By Rhea <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: October, 2006
Summary: Lois discovers Clark's secret, but is it really Clark's secret? Does the man of steel really have a bladder of paper? Could Clark be moonlighting as a secret agent? Are doughnuts really high in cholesterol? Does Perry really care? All these questions and more will be answered in this story.
"Now, you know honey, I can't just print this without a shred of proof," Perry said.
"But we have proof … sort of. Jimmy ran the numbers and Clark got the file together," Lois protested. "And I know that it's true!"
"You show me Clark's report and I'll consider printing it. It's good. Mayoral candidate funds election with slave smuggling trade. A headline like that could make or break a paper, so we've got to make sure our facts are straight."
"Clark said he finished it last night." Lois looked around as if only now noticing that he was nowhere in the newsroom. "Where is he anyway?"
Perry White shifted uncomfortably. "He said he had to go meet a source or some such."
There was something about the way Perry said this that made Lois realize he wasn't being entirely truthful with her. She didn't say anything, but she felt her face grow warm with fury. She smiled sweetly to Perry and said, "I'll find it for you right now even if I have to call Superman to find that rat!"
Perry raised a hand in warning, "Don't be so hard on Clark …" he started, but Lois had already swept out of the office. Perry put his hand to his neck to check his pulse and smiled as she stormed over to Clark Kent's desk and started searching the few pieces of paper on his desktop. Lois was relentless and determined, and that was exactly what he was counting on.
That snake was probably going to meet a source and didn't want her to tag along. The nerve of that man! But Lois had to admit to herself, even if she would never admit to it aloud, that she would do the same thing to him. So she had absolutely no guilt, none whatsoever, in going through Clark's desk to find the information that she needed to prove to Perry that they had a valid story. The file wasn't anywhere on the surface of his desktop, and it took only a bent paperclip for her to get into the bottom drawer. She thought, now really, if she could open it with a paper clip, it really wasn't actually locked was it? Besides, wasn't a locked drawer just begging someone to unlock it?
The drawer was filled with carefully organized and labeled files. Lois read the labels: cases, closed, computer passwords (have to check that file later!), contacts, final stories (archive), future follow-ups, Lex Luthor, and Lois Lane. She didn't know what surprised her more, the fact that her file was out of order, or that Clark Kent had a file on her!! She glanced around the newsroom and saw that she was alone.
Lois withdrew the file and closed the drawer. She opened the manila folder and sat back, absorbed in her find. It was filled with news clippings of stories containing her byline. She smiled when she noticed that most of her best stuff was collected here. She felt a warm glow take away most of her anger when she realized that Clark had cared enough to keep a copy of her work.
Lois was so engrossed that she didn't even look up when she heard a news report over the radio detailing a live Superman event occurring in Japan. It seemed that he was attempting to stop an out of control commuter train. Lois' attention was fixated on a small pink envelope just beneath the articles. It was, after all, in a file folder with her name on it. It was her right to read anything inside … wasn't it? It was unsealed, and she paused for only a second before lifting the flap to reveal a card inside. She opened it and began to read the type written text:
I'm not always comfortable with expressing my feelings aloud, so I decided to write them on this card. I don't know if I have been able to keep my feelings hidden from you, but I find that I must express them somewhere. I love you. I think I have always loved you. I know it may come as something of a shock, and it may not be what you would want from someone like me, but I can't help the way I feel. Just know that I'm always yours.
Lois couldn't believe her eyes. Had Clark written this? And if this was filed under "Lois Lane," did that mean that she was the woman he was writing about? She had always suspected that Clark was somewhat attracted to her, although she had some doubts when he failed to react to her during the whole pheromone affair. But they had all acted oddly then. Couldn't read too much into that, could she? How long ago had he written this? And why had he never given it to her?
Could he truly love her? Lois felt warmth spread through her at this knowledge. She was flattered. Flattered — that was all it was, right? She tried to imagine that Jimmy had written this about her, instead of Clark, and she felt unsettled. Was there more to her relationship with her partner than she had admitted to herself? Did the thought that Clark Kent loved her really fill her with such happiness and … dare she admit it … hope?
She glanced up to see Clark entering the newsroom, straightening his tie in that sweet nervous gesture she loved. He was wearing that charcoal suit she so loved on him. He really looked good today, but then he always looked amazing. She felt her heart speed up. He met her gaze across the newsroom, and suddenly she was caught.
Lois was certain that she was falling into his eyes, and a wave of warmth spread across her body. Clark stopped in mid-stride, seemingly as aware of her as she was aware of him. He flashed a devastating smile, and she felt her breath catch. She blushed furiously and glanced down at the file in her hand.
Lois couldn't face him right this second. She had too many things to think about, and her thoughts were all in a jumble. Clark was walking purposefully toward her now and when she glanced up again she saw a question beginning to form in his eyes.
Suddenly Perry White stuck his head out of his office door and bellowed, "Kent, in my office now!"
She shrugged at Clark, pretending to think his questioning look was about the Chief and not her sudden nervousness at his approach. Thank God he couldn't hear her heart racing a mile a minute!
Clark stopped and seemed about to ignore Perry, but the Chief insisted, "Stop dawdling boy, and get in here now."
Clark shot Lois a pointed look and disappeared inside the Editor's office.
When he was out of sight, Lois breathed a sigh of relief and hurriedly returned the folder to the drawer and closed it. She was too distracted to notice that the pink card had fallen from the folder and on to Clark's chair. Lois grabbed her coat and dashed for the empty elevator making a hasty retreat. Her spine lost its rigidity when the elevator doors closed.
She leaned against the far wall and sighed softly, "Oh, Clark."
Clark flew from Japan to Metropolis in less than a minute. He flew at a more leisurely pace than normal to give him a moment to unwind from that taxing Superman rescue. He was glad to be back at the Daily Planet. It had taken a lot of effort to stop the careening train; he had even doubted if he could stop it before it crossed the tracks and into the path of another train.
Fortunately, he had managed to halt the vehicle just in time. He cooled the burning engine with his super cool breath and made certain there weren't any injuries before he leapt into the skies for his return journey. On the roof of the Daily Planet, he spun into his clothes, ran his fingers through his hair and adjusted his glasses before dashing down the stairwell to the ground floor. After making sure the lobby was empty, he casually entered the elevator and was still adjusting his tie when the doors opened onto the newsroom.
