By FinLi <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted April 2006
Summary: Lois always knew Clark had a big secret, but she wasn't prepared for this.
Clark raced out of his apartment. He was late. Even with super speed, he couldn't seem to catch up today.
For the past few days, he and Lois had been frantically trying to stay one step ahead of the reporters from the Metropolis Star, who had scooped the Daily Planet on every major news story for the past two weeks.
Perry White had let them know in no uncertain terms that they all would be looking for new jobs if they didn't land some good stories, "Pronto."
So now he was rushing off to meet Lois. She had just called with news that a source had told her something was happening at Metropolis's new casino construction site.
Running a hand through his still-damp hair, he shrugged into his dark blue blazer, tightened his tie, and hailed a cab. As he climbed inside and closed the door, something in the back of his mind told him that he was forgetting something. Something important. Sighing, he let his head drop back onto the seat as he tried to concentrate for a moment, hoping that it would come to him. He had taken out the trash, ordered the flowers for his mom's birthday…
The taxi stopped suddenly, and the door was wrenched open. Lois plopped down beside him with an exasperated sigh. "It took you long enough," she snapped. He opened his mouth to respond, but decided against it. It would be pointless to start an argument with her. It was better to save his energy to keep up with her for the next few hours.
He took a deep breath as the soft scent of her perfume drifted through the car, reminding him of lilacs in spring. His concentration shattered, he pushed whatever he was trying to remember out of his mind. He was sure it would come to him… eventually.
He turned towards her on the seat, his eyebrows raised questioningly. She had that intense look on her face. The one she always got when she was in full reporter mode. "So, what did your source say?" he asked.
She turned her head in his direction, her bobbed hair hitting her face. She pushed it back impatiently as she spoke. "Bobby Bigmouth told me that they are using substandard building material on the new casino," she answered excitedly. "I thought we could go check it out." She reached into her purse and took out a piece of paper, handing it to him. "He told me to talk to a Mr. Ryan." She shrugged. "I guess he is the foreman."
Clark looked at the paper, handed it back, and then settled back into the seat, glancing at his watch. It seemed harmless enough. A few quick scans with his x-ray vision, and he would be able to tell whether or not it was shoddy workmanship. If it was, they could write the story in time for the evening edition and get back into Perry's good graces.
Arriving at the casino construction site twenty minutes later, Clark paid the cab driver and then caught up with Lois as she started across the dusty lot.
As they made their way past the large noisy construction equipment, Clark held out his arm, halting Lois. They waited for a dump truck while it sped past, kicking up a cloud of fine dust. Coughing, Lois shielded her eyes, almost colliding with a construction worker who had emerged from the swirling cloud. She reached out her hand, stopping him. "Excuse me, but could you direct me to someone in charge?" The man simply pointed to a green trailer sitting at the end of the construction site and then continued on his way.
The two reporters looked at each other, and Clark shrugged. "Thank you." he called out to the man, who was already out of earshot. He chuckled, motioning for Lois to walk on ahead of him. They continued on in silence until they reached the site foreman's trailer, and Lois knocked on the door. A thin man in dress slacks, dress shirt, and loosely knotted tie opened the door.
"Can I help you?" he asked.
"Are you Mr. Ryan?" Lois asked. The man shook his head cautiously, and Lois stepped up on to the metal stairs, placing her hand on the door to keep him from closing it when he found who they were. "Lois Lane and Clark Kent. We're from the Daily Planet. We're here to investigate reports that substandard material is being used in the construction of this casino. We would like to have a look around, and ask you a few questions."
Clark smiled to himself. "Good old Lois, straight to the point. This is why I love being her partner," he thought.
Mr. Ryan sighed loudly and muttered to himself. "I knew this was going to happen. I'm already two months behind, and now this." He stepped back into the dark trailer, but returned seconds later with three hard hats. He handed them each a yellow one. "Here, if you're going to go snooping around my job site, I want you to be safe." Leading the way, he placed a white one on his head.
As they entered the building, Clark realized that, even though it didn't look like it from the outside, it was huge. Some of it was almost completed while other parts were no more than skeletal. They walked past welders welding the steel girders and beams. Sparks cascaded down from above, and Clark steered Lois out of the way. They walked through what was to be the lobby into another expansive room. Some of the drywall had been put into place, and in one section the ceiling was being put up. Electrical wiring hung from gaps in the walls and ceiling.
Mr. Ryan stopped in the middle of the large room. "This is the main part of the casino, where the slot machines will be, and over there—" He pointed to the right. "— Is where the gaming tables will be." He turned motioning for them to follow. They made their way down a hallway still covered in drywall dust. "Now, back this way is the kitchens and housekeeping departments. And upstairs—" He pointed up a steel stairway. "—Will be for security."
Lois was taking it all in and jotting notes down on her notepad. "That's great, Mr. Ryan, but where did you get the materials for this project? Who are the suppliers?"
As she rattled off more questions, Clark nonchalantly looked around. There weren't many workers in this part of the building so, glancing around, he pulled his glasses down slightly, scanning the walls with his x-ray vision. The drywall melted away to reveal what lay underneath. The pipes, wiring, and insulation all looked to be in good shape. The foundation and walls looked solid. He frowned slightly. It didn't look like there was going to be much of a story here.
As he continued to scan, the nagging thought that he was forgetting something needled his mind. What could it be? He tried picturing all the rooms in his apartment, searching for that one elusive thing that would jog his memory. He had turned off the iron, had paid the bill that was almost overdue. He hardly ever used the stove, so that wasn't it.
