a bit too much for Lois and Clark. They were staring at the Inspector and then at each other, trying to absorb everything the man had just said. Lois was the first to recover.
"And now? Mxy is leaving again?"
"Yes, I was sent here to pick him up. We'll make sure he never places another foot in this dimension again. We are very sorry that he escaped without our noticing."
"Erg veel spijt laat het verdriet van die moeder nog niet verdwijnen," Clark said, a little somber.
"Actually, the pain of the mother will disappear, Mr. Kent. As soon as we take away Mxyzptlk, time will be returned to before he arrived. And then he'll never arrive and everything will be back to normal."
"What about Pratsjk?" Lois asked.
"He too will return. And we are going to send more people like him to this dimension, so that things like this can never happen again."
Lois wasn't too happy about all these invading imps, but she didn't really see another solution right now. "And what about Clark?"
"Everything will turn back to the way it was before, Ms Lane, and the spell will never appear. And remember, you are the only ones who'll remember this afterwards. The other people won't even notice something's happened."
"Hey, why couldn't this boy understand Clark, and you can?"
"That's simple. Pratsjk hasn't been in the fifth dimension for some time and the device has just been released recently."
"That's what inspired me to cast this spell in the first place," Mxy said. He was still looking angry, but there wasn't much he could do about things now, anyway, so he stayed a little quiet.
"Well, if you don't mind, I'll take this man back to where he belongs."
"Not at all." Lois answered immediately. "But I thought everything was back to normal, as soon as Mxy left?"
"Well, yes, but it's a little more complicated than usual, because someone died. So I want to be here, to make sure everything's fine."
"Dank je wel," Clark said to the Inspector.
"You're welcome. I've never really liked this man. He's always trying to do everything that is not allowed. I'm just glad we caught him now."
"I can imagine," Lois said.
"Well, here we go. Oh, I'll make sure the spell is reversed. See you later," the inspector said, as a bright light surrounded the two men, and a second later they were gone.
Lois looked back to Clark. "Well, maybe it'll end right here, then," she said.
"God, I hope so," Clark said.
Lois eyes grew wide. "Clark! You're speaking English again! I can understand what you are saying." She put her arms around his neck and kissed him enthusiastically.
"This is great," Clark said happily, as he kissed her back. "I hope everything will be okay if he restores the timeline again."
"Well, we'll figure that out very soon, won't we?" Lois said, too excited to be really worried now that she could talk with Clark again.
"Yeah, but Lois… Thank you. Without you, I don't know what I would have done. I was so sad and so angry.. If you hadn't been there…"
"Clark, look at me. I'm glad I could be there for you."
But she was interrupted by the fifth dimension officer. "I arranged everything. If you want I can return you to the moment just before Mxyzptlk."
He didn't have to say that twice to Clark. "Okay, let's do it right now." He looked back at Lois and took her hand.
"Okay, there we go then." A bright light encircled the three people. When Clark looked at his watch, he saw that time was running backwards.
"Okay, we are almost there," the imp announced. "Remember, you are the only ones who know that this has happened."
"That's good." Lois said, as she thought about the mother of the little boy.
The light disappeared and they saw that they were in their home again.
Clark looked at Lois. "There we go again…"
"Well, it ends right here," the inspector told them.
"Thanks again for getting him out of here."
"That's okay, it's my job, remember?" He gave them a wink as he disappeared again.
"You remember what we were doing when Mxy interrupted us?" she said with a smile.
"How could I forget?" He grinned as he leaned forward and their mouths found each other once again.
Now, without interruptions, they celebrated the solution of another problem in the life of Lois and Clark.
The following Thursday, Clark left the newsroom of the Planet early, to hold onto a certain tree in Switzerland. When he arrived, he called the local firemen to say that there was a tree that needed to be removed. He couldn't be happier than to be able to speak with other people again. He held on to the tree, until a train passed him. In the first carriage, he saw the face of a little boy. When his little face looked up and he saw him, Clark waved at him and saw the little eyes shining. After the train had passed, he laid the tree down safely to one side before he took off into the sky with a giant smile on his face.
Well, I hope you liked it! I'd really like to know what you think.
(1) translation: "No? A boy was killed, he's dead, gone, because of you. I couldn't save him, because he didn't understand what I was telling him. Because of you!