Frustration Amounts

By Latonya M. <>

Rated: G

Submitted: March 2005

Summary: Lois vents her frustration at the DVD "powers that be."

This is my first fanfic. This is in response to Mary Queen of the Capes Hunting Out of Season Challenge. Feedback is welcome at the above address please no flames. There is no profit being made from this work of fiction. Thank you. 3:o)x


Clark walked into the Daily Planet lobby and was greeted with the sight of his mobile young partner Lois Lane leaning up against Harry's News Stand scanning a TV Guide. She seemed somewhat rattled. /Wonder what would cause that kind of reaction from her in a *TV Guide*?/ Clark thought it odd that anything in that particular publication could cause such apprehension in his partner's face.

"Hey Lois," he greeted in his usual casual manner.

"Hmm?" she jumped slightly at the unexpected appearance of her partner standing next to her, she hadn't even seen him arrive.

"Oh Clark, when did you get here? I didn't see you come in."

"I noticed," he drawled, a slight smile tugging at his lips. He leaned forward slightly and tapped lightly on the guide in her hands. He gently leaned the periodical down, trying to figure out exactly what had so affected her mood.

"What is so fascinating in here that you completely ignored my arrival?"

"Nothing special. Really." At his raised eyebrow she decided to just tell him it was no big deal after all. /*Right*/ "I was just checking out the new DVD releases, that's all. Satisfied?"

"Oh." He really didn't know what he had expected but that certainly was not it. That was something so simple. Why would it cause such an expression from her? Who could tell when it came to Lois? He had stopped trying to figure her out months ago. He still could see that sullen look in her eyes and the need to know what caused it overwhelmed him.

"I guess you didn't find what you were looking for?"

"No!" The force behind that small word gave rise once again to his curiosity.

"Look at this," she said, shoving the article under his nose and withdrawing it just as quickly.

"This is what they considered worthy of release this week. The Flintstones, Happy days… Barney the Dinosaur?! I mean, come on, who in their right mind would want that creature in their homes? It is bad enough he's everywhere else. I bet you could not go one whole day without seeing that overgrown stuffed animal. Just picture the sheer terror of having that DVD running on repeat play back. It would drive a person insane."

She had a point, Clark thought, but… "Kids seem to like him. They can sit mesmerized for hours with a blankey and a bottle of formula, Lois."

"But what about the parents, Clark? Yeah, it buys them some time but is that worth the mental anguish? Nobody truly thought of their suffering when they created that big purple freak. Whoever they were they need to be punished. Severely! Hog-tied, gagged, and tossed into a … crib sealed in with something heavy on top to keep them from escaping. Forced to watch that show over and over until they finally scream for mercy. Maybe then they'll consider the lives they affect by their actions. Someone has to be the parents' advocate."

Clark reached out to place a gentle hand on her shoulder. The gentle touch seemed to stem the flow of words spilling forth from her mouth. /How did she do that without taking a breath?/ She was truly amazing but, as much as he loved to listen to her babble, this tangent was getting a little out of hand.

Her ears went slightly pink as she realized what had happened. Shaking her head to clear it of the various points still filling her mind, Lois took a deep breath and tried to calm down.

This was obviously a sore spot where Lois was concerned so he saw it the better part of valor to change the subject. "Tell me, what is so special about this show you're waiting for?"

"It's not just one particular thing, Clark. There are several aspects I like about the show." Pausing to compose her thoughts, Lois tried to picture in her mind's eye just what it was that appealed to her about the series.

"First, one of the lead character is a hard-bitten woman who really has a good heart but due to her past she's always guarded. She keeps that vulnerable side of herself hidden, afraid to show any kind of weakness. She is afraid of getting hurt again — which I don't blame her for one bit, by the way. Though at the same time, she is really strong and independent; she can handle just about anything. Not to mention she can kick butt with the best of them."

"Like someone else I know." The brilliant smile gracing his face was not one of mocking but genuine respect.

"Then, there's the male star of the show. He has such beautiful brown eyes…" She sighed dreamily as she pictured her leading man and the light shinning in her eyes spoke volumes. A delighted smile lit her face, the first Clark had seen there today. "Let's just say that if he was covered, head to foot, with mashed peas, women would still need bibs to catch all the drool."

At his intense stare, Lois became defensive. "What?!"

"Nothing," he mumbled, quickly biting his lip to hold back a grin.

"Anyway," she exhaled noisily, exasperated. "He's not just a sex symbol, Clark. He genuinely cares about people. He's sweet, sensitive, always there to help any and all that need him, all the while wanting nothing in return. But as nice as he is, there's this huge secret that he lives each day in fear someone will find out. If they do and tell those who would want to harm him, then he would be locked away forever. No one would be safe from these people so he has to hide his identity in order to protect his family and friends."

/Yeah I know the feeling,/ Clark thought. This guy led a life in fiction that he himself lived through on a daily basis. He understood more than most the fear that someone would hurt those closest to you just to trap or use you. Shaking his head, Clark tried to dispel the maudlin thoughts flowing through his mind.

"So, what else is so great about this show?" Clark asked, trying to sound upbeat.

"The action!"

"Of course."

"And just what is that suppose to mean?"

"Face it, Lois, you're an adrenaline junky."

"I certainly am not!"

"Are too."

She could hear the smile in his voice but determinedly decided to ignore it. "*Anyway*, those suits at the network still refuse to release it. It's been over a year since they started expanding the list of shows to be released. It is just so frustrating." With a sigh she ended her tirade. Once she was able to get all that off her chest she had finally run out of steam.

Clark understood, waiting was not something Lois did well and if the television execs were dragging their collective feet, his partners' frustration was justified.

Just being able to vent her pent up frustration was freeing and Lois realized that she could no longer maintain her anger. With a definitive snap, she closed the TV Guide and placed it back with its brothers in the magazine rack. Snagging her partners elbow, Lois headed off towards the elevators. As they approached, the door of one compartment opened, releasing its passengers. Once they stepped aboard a thought struck Clark.

"Lois, you never mentioned the name of the show."

Lois looked up at him and grinned.

"The Pretender."