By DSDragon <DASWillow783@gmail.com>
Submitted: July 2006
Summary: Lois is peeved, and the owner of the First Metropolis Bank owes her a favor. What's a reporter to do?
Author's Notes: This story is a response to Framework4's Cover (http://www.lcficmbs.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t= Story Challenge on the LC Fanfic Message Board 000519). I realize that the setting (not to mention how they got there) is unrealistic, but it was fun to write and I hope everyone is able to suspend their disbelief long enough to enjoy the fic.
*This story takes place somewhere between "Target, Jimmy Olsen," and "Whine, Whine, Whine," but does not include those episodes. In other words, Lois has already gotten the "Chocolate vs. Rocky Road" chat, and she hasn't yet decided who she really wants.*
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or the settings in this fanfic. I only own the idea. The rest belongs to Warner Brothers. .
"Thanks, Mr. Jones," Lois Lane said to the man on the other end of the line once she'd gotten one final quote for her latest article.
"No, no, Ms. Lane," the man answered. "I should be the one thanking you. If you hadn't figured out that the tellers were in on the robberies, I'd probably be out of business by now."
It was true. Even the police had been stumped by the string of robberies that had happened at the same bank every day for the past week. Before even Superman could get to the scene, the robbers would have been and gone, despite the alarms having been tripped. And somehow, they never struck when other customers were there to witness.
Lois had figured out that the tellers had deliberately waited to trip the alarms until after the thieves left. The thieves didn't strike at the same time of day, but the same tellers were always working whenever the bank was robbed, and they would hand over the money every time without a fight.
"If there is ever anything I can do, anything at all …" Mr. Jones, the bank's owner continued.
Lois normally didn't take anyone up on such offers when she was given them, and certainly didn't expect to make an exception today, until she became distracted by a quiet argument to her right.
Her partner, Clark Kent, was speaking to DEA Agent Dan Scardino, and by the set of Clark's jaw and the gestures both men were making, it looked like Clark was trying to get Scardino to leave Lois alone—again—not that she needed, or had even asked him, to do so.
In fact, she wished that her two friends would just get along for once, but it didn't look like that would happen anytime soon. Unless …
"Actually, Mr. Jones, I was wondering if I could borrow your lobby for a little while after hours for a bit of personal business…" .
Late that night, Clark Kent made his way inside the First Bank of Metropolis. He had been a bit puzzled by Lois's cryptic e-mail. In her message, she said she wanted to check out a new angle for the investigation he thought they'd already wrapped up.
Despite his confusion, however, he knew that if he didn't go along, she'd probably go alone, and he would rather be nearby in case she got into trouble.
As the door closed behind him, he noticed Agent "Please, call me Daniel," Scardino sitting in one of the chairs in the bank's waiting area, reading something.
He heard a "click" behind him and noticed that the outer doors had been locked from the outside, but there was no one in sight by the time he'd made his way back through the inner doors to look.
Checking the locking mechanism, he saw that both sides required a key to unlock the door. Hoping to find a key in the manager's office, Clark made his way toward the teller's counter.
"I wouldn't," Scardino said without looking up from the missive in his hand.
Clark asked, "Why not?"
The only answer he received was the envelope that the DEA agent waved in front of his face. He walked to where Dan sat, took the envelope, and then retreated to sit in one of the chairs on the opposite side of the room to read the message inside.
The letter began. He read on.
*If you got here first, don't even think of reading Dan's letter, because they're basically the same. Don't try to get out the back way, or to find the key either; the floors on the other side of the tellers' stations have alarms set on them.
Why are you here? You may ask. Because I'm tired of two of my friends always sniping at each other and turning into possessive Neanderthals whenever they're in the same room—especially since neither of you has any claim on me at this moment.*
Clark may have known that himself, but he couldn't help but flinch at Lois's blunt statement. The letter continued:
*So, once I told him what I wanted it for, and that you were both trustworthy, Mr. Jones, the owner of this bank, was happy to lend me the use of his lobby for the night.
I'll be back to let you out in the morning before the opening manager comes, and I expect the two of you to at least come to some sort of agreement to be civil to each other. Or else.
I'll be watching,
P.S. The security cameras have been turned off to give the two of you some privacy for the discussion that had better happen, so you'd both better be on the lookout for people who shouldn't be there, or Mr. Jones will take any losses out of MY checkbook. *
Normally, an open-ended "or else" would not have fazed Clark, but an "or else" from Lois was another thing entirely. Clark often maintained that there were only two things that could kill the Man of Steel: Kryptonite and the wrath (or tears) of Lois Lane—and he had more chance of surviving the Kryptonite.
Just out of curiosity, Clark pulled down his glasses to try and find his vibrant partner, but did not see her anywhere within the radius of two or three blocks from the bank. An empty threat, he wondered, or would she be checking up on them from outside the bank periodically?
Either way, there wasn't much he could do at the moment, so he re-folded the note, replaced it in the envelope, and spoke.
"So," he said. "It looks like we're stuck here for the night."
Scardino grunted an affirmative.
Clark clasped his hands behind his head as he sat back in the chair, leaning it on its two back legs.
"It's going to be a long night.".
Two hours later, the two men hadn't moved from their respective chairs.
"This is all your fault, you know," Daniel suddenly said.