He listened to the radio as it reported Superman's departure and the subsequent capture by the authorities of the saboteur. He thought about writing up the story but decided it would be too difficult for Clark Kent to justify acquiring the necessary information. Let the international newswire pick up that scoop. He'd write about Superman's capture of the ATM thieves earlier this afternoon. At least that would explain his recent absence.
He saw Lois sitting at his desk and he wondered what she was doing there. She was absolutely beautiful and he felt as if he'd just fell into a vat of kryptonite. But instead of being filled with pain, he just felt as if he couldn't breathe. Clark noticed her elevated heart rate. Her eyes widened slightly and he could hardly hear her breath catch over the sudden thundering of his own heart.
Clark could feel it then: she was attracted to him, and it filled him with a sense of euphoria. He smiled broadly, wondering if she could see his joy at this revelation. Clark knew they were friends, but this … this was so much more than he had ever hoped for. This was him, Clark Kent, that she was looking at right now.
Lois flushed, and he could almost feel her embarrassment at being so openly vulnerable. She seemed to pull into herself and acted almost guilty about something. What was she doing at his desk? He strode purposefully toward her, intent on finding out what had happened in his absence.
"Kent, in my office now!" Perry White's voice interrupted his thoughts. He wanted to ignore that summons and find out what was wrong with Lois. His eyebrows creased in confusion and he tried to ask her with his gaze.
She shrugged as if to say she couldn't explain the Chief's moods.
"Stop dawdling boy, and get in here now." Perry almost growled. Clark gave Lois one last glance and then disappeared into the Editor's office.
"You wanted to see me?" He tried to keep his attention fixed on Lois, but Perry would have none of it.
"Sit down, Son." Perry began to pace, and Clark felt his heart sink as he heard the distinctive ping of the elevator. Lois was leaving. The elevator doors closed and Clark shut his eyes for a moment. As if on cue, Perry swung toward the slumped reporter and asked, "Have you noticed anything odd about Lois lately?"
Clark's hearing was still focused on his partner and he heard her whisper, "Oh, Clark."
Something about the sound nearly undid him. He stood up and almost left before realizing that Perry was expecting an answer from him. Clark sank back down into the seat before answering, "Gee, Chief. Lois is a constant mystery to me. I think most things she does qualify as somewhat odd."
"You've got that right." Perry said with a laugh. A sly look crossed his face and then it was gone so fast that Clark almost wondered if he had imagined it.
"Well . . uh …I would appreciate if you could keep an eye on her. She's been acting more Lois-like than usual and I want to make sure she's all right."
"Sure… no problem. I'll just finish up my story and go check on her."
Perry nodded, "The story can wait. Just come in bright and early in the morning."
Clark thought, did I just hear him right? "Are you all right, Chief?"
"Nothing a night off and some Elvis music can't cure. Now get!" He waved Clark out of his office with as much fervor as he had previously ushered him in. Clark was really beginning to think something odd was happening. What had happened to the workhorse of a boss and where had his indifferent partner gone? If he was in an alternate universe, he just might decide to stay.
Clark slowly moved toward his chair, methodically grabbed his coat and looked at Perry White's closed door. If it hadn't been for his super-hearing he was certain he would not have heard the barely audible chuckling coming from the Chief Editor's office. There was something odd in the air tonight.
Clark knew that Lois was long gone and without some fancy footwork and awkward explanations there would be no way for him to catch up without making her suspicious. So unless something cataclysmic happened that was page one material, he wouldn't see her again until tomorrow. What had Perry acting so odd? Was something wrong with Lois? Should he be concerned?
Maybe he should just drop on by later tonight … Just to make certain she was safe. His heart sped up just a fraction at the thought of seeing her again.
Clark took his time leaving the newsroom and made his way to the roof so that he could catch a glimpse of Lois from the air while he did his evening rounds as Superman. He would have to wait for some time to pass before he could reasonably arrive at her apartment.
Before he could think further, a cry for help caught his attention. With a longing look toward Lois' apartment, he disappeared in a streak of red and blue in the opposite direction.
Lois leaned against the locked door of her apartment, and let her legs go weak. She allowed gravity to claim her as she slid slowly to the floor. It was as if she needed so much energy to contemplate her discovery that she had none left for anything else.
On one hand she felt as if everything was impossibly ruined and on the other hand that nothing could be more perfect. Why'd he have to go and mess up their comfortable friendship and why hadn't he ever told her? She didn't care if she was a mass of contradictions; she just needed to sort out her emotions.
How could Clark love her? She was a mess. He was always so sweet, the way he always adjusted to her mercurial moods. Clark was the only person she could go to when she needed to talk. Who was she supposed to turn to now? Her thoughts roamed over all the times she had spent with him. She thought of the way he was so dependable and yet how he always disappeared with the oddest excuses.
Lois knew that he lied to her when he dashed off like that; she just never really found out why. She was glad that he wasn't very comfortable lying to her. He certainly wasn't very good at it, but his odd departures still left questions in her mind. What drove Clark Kent away?
At first, she had thought he disappeared only when they began talking about something sensitive. But then she realized that although those were the times that she noticed his departures the most, he also did it during staff meetings and when they were working on stories; once he even disappeared when they were at a gas station!
Lois thought that he was trying to get stories on the sly, cutting her out of the byline, but she realized that those stories never emerged. Clark was always willing to share whatever he learned. No, he wasn't like Claude. If they competed, it was usually her fault for starting the competition.
There was something. There was a story there; she could feel it. But whatever it was, she doubted she would ever allow it to be printed. It was something personal, something that was so private, he wouldn't or couldn't even tell her.
Was he secretly married? Why would he hide that? No, a married man would never get away with wearing those terrible ties.
It had to be something else. Was he a spy? Did he have to make secret drops and go on missions for the government? Maybe she had hit upon something. He did always seem to have to go away in a hurry and it seemed that Clark didn't always know when he would have to leave. Maybe some secret government organization was keeping him on call by some silent signal and he had to heed that call no matter what. She smiled broadly. That had to be it! Clark Kent was a secret agent and he was in love with her. This was a really strange day.