"What was it?" he muttered under his breath.
"Clark? What is what?" Lois's questioning tone snapped him back to the present. Pushing his glasses back into place, he turned in her direction.
"Uh, sorry Lois, I guess I kind of zoned out there for a minute." He smiled apologetically. Looking around, he noticed that Mr. Ryan wasn't with them anymore. "Did you get any information from the foreman?" he asked her quickly, trying to get her mind off of him and back on the story.
She rolled her eyes in disappointment. "No, he says everything is on the level." Then she lowered her voice. "But I still think something isn't right here. We need to do some more snooping around." She grabbed his arm and started pulling him along as she whispered. "On our own."
Clark let her drag him down another partially finished hallway. "Lois, I think he's telling the truth. Everything looks all right to me."
She didn't stop, but gave him a look of irritation. "How would you know if they were using inferior material or not Clark? You're not a contractor."
Clark grabbed her hand, halting her. "How do you?"
She snatched her hand away. "I don't," she pouted defensively. "That's why I'm going to see if I can find some plans or material invoices. Something that we can do some research on." She started leading him again.
"Where are we going?" he finally asked after she had pulled him through a labyrinth of hallways.
She pointed to a sign that was leaning against the wall that had "Executive Offices" written on it. "Mr. Ryan said that they use the offices for meetings with the owners. They're in the one section that is almost finished. I'll bet they keep plans and records in there."
They were turning the corner when suddenly they heard voices. Two workmen were coming their way. Panicking, Lois pulled Clark into the nearest room.
As they hurried inside, Clark shook his head. It wasn't an executive office. The sign must have been wrong. He looked around. It was the vault room where they would keep the money for the casino. Although it was still under construction, it was close to being finished. A large desk sat just inside the door, with monitors and phones waiting to be connected. The smell of fresh paint filled the air.
The enormous vault itself, its door hanging open, took up the rest of the massive room. Curious, Clark peeked inside, marveling at the fact that it was bigger than his apartment. His apartment, he thought again. The place where there was something he'd forgotten.
The two workmen got closer and the reporters went still, looking at each other, both with the same question in their eyes. "What are we going to do?"
As the men got to the vault room door, one spoke.
"Come on Frank, its quit'n time," he whined. "It's Friday and I want to get out of here. I need a beer."
"Ok, ok," answered Frank impatiently. "I just need check the vault room and make sure everything is locked up for the weekend. Then we can go."
Lois was the first one to spring into action, and she grabbed Clark's hand, pulling him into the vault. Once inside, she frantically looked around for a place to hide, but it was Clark who finally pressed her against the wall behind a stack of boxes, shielding her from view. She placed her hands on his shirt; ready to push him away, but feeling the hard contours of his chest, she decided that it wasn't so bad being where she was. She could feel his warmth through the thin shirt, his heartbeat thumped steadily under her hand. She snuggled a little closer. She couldn't be sure, but she thought she heard his breath catch slightly.
She didn't have time to contemplate her position any further as one of the men entered the outer room, and the fear of getting caught suddenly overran the sensations that were coursing through her body… well, almost.
The one called Frank entered the outer room, glancing around. When he saw the opened vault door, he shook his head in disbelief. "Every time I come in here, this door is open," he said softly to himself. Grabbing the handle, he pushed the heavy door closed, giving the lock a spin before he left.
When the vault door closed, Lois shoved Clark away. The feeling of his hard body pressed against hers was now only a fleeting memory as she ran to the door, giving the handle a futile tug. "Great!" She stamped her foot, whirling around to glare at Clark.
"I can't believe you let him lock us in here." She gave the handle another tug.
"Me?" He looked at her in astonishment. "You're the one who pulled me in here."
The image of him pushing her against the wall flashed through her mind again, and a look of embarrassment crossed her face, prompted by the thoughts that had been spinning through her head only seconds ago.
"Let's not play the blame game, all right? Let's just find a way out of here." She tried to keep her voice level, willing her heart to stop its erratic fluttering. Not wanting to argue, Clark nodded his head in agreement. Having her soft form pressed against his was wreaking havoc on his senses. Her warm breath on his neck, her hands on his chest. It was sweet torture. Shaking his muddled head, he stepped away from her, needing to put some space between them.
Together they systematically examined the cavernous room. But after a few short minutes, it was clear to them both that there wasn't a way out.
Lois slumped against the wall in defeat. "What are we going to do now?"
Clark's heart started to beat wildly. What were they going to do? They couldn't wait here all weekend… could they? No food or water, they wouldn't… no, she wouldn't make it. He wouldn't put her through that. But there wasn't any way to get out unless he used his powers. Unfortunately, he couldn't use them without her finding out his biggest secret… that he was Superman… unless.
"Lois?" He walked over to stand in front of her. "There is something I need to tell you."
She looked at him hesitantly, forcing herself to look into his dark brown eyes. "What?"
He shifted nervously. "I don't have a choice, we can't wait until someone comes to let us out so…"
Right before her eyes he began to spin, faster and faster, a blur, shedding his clothes until suddenly, he stopped, arms crossed over his chest, standing there in his familiar Superman pose.
His eyes met hers and a smile tugged at his lips. He felt a great sense of accomplishment. "Finally," he thought triumphantly to himself. For the first time since he had met her, Lois Lane was completely speechless.
She stood there, frozen, her brown eyes wide with shock.
"That's right Lois." He smiled confidently. "I'm…"
"Naked." Lois finished his sentence.
Now it was his turn to be shocked. And in that instant it came to him, the thing that he had forgotten at the apartment this morning… the suit.