Lois didn't know how long she'd been there before someone knocked at her door. She gave a quiet yelp of surprise, one that she would have sworn was inaudible, but Clark's voice on the other side sounded concerned, "Lois, you okay?"
"Just a minute." Lois jumped up, tearing her coat off and throwing it in her bedroom. She kicked off her shoes while she busied herself turning on lights. She must have been sitting for a while to allow the apartment to get so dark. She had no intention of letting Clark know that she had been wrapped up in thoughts of him for at least an hour. She grabbed a book and threw it on the couch as if he had just interrupted her reading. Lois ran her hands down her skirt, cursing herself silently when she realized she was still dressed for work. No help for that now.
"Lois?" Clark said slowly, hearing her running around in her apartment. What was she up to? Maybe Perry was on to something after all. She was acting odd.
Just then the door opened and a calm looking Lois peered out at him. Clark could hear her elevated heartbeat and her faster than at rest breathing, but she appeared to be composed.
"Clark!" Their eyes met and the tension became almost palpable.
He adjusted his glasses nervously. She seemed to be looking at him more intently than normal. To divert her attention, Clark raised the white bags he had been holding. "Hungry?" He asked her.
"What?" Her eyes dilated and she held her breath. "Oh . . the food. Is that what I think it is?" She opened the door wider to show him in. "That smells wonderful." Just then her stomach growled and she laughed, "I guess there's your answer."
Clark chuckled and entered the apartment. He made his way to the kitchen to start unloading the Chinese containers he had just picked up in Beijing. They had cooled just a bit in his quick flight back. When Lois dashed into the bedroom, he lowered his glasses and gave them a quick blast of his heat vision.
Satisfied with the results, he began to serve up the food. He was just bringing the plates to the coffee table when he caught sight of the book Lois had been reading: The Spy Who Loved Me.
"James Bond?" Clark asked Lois as she returned in the room wearing jeans and a short white t-shirt that emphasized her figure.
She flushed furiously and, grabbing the book, shoved it behind a pillow on the couch. "I read … a lot of things," she said, clearly uncomfortable. Why did she have to grab that particular book? What must he think now that she knew of his extracurricular activities?
Clark shrugged, wondering why she was embarrassed. "My favorite is From Russia with Love."
Lois tucked her hair behind her ear and settled into the couch. She grabbed a plate and asked, not quite meeting his eyes, "What do you think it's like … to be a spy, I mean?"
Clark thought about it while eating a wonton. "Probably not all that different from what we do. Find out information, meet with contacts, stop the bad guys."
Lois coughed and said, "But you have to be someone special to be a spy, don't you think?"
"Oh, I don't know. It can't be all that hard. Although I envy James Bond, he always gets the girl in the end," he said, meeting Lois' eyes. A wave of heat passed between them and her thoughts went back to that pink card she had found in Clark's file drawer.
"And you don't get the girl?" Lois asked pointedly. Clark shifted uncomfortably, wondering how the conversation had landed on this topic.
"I don't think I've read the last chapter yet, Lois." Clark murmured. She was so beautiful, but she was acting different. He could swear that something had changed about Lois. Was she trying to tell him something?
"What about you?" He tried for a casualness he didn't quite feel.
"Oh, I never get the girl either," Lois replied flippantly.
Clark laughed, "No. Did you ever want to be a Bond girl? You certainly have the guts, not to mention the figure."
"Oh, you!" She playfully slapped his arm, feeling as if her heart had expanded in her chest. She gazed into his eyes, certain that she was sinking into that dark gaze. She mentally shook herself.
She started eating and, after a moment of companionable silence, said, "Actually, I always wanted to be James Bond. He was so smooth; he could always get out of a jam without a hair out of place. Always knew the right thing to say …"
Suddenly she realized that Clark was so unlike this description. Could she have been wrong? She remained silent for a minute, lost in thought. If he wasn't a spy, then why did he always leave? Did he have some sort of bladder problem that he didn't want to admit to her?
"What is it, Lois? What's wrong?" Clark set down his plate and took the plate from her numb fingers. He grasped her hands in his noticing how cool she felt.
She glanced down at their joined hands and then said to him fiercely, "Clark, we've become close, haven't we?"
"I'd like to think so."
"Then you know that you could tell me anything."
He nodded slowly. He wasn't certain where she was going with this. Was she about to tell him the reason for her odd behavior this last day? "And I would hope that you would do the same, Lois."
"It's just that I was hoping that you would feel comfortable telling me about … you know." Lois said.
Clark eyebrows drew together. He was confused.
"You know." She gave him a conspiratorial look.
Had Lois guessed his secret? Did she know about Superman?
"I know that you have to do other things sometimes, that you have another job," Lois elaborated.
Clark's heart began slamming in his chest and he closed his eyes for a long second. This was the moment he had dreaded and yet a part of him felt as if a weight had been lifted from his soul.
"I know that you aren't just a reporter, Clark." Lois said softly. Her eyes pleaded with him to talk to her.
There was little doubt now. She knew! How had she discovered the truth? He slumped back in the couch. "I'm sorry Lois. I wanted to tell you…"
"But you couldn't because it's not just your secret to keep."
"Exactly!" He sat up. She understood. She was taking this rather well, much better than he would have imagined.
"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. Your secret is safe with me. Does Perry know about this?"
"I … I don't think so." Clark's spine straightened and he found he couldn't look away from Lois' eyes. "How did you find out?"
"Clark, I'm a reporter. How long did you think I would buy the cheese of the month excuse? Or I just have to pay a parking meter, when you don't even drive to work."
Clark flushed red and then said, "I never wanted to lie to you. You have to understand."
She put her hand over his lips, silencing him. She whispered. "Don't. You don't have to say anything more."
This was going so well, better then he could have ever hoped. But there was something about this conversation that just didn't seem quite right. "You're okay with this then?" He asked her.
"Well, I'm not saying that you don't owe me big time, buster, for all those flimsy excuses. We're going to have to work on that in the future. You're not going to be able to keep people from guessing if you can't get a better cover story. Didn't they ever teach you anything about that when you first started?"
"Teach me? My parents always tried to instill in me the value of honesty. I don't think I could expect anything else from them."
Lois cocked her head to the side pondering his answer. Just then Clark heard an airplane having engine trouble about ten miles away. He turned away from her and Lois recognized that distant look to his eyes.
"They're calling you now, aren't they?"
"Yes." He smiled in relief.
"How do they contact you?"
He looked at her curiously, "I can hear them. I'm sorry, Lois. We can talk about this later. I am almost out of time. I'm really glad that I don't have to lie to you anymore."
As Lois looked around to see if she could detect how he was being contacted, a blast of wind struck her in the face and when she looked up, Clark was gone. Maybe he wasn't so different from James Bond after all.
After the airplane rescue, a series of other disasters filled his time. It wasn't until it was the early hours of the morning that the world seemed to settle and he didn't see any immediate need for his special abilities.
Clark flew as Superman by Lois' apartment and saw that her lights were out. He didn't really expect that she would have stayed up this late to await his return, but he couldn't help but feel a pang of disappointment. He could hear her steady pulse and he used his x-ray vision to verify that she was fast asleep. The sheets were tangled around her legs, and for a moment he was transfixed. Her dark hair splayed out in contrast to the white of her pillowcase. Her face was soft in sleep. Clark wanted to swoop down there and gather her in his arms. He could probably do it gently enough so as not to wake her, but they were partners and friends; to do something like that would be … inappropriate.
They needed to talk, but their conversation would have to be continued at another time.
He flew to the Daily Planet to write up a couple of stories he had gathered. Clark preferred to work when the place was empty so he could work at an accelerated speed without raising any suspicions. The place was deserted. The cleaning crew had come and gone, and he relaxed knowing that he had a few hours of peace and solitude.
Clark turned on his computer and pulled out his chair, causing something pink to flutter to the floor. He retrieved the folded paper and sat down at his desk as he waited for the computer to finish booting up. Where had this come from? He opened it and read the contents.
I'm not always comfortable with expressing my feelings aloud, so I decided to write them on this card. I don't know if I have been able to keep my feelings hidden from you, but I find that I must express them somewhere. I love you. I think I have always loved you. I know it may come as something of a shock, and it may not be what you would want from someone like me, but I can't help the way I feel. Just know that I'm always yours.
Clark wondered how this could have gotten on his chair. Surely Lois would have noticed this had it already been there. She would have had to sit on it and he could see no creases that would have indicated that sort of history.
He tried to remember everything that had happened when he had entered the newsroom earlier this afternoon. He remembered how Lois had been sitting at his desk, how she had looked at him with a faintly guilty expression and how her heart had galloped as he had neared. She had raced out of there as if she had not wanted to face him just then and then he remembered her sighed words as she was well beyond normal hearing "Oh, Clark."
Lois must have left this for him. Had she thought he had already seen this when he had come to her place later in the evening? Were her feelings for him the reason for her odd behavior? Lois loved him! She hadn't signed either of their names, but perhaps she had been afraid to leave something so personal at work, in a place that made a business of butting into other people's business.
He was filled with elation. Clark was glad that he was alone since he was floating a couple feet of the floor. He closed his eyes and muttered a quiet prayer of thanks. Lois Lane loved him, Clark Kent! It was too good to be true.
Then he remembered. She knew his secret. Had she written this after she had discovered that he was Superman? His feet settled down on the floor with a loud thump. He could picture the scenario. Lois somehow worked out that her partner, Clark Kent, and Superman, the hero she had mooned over like a teenager, were one and the same. It didn't take her very long to decide to declare her love for him, but it really was just taking her infatuation to another level. Lois didn't love Clark Kent; she wanted the man in the cape, the person who was only a small portion of who he really was.
Clark knew that his perception of Superman being some other person than himself was a little odd. But it broke his heart that she never seemed interested in him unless he was leaping tall buildings or stopping speeding trains. What if they established a relationship and then something happened that caused him to lose his abilities for good? Would Lois ever be satisfied with who he was and not just what he could do? Now that Lois Lane knew that Clark was Superman, and professed her love for him just after this discovery, he felt he would never really know if their love was real. He did love her, it was true, but right now all he wanted to do was fly to the other side of the world and start all over again.
He didn't want to take the card home. Clark was too confused right now. He wanted to talk to her, not read her feelings for him on an anonymous card. Of course he would never throw it away. The sentiments expressed here were so close to the ones he had always hoped to hear. Clark opened his file drawer and put it in the file folder labeled "Lois Lane." He noticed the files were out of order and absently re-alphabetized them. He wasn't certain how to talk to Lois about this discovery. Maybe it would be best to pretend that he hadn't seen the card? He was never one to really avoid a problem, but he suddenly felt so tired. Maybe in the morning he would know what to do.
He turned his attention to the stories he had come here to write. He managed to crank them out, but they lacked emotion. With a heavy heart, he left the Daily Planet and walked the distance back to his apartment at normal speed. He settled into bed just as dawn was breaking.
Perry White was surprised to find the stories from Kent pending his approval. They were technically correct, but seemed to lack a certain depth. After a short debate, he sent them on and wondered if his little plan had failed. He was certain that Lois had found that card he had made. She had certainly scurried out of here like a mouse escaping a Cat's claws.
It was still early. Lois had not arrived, and with the late night stamp on these articles, he didn't expect Kent to arrive anytime soon. He casually made his way to Kent's desk and pulled out his master key. Sure enough, when he opened the file folder marked "Lois Lane" the pink card was still lying unread inside. Damn! And he had been certain that the discovery of a folder with her name on it would be too irresistible for her to …well … resist. Those two have been buzzing around each other for far too long, and he was getting too old to watch them play this game. Those two belonged together.
Jimmy Olson called from across the newsroom, "Morning Chief"
Perry quickly closed the file folder and made his way toward Jimmy. He took a doughnut out of the box and studied it as if it contained all the answers that he sought. Lately, he had been feeling out of sorts with Alice, and he knew that his feelings of unease were what had prompted this matchmaking attempt. Besides, those two belonged together. If they didn't resolve their unrequited feelings soon, he was certain that one or both of them would quit the Daily Planet and move on. He had a newspaper to run. He took a large bite and smiled.
"I thought you were watching your cholesterol, Chief." Jimmy's eyebrows rose.
"Some things are just too important to let sit lying around, Jimmy." He muttered.
Jimmy looked at the glazed one he had been thinking about since he had bought the box and said with a smile, "You've got that right!" He took the doughnut and walked away intent on his morning tasks.
Perry didn't hear the young man. He knew that he needed to do something to fix this mess. Maybe he just needed to encourage Lois to look one more time for that "file" he needed. This match making stuff sure looked easier in the movies!
Lois had waited up until she knew that there was no way that Clark would return that night. She had immersed herself in the routine of getting ready for bed as her mind raced through the possibilities. What was Clark doing right now? Was he single handedly facing some terrorist group? Was he trying to steal some information for some government project? Was he in danger even now?
She decided that the next time he wanted to do one of those disappearing act, she was going to insist on going along with him. Didn't he realize that he needed her? Lois was the one who was always pushing the limits of the law. Wasn't she the one who was good at getting information even when someone refused to talk? She was the one who owned a lock picking kit for crying out loud! Not that she ever remembered to take it with her, but that was beside the point. Lois didn't even know if Clark knew karate. She nearly had her brown belt in Tae Kwan Do. Why hadn't the government approached her? She would make a far better spy than Clark Kent! After all, he wasn't Superman!
It's a good thing that she was in love with Clark or she would be furious with him. That thought brought her up short. In love with him? Clark Kent? It was as if the final puzzle piece was put into place and she could finally make out the picture. Of course she was in love with him. He was attractive, noble, intelligent, sweet, and a terrible liar, which was one of the things she loved about him the most. He was so honest that it must literally cause him pain to tell untruths to the people he cares about. She had seen the card in his desk. She knew that he returned her feelings. Maybe it was time to let him know how she really felt.
When Lois got to the Daily Planet, Clark was nowhere to be seen. Perry White seemed to be hovering over her desk and almost pounced on her when she arrived in the newsroom.
"Did you get that file yet from Clark?"
With everything that had happened yesterday, she had completely forgotten the file Perry had requested. "I'll get it to you, right away." She noticed that the Editor had an edge about him that made her inspect him a little more closely.
"You okay, Perry?" Lois asked slowly. He had something white coating his upper lip and she gestured with her hand, "You've got a little something on your lip."
He swiped at it with the back of his hand and grinned when he saw the tell tale evidence of his departure from his diet. "Now don't go telling Alice about this, you hear?"
She raised her hand as if taking an oath. "Your secret is safe with me, Perry."
"Good, because I don't need another thing to set her off right now."
"Is anything wrong? You guys get into a fight?"
"Now, honey. Don't you worry about me. We've just had a small tiff. Where's that partner of yours anyway?"
Lois suddenly got flustered, "Oh, I'm sure he's just checking his mail before he came in today."
"His mail?" Perry looked at her as if she had just lost her mind.
"Well… you see …he has a source that only communicates with him through the U.S. Postal system. The paranoid type." She finished with as much confidence as she could muster.
"Got the letter right here." Clark said as he walked up behind him.
"Clark!" Lois exclaimed in relief.
"Kent!" Perry said in amusement. It couldn't be too bad between these two if Lois was trying to cover for her partner.
"Well, I'll just leave you two to have at it then." Perry walked off.
"Checking my mail?" Clark said with a grin.
"Well, it was the best I could think of at the time." Lois almost wailed.
Clark's grin grew wider.
"Well, he was on a rampage. Okay, so it was a lame excuse. I'll try to think of better ones in the future." Lois slumped down in her chair.
Clark was amused and very touched by the fact that Lois had tried to cover for him. Having her in on his secret did have its advantages, unless her suspicious behavior caused anyone to look deeper.
"I appreciate it Lois, really. It means a lot to me that you care enough to try." Clark soothed, he sat at the edge of her desk.
Lois looked up at him with a suspiciously moist gaze. "Of course I care, Clark! How could you even think that I wouldn't?"
When she looked at him like that, Clark couldn't help but feel his heart go out to her. She might be infatuated with Superman, but he knew that she was Clark Kent's friend no matter what.
"Let's go some place where we can talk privately," Clark said softly.
Jimmy came up to them. "Hey, CK!"
"Jimmy, tell Perry that we had something that we needed to work on. We'll check in later." Lois stood up and grabbed Clark arm.
"Sure thing, Lois." Jimmy said with a shrug.
After a short debate, they decided to go back to Clark's apartment. They took Lois' car and drove in silence. They glanced sidelong at each other, pretending not to notice the other's regard. Clark was uncomfortable and uncertain what he should say. Lois was filled with a quiet determination to get a few things off of her chest.
"Coffee?" Clark asked as he closed his apartment door behind them.
"No, thank you." Lois said, folding her legs under her as she sat on his couch.
Clark ran his fingers through his hair, at a loss for words. Lois patted the couch alongside her, and he sat down, grateful to have something to do. He wondered if he should mention finding the card, but he felt reluctant to bring up matters of emotion just yet. They needed to work out how she really felt about his alter ego. He had never doubted Lois' devotion to Superman, but he had always hoped she would notice the man without the cape. He sighed heavily.
"Hey, it's going to be all right." Lois said, feeling his tension. "I told you that I won't tell anyone."
"I know you won't, Lois. I trust you."
"Good. There's something that I need to talk to you about."
"Okay." He had been prepared for a series of questions and he braced himself for her anger.
"I can help you out."
This was so sweet and unexpected, he smiled at Lois. "I appreciate how you tried to cover for me, and you have to have a little sympathy about some of my transparent excuses." Clark tried for a bit of humor, hoping it would help to dispel his nervousness.
"We'll work on getting a plan in place for those times later. What I'm trying to say is that next time you go off on a …call, I want to go with you."
"Lois, you can't do that!" Clark's eyes grew wide. Of all the things he had anticipated, this was not one of them. Lois wanted to go with him when he was Superman?
"I can help you. What if you need back up? What if you get hurt? You need me, Clark." Lois insisted.
Clark was confused. He appreciated her concern, but he thought that she understood the whole invulnerability thing. "It takes a lot to hurt me, Lois. If I were to take you along, I would have to worry about your safety as well. I would be putting you in unnecessary danger."
"You're just like all men. You think that because I'm a woman I can't do what a man can do," Lois huffed. She crossed her arms in front of her and leaned back, clearly mad at her partner.
"Lois. It's not about being a woman. There are just certain things that I can do that …well…that others can't." She could be so frustrating some times. He was trying to be gentle. He didn't want Lois to think that he thought of her as any less because she didn't have superpowers.
"Tell me one thing that you can do that I can't," she insisted.
Clark considered her for a moment, wondering what exactly she was trying to prove. Was she trying to say in a roundabout manner that his powers didn't really matter? Isn't that the attitude he had always hoped that she would adopt?
He answered cautiously, "Well, for one thing I can see through things."
"I'm very observant as well. In fact, I saw that Perry was having some sort of issue at home just this very morning. He also ate a doughnut, against his doctor's recommendations, I might add." Lois said this very smugly.
"You know that's not what I mean." Clark was thrown for a second. "Perry's having trouble at home?"
"Oh, he said he and Alice had a small fight. It's probably nothing that won't sort itself out in time. You're changing the subject. Tell me something else you can do that I can't."
"I can fly."
"That's just silly, Clark. You know I have loads of unused frequent flier miles."
"Why are you doing this, Lois? Are you jealous? There's no need to make this a competition."
"I'm just saying that I can keep up. That's all," Lois said defensively. "Oh, Clark. I'm sorry. I just think that if some government agency is going to have someone be an agent for them, you would think they would ask me too. I thought we were partners. I mean, if you have to go flying off to Paris to deliver some briefcase to some diplomat, I could be there too. Of course, your French is better than mine. I should have known with all those languages that you speak that you weren't just a reporter."
Clark stared at her, certain that he was in a parallel dimension, one where Lois Lane had gone certifiably insane. He had interviewed enough people in his lifetime that he was able to maintain his composure despite his confusion.
He inspected her closely. "Have you received any sort of blow to the head recently?"
"Clark!" Lois protested.
"Gotten sprayed with any chemicals, flashed in the face with any strobe lights, or been exposed to any sort of strangely glowing meteor rocks?"
"What are you talking about, Clark? You're not making any sense. Is this some sort of technique they teach you at the Academy?" Lois asked.
Clark shook his head slowly, finally putting all the clues together. She didn't know that he was Superman. She thought he was some sort of government agent. Laughter bubbled up inside him, and it took all of his control to prevent the sound from escaping. But he couldn't stop the smile tugging at the corner of his lips. "Let me get this straight. You want to help me out because you think I'm some sort of secret agent?"
"Well … yeah." Lois was beginning to lose confidence. "Aren't you?"
She hadn't written that card to him because she thought he was Superman. She loved him anyway. He wondered if he should be upset that she was in love with Clark Kent, international man of mystery. He could see it now. No wonder she thought he needed her help. It made a certain amount of sense: all his disappearances, his fluency with a number of languages, his need to help others.
God, he loved this woman.
"Lois. I am not working for any government organization."
"You're not working for some splinter group?" Lois asked, looking worried.
"You read too many spy novels," Clark insisted.
"I thought you might be trying to help people, that you were doing some good. Don't tell me that my other theory is right then!" Lois moaned in dismay.
Clark cringed inside. Here's where she tells him that he's Superman. He asked tentatively, "What other theory?"
"That you have … um … well …"
"What is it, Lois?"
"That you have bladder or bowel problems," she said in a rush.
That was the last straw. He could not contain it anymore. He laughed harder than he had ever laughed in his life. Lois was anything but predictable.
"It happens to some people," Lois said defensively. "Then you tell me what's going on. I think I deserve the truth." If it wasn't for the suddenly vulnerable look in her eye, Clark might have considered evading her questions.
She lowered her gaze and continued in such a low voice that Clark wondered if it would have been audible without his enhanced hearing, "I thought I loved you, but you can't even be honest with me."
That immediately sobered him. His love for her suffused his being and he put his hand on the side of her cheek and whispered, "Lois." The depth of emotions in his voice brought her attention away from her feet and she met his gaze again.
Lois was mortified at her false assumptions and frankly humiliated that she could have been so wrong. Lois thought about everything she knew about her partner. But now she recalled all of the things that he had said. He could see through things. She had thought he was speaking metaphorically, but what if she had been wrong about that too? He could fly. She had insisted that she had frequent flier miles and could accompany him, but he seemed to think the thought was ludicrous.
Clark couldn't be talking about … no… that was impossible… wasn't it?
She reached out and pulled the glasses from Clark's face.
"Superman?" She whispered.
Clark's heart hammered in his chest and he wondered if Lois could hear it even without enhanced senses. "Yes, but I'm still your partner too. I just sometimes have this … other job I sometimes have to do." He tried for a lightly teasing smile, but his mouth quirked in a quick grimace instead. He was so afraid that she would hate him now. This was the moment he had anticipated, no dreaded, since the moment he became Superman.
"But I've seen you …I mean Superman and Clark Kent together. Haven't I?" Lois was stunned. She felt numb, but her mind was racing to assemble the pieces together.
"I can move really fast." Clark stated.
"So fast that I didn't even see you fly out of here yesterday." She said in astonishment, remembering his disappearing act of the day before.
Lois got to her feet and began to pace in front of the couch. "You lied to me. You let me think that you were two people."
"I'm sorry, Lois. I wanted to tell you. I also wanted to have an ordinary life. If everyone knew what a mild mannered reporter at the Daily Planet could do, any hope of normalcy would be over." Clark's eyes pleaded with her.
She went over their conversation of the last two days. He had said that he wanted to tell her and she had replied stating that it wasn't just his secret to keep. Clark had then exclaimed, "Exactly."
Lois paused in her pacing but she kept her gaze on the ground. "You thought that if you told me that I would print it and that would put your parents in jeopardy."
"You mean if you printed "Clark Kent is Superman" on the cover of the Daily Planet? Yes, that would be an issue." He watched her pace wanting to pull her into his arms, but knowing that she wouldn't welcome him at this moment.
Lois' gaze fixed on her partner's face. There was a haunted quality to her expression that hurt Clark worse than kryptonite. She said, "Do you really believe that I could do something like that to you or to Superman? Oh, you know what I mean. This is so confusing. I know that I'm sometimes relentless when I'm in pursuit of a story, but I also have a sense of morality when it comes to the things that I write. How could you think that I would do that to you, Clark? Or should I be calling you Superman now?" She spat the last part at him, trying to find some way of punishing Clark for all the pain flooding through her.
This was exactly the reaction Clark had anticipated and had feared from Lois. "I'm still Clark," he said. "I'm still your partner and your friend, and I had hoped someday that there would be something more heartfelt between us. I find the whole thing confusing at times, too. My parents complain that I talk about myself in the third person. I've never wanted to lie to you. All I know is that I wanted you in my life as Superman, but mostly as Clark."
His words seeped their way into her heart and seemed to settle into the empty place she hadn't even known was there. Lois was hurt that he hadn't told her, angry at herself that she hadn't realized earlier, and humiliated that she had said some of the things to Clark about Superman that she would never admit to Superman's face. She sat on the floor and covered her face with her hands, trying to gain some distance from him.
Clark sank to the floor with her and pulled her into his lap. "Lois, I never meant to hurt you. I wanted to tell you often." He kissed the top of her head as he hugged her against him.
"But you didn't. Did you?" She buried her head in his chest and as she settled in closer, reveling in the scent of him, the feel of him against her. She was mad at him, but not so angry that she wasn't averse to secretly enjoying the contact.
"No. I didn't and I'm sorry. I was insecure."
"Superman was insecure." Lois said this without emotion.
"For all my strength, and all my abilities, I am just a man. I wanted you to love me the way I love you, for all of you. I don't just love you for your reporting skills, and I don't just love you for the way you make coffee."
"Good thing too." She snuffled into his shirt. Clark smiled, knowing he was making some headway. "It's kind of like a rich man never knowing if the beautiful woman on his arm is really there for him or for what he could buy her."
She raised her tear streaked face to look into Clark's eyes. His voice cracked as he said, "And you are so beautiful, so wonderful. How could I not love you?"
"Oh, Clark." She closed the distance between them and kissed him, tangled her fingers in his soft hair.
Clark closed his eyes as Lois' velvet soft mouth met his own. Suddenly, all background sounds that he had grown use to ignoring faded away. There was nothing except Lois. Kissing Lois was better than flying. He groaned, deepening the kiss as he shifted so that she was flush against him.
Lois loved the feeling of his body against hers. She heard Clark groan deep in his throat and it caused tingling warmth to spread through her body. She shuddered slightly, tasting him, smelling the clean scent of him, feeling his strong arms around her. She felt so safe and yet at the same time as if she was entering dangerous territory. Lois felt heady with his nearness and marveled that she could feel such passion for this man and only just now realize it.
She had known that she loved Clark, but she hadn't expected to feel such intense emotion for him; certainly she had never felt this way about anyone before. She had thought that they could build a nice companionable relationship with her best friend. She had never dreamed that she could be so swept away. She had been blind on so many levels. Lois had been working alongside Clark for a while, and although she had been attracted to him, she would never have guessed that she could feel like she needed someone so desperately. Lois felt as if her heart were trying to escape the confines of her chest and she felt her body flush in response as their tongues tangled together in an erotic dance.
She pulled back panting and gazed into Clark's face. His eyes were dark, regarding her intently. His face was flushed, and he visibly gathered himself together, regaining control.
"What are you thinking?" Lois asked him.
"How I've never been so moved in my entire life," Clark answered with hoarse honesty.
She rested her forehead against his and when she regained her breath she said, "Do you know how confused you had me?"
"I'm sorry …"
Lois interrupted raising her head. "I had feelings for two seemingly different men and I was certain that if I thought I was in love with two people, I couldn't really be in love at all. I had to be pretty shallow to be in love with two people at the same time." She paused and then said, "First, I was distracted by this super man who wore this outfit that displayed his great looking body."
"My mom said that they wouldn't be looking at my face." Clark blushed.
"Your mom?" Lois giggled a bit and then said, "And then he swept in like an angel saving me and anyone else without asking for anything in return. How could I resist? And then there was this great partner who was kind of naive, but had a wonderful heart. He was charming and good-looking. He was everything I could hope for, but every time I started to get close, he ran off. I was certain he …I mean, you, had relationship issues. And then I thought that maybe you were kind of … well, a coward."
Seeing Clark's wounded expression, Lois tried to explain. "Every time there was an emergency, you would run off and then Superman would show up to save the day. Clark Kent always avoided danger while Superman faced the danger. So I loved one man who was mostly there for me whenever I was in peril and another who was only there when I needed a friend. What was I to think?"
Clark had never looked at it from Lois' point of view before. It made sense. How could she really respect someone who ran away leaving her to face the danger alone? No wonder she viewed Superman as a different person than Clark Kent. It wasn't just his powers; it was also what he did while he was wearing the suit. "I'm so sorry, Lois. I should have told you earlier, but the longer I waited, the harder it became. I don't know if I would have ever known that you would welcome my love if it wasn't for the card that you left for me yesterday."
Her eyes grew wide and she held her breath for a moment.
"Lois?" Clark said concerned.
"What card?" She finally asked.
"The little pink card, you know, the one where you said 'Just know that you would always be mine,'" Clark answered.
Lois's jaw dropped. "I thought you wrote that for me."
Lois hadn't written those words for him. He felt a moment's panic before he realized that she had still said that she loved him. He had to be certain: "I thought you left that for me on my desk chair."
"No. It must have fallen out when I pulled out the file from your desk. Not that I wouldn't have written you something like that … if I had thought of it." Lois was flustered again. Was there anything that she knew to be truth? Maybe she should just give up the whole reporter thing entirely.
"Go on." Clark was in full reporter mode now. He sat up straight and didn't protest when Lois rose from her seated position on the floor to sit on the couch. He took his glasses where Lois had left them on the table and put them back on. He rose to his feet with a grace that belied his size and joined her on the couch.
"I thought you had written it and had never had the courage to give it to me. I found it in your file drawer, in the folder marked Lois Lane," she explained.
"You went into my locked desk? Without my permission?" Clark was more amused than angry, but he wasn't averse to giving Lois a hard time about her relaxed attitude toward breaking and entry.
"Well, why did you have a folder with my name on it anyway?" Lois asked defensively.
"Because I wanted to keep a copy of your articles." Clark shifted uncomfortably. "I was proud of you."
"Really?" Lois asked in an almost little girl voice.
Lois beamed at him and then adopted a more serious look. Clark grinned. He always loved when Lois got that determined look in her eye.
"So, you didn't write that for me," she said dejectedly.
"Believe me, Lois, if I had any idea that writing you a love letter would result in us being together, I would have given you one the first day I met you." There was no debating the earnestness in his bearing.
"I'm kind of glad that you didn't write it."
Seeing Clark's questioning look, Lois continued, "I like this much better." She wrapped her arms around him and they hugged.
"If you didn't write that card, and I didn't write that card, then who … ?" Lois' voice trailed off.
"Why were you in my desk?"
"I only went into your desk because Perry was hounding me to find that file on the slave smuggling scandal. Oh no, I never did give him that file."
"He didn't ask me about it when I saw him," Clark said with a speculative look.
They shared a moment of complete clarity. "Perry!" They exclaimed in unison.
"I can't believe he would do that to us! What is this, fool Lois Lane week?" She threw her hands up in exasperation. "What do you think he was trying to do?"
"I think Perry White was successful in his goal. He was trying to get us together … playing matchmaker."
"Ooooohh. I could strangle him," Lois said.
"Don't you dare laugh! First, I think you're a secret agent, and then I find out you're Superman, and now Perry writes love letters for us to find so that we naturally come to the conclusion that we are in love with each other," Lois ranted.
"I think his heart was in the right place. We are? Aren't we?"
"What?" Lois looked up at him, her hair falling across her face. She reached up and tucked it behind her ear. Clark's breath caught in his throat.
"In love with each other."
A shy grin spread across her face and she said, "Yeah. I guess we are."
"Do you think we would have known that today if he hadn't left that card for us to find?" Clark asked.
"Probably not. But I still say that he has a lot to answer for. I don't like being manipulated or being misled. What do you think we should do about it?" Lois asked.
Clark's voice dropped an octave. "I wouldn't mind kissing you again."
"I mean after that!" Lois said. Her gaze had dropped to his lips, mesmerized. Clark felt a coil of tension tighten within him. All he could think of was the beautiful woman beside him. He still couldn't get over the fact that she knew his secret and that she loved him. Life was looking good right about now. The minor fact that Perry had meddled in their lives didn't bother him as much as it irked Lois.
"As long as we got that straight," Clark grinned. "Let's figure it out later. Right now I can't concentrate on anything but you."
Lois barely had time to nod in agreement before Clark bent down to claim her lips in a kiss. She opened her mouth to him, and he did not hesitate to deepen the contact. Lois was assaulted by sensation. Their tongues dueled as their lips slid against each other in a silken glide. She could happily stay like this forever. Lois' bones had gone soft, leaving only nerves sending definite impulses that left her aching to get even closer.
Clark felt as if his veins were filled with lava and that there was not nearly enough oxygen in the room. He doubted that he could remain rational for long. He broke away reluctantly. "That was beyond amazing," he finally managed.
Lois swallowed hard, unable to stop looking at the curve of his lips. "Umm. Yeah. What you just said." She smiled at him, her eyes twinkling with a joyful humor.
"So…do you feel as if that cleared your head?" Lois murmured.
Clark groaned. "Lois, I don't think I could tell you my middle name right now."
"I don't think I care about that at this exact moment, Clark *Jerome* Kent."
"What about Perry?"
"Don't know his middle name and don't want to do to him the things I'm thinking about doing to you right now," Lois said.
He was definitely going to lose control. "Let's slow this down a bit. I would like to be able to date before … well …"
Lois flushed because she knew he was right, but tell that to her hormones.
Something about Lois' last comment seemed to distract Clark and he finally focused enough to see what they should do. "I have an idea."
Clark spun into his Superman outfit, smiled slightly at Lois' amazement. Then he pulled her in close to him. They moved at super-speed across the city. They were at the Daily Planet in moments. With Clark's x-ray vision, it took them very little time to find the pink stationary in Perry's office. They smiled conspiratorially and went to work.
The next morning at the Daily Planet they were greeted by their Editor in Chief. The moment he saw them arrive in the newsroom, he bellowed, "Lois, Clark, in my office now." He disappeared inside.
Lois gave Clark a worried look. He shrugged and tried to give her an encouraging smile.
They tentatively entered the office. Perry closed the office door behind them and gave them a stern look. But he couldn't maintain it; his face quickly broke out into a wide grin. "Come here, you two!"
He held his arms out and hugged them both simultaneously. They hardly had a moment to react before Perry was pulling away. "I should have known better than to try to pull one over on the two best investigative reporters in the business."
Lois busied herself with straightening her shirt and smoothing out the slight creases in her skirt. "What gave me away?" Perry asked them.
Clark shot Lois a questioning look. Lois opened her mouth to speak and no sound came out.
"Well . .uh . . " Clark started and then stopped when he realized that he was just as unprepared to answer as Lois.
"A good reporter never reveals her sources," Lois said without much confidence.
"Well, I have to say that Alice was thrilled with the flowers and particularly touched by the love letter you two wrote."
"We just adapted your own words, Chief," Lois protested.
His expression seemed to say "Ah Ha!" but he remained silent, his broad grin straining his cheeks. Then he sobered and gave them a concerned almost paternal look. "What about … I mean … you two … are you two getting along okay? I mean, I just thought that … well you know … you just…" Perry coughed, his face flushing in embarrassment.
Lois linked her arm through Clark's and said, "We didn't figure it out right away."
Clark grinned down at her. She gave him a pointed look and he saw that she wanted him to elaborate. Instead of replying, he bent down to give her a kiss. She melted in his arms.
The kiss became more passionate and Perry began to chuckle. "All right, you two. You made your point. This is a newsroom, not the back of a '57 Chevy."
Lois and Clark broke apart and smiled somewhat self consciously. "Thanks, Perry," Clark said.
"Yes, thanks, and if you ever do anything like that again I'll …" Lois started.
"Now, now. I promise my matchmaking days are over. Although have you seen the way Jimmy has been mooning over that new copy repair girl? I swear, if he jams that machine one more time, I'm going to have to have a word with that boy."
"I have faith you'll do the right thing, Perry." Lois said, patting his arm. Then she left the office, pulling Clark behind her.
"There's never a dull moment around here, is there?" Clark asked.
Lois smiled devilishly at her partner. "That's just what I was counting on."