"MY fault?!" Kent spluttered from the chair on the other side of the double doors. "How is it MY fault? Lois and I were doing just fine until you came along!"
"Oh, right," he answered dryly. "And I suppose running away at the drop of a hat is a sign of affection and deep commitment where you come from—Kansas, isn't it?"
"Did it ever occur to you that I might have a very good reason," Kent sure sounded frustrated as he stood and paced in front of Daniel, arms flailing, "for leaving which has nothing to do with whatever comes out of my mouth at the time?"
Daniel rolled his eyes, even though he knew that Kent wasn't watching.
"Yeah, you don't care," he answered.
"Actually," the other man argued, so quiet that Daniel almost didn't hear him, "sometimes I think I care too much."
"Oh, sure, and I'm the Easter Bunny."
"Look," Kent interjected, coming to a halt in front of Daniel's chair and slicing the air with his right hand angrily. "I don't have to explain anything to you; the only person to whom I owe an explanation is Lois, and last time I checked, you aren't her."
"Uh huh," Daniel ribbed, one eyebrow raised. "But it looks like we're stuck here for awhile, so unless you're sticking to the 'caring too much' spiel, it would probably pass the time if we—maybe—had a civil conversation."
Kent looked surprised, as though he didn't believe that Daniel could be civil. "I—" he began, then stared off into the space behind Daniel's chair, all color draining from his face.
After a few seconds, the reporter shook his head, his eyes shifting back and forth as though he were a deer stuck in front of a moving vehicle without hope of escape, and then slumped, a man resigned to his fate. "I've got to go," he said, defeated.
Daniel would have laughed, if not for the totally serious expression on Kent's face. "Good luck with that," he replied with a snort. "There are only say—" he looked at his watch, "—five more hours until Lois gets back here to let us out."
Kent sighed. "I can get out—and I have to right now—but please don't go anywhere. I'll be back before Lois."
"Uh huh," Daniel scoffed. "Sure you—"
Just then, he saw Kent remove his ever-present glasses and go into a whirlwind spin the likes of which Daniel had never seen. His eyes nearly popped out of his head as the brown blur turned red and blue, and his jaw hit the floor when the other man stopped spinning.
Before Daniel's brain could register the happenings of the last few milliseconds, Superman flew to the back of the bank, retrieved the key from the manager's office, unlocked the outer doors, and then went through, re-locking the doors and tucking the key somewhere behind his cape.
"—Can," Daniel managed to finish as Superman left the bank at top speed.
Unable to do anything else for the time being, and too shocked to care, Daniel collapsed back into his chair, staring at the tellers' windows.
For the next half hour, he thought to himself, sometimes muttering, "I've had a pissing contest with Superman, and didn't even know it! Wait a minute; I thought he was supposed to be above that kind of thing …" .
Clark dreaded returning from the fire, but he dreaded not being there when Lois showed up even more. So, an hour and a half after he'd sped out of the bank, he sped right back into it, putting the key back where he'd found it before going back to the lobby for his second spin change.
Once he had settled back into his chair, glasses and all, there was a moment of silence before Scardino spoke.
"So," the DEA agent said, almost nonchalantly. "Superman, huh?"
"Yeah," Clark sighed.
"Why don't you just tell her then?" Dan asked, coming to sit in a closer chair.
"That's exactly what I've been trying to do the last few months," Clark opined through clenched teeth. "It's not exactly the kind of thing to tell the woman you love just as you're headed out the door though.
And every time we try to sit down and have a decent conversation, someone needs my help, Jimmy interrupts, or you butt in."
He looked up just in time to see Scardino wince. "In all fairness," he continued, "you didn't know why I was leaving and probably thought I was deliberately mistreating her."
Dan nodded. "I might've mentioned as such to Lois on occasion too." He blushed.
Clark ran both hands through his hair, then sat back with a large sigh. "It figures." .
Around six-thirty in the morning, the two men had been sitting in another awkward silence for a few hours. Deciding it was about time one of them said something, Daniel told Clark, "I won't tell anyone about … you know." He waved his hand vaguely in the direction of Clark's chest.
Startled by the sudden break in the silence, Clark answered, "Thanks, I appreciate that."
"I figure, if everybody knows, then all those enemies you've racked up since last year will go after Lois, and that wouldn't be a good thing."
"Lois, my parents, Perry, Jimmy, all the people I had more than just a passing acquaintance with during my travels a few years back—the list is endless," Clark answered.
"So, what's it like on Krypton?" Daniel asked, picking up on Clark's wish to change the subject.
"How should I know?" Clark retorted with wide eyes.
"Well, that's where you're from, isn't it?"
"Sure," the other man nodded, "but I don't know much about it—I grew up in Kansas."
"Hmmm," Daniel mused, preparing to ask more questions.
"I don't mean to be rude," Clark interjected, "but some of the stuff I think you're about to ask, I would rather share with just Lois first."
"Fair enough," Daniel conceded as they both heard the locks click.
"Don't tell her that you know!" Clark whispered frantically as the doors opened. "Don't even let it slip that I told you anything, please!" By the time Lois stepped into the lobby from the inner doors, Dan's thumbs-up sign had been and gone. .
Author's Note: I wasn't planning on stopping the story here at first.
In fact, I thought I'd have a whole other scene where Lois comes back and glares at them until they show her that they can be civil, and then Daniel says that he's actually planning on heading back to Washington—the higher-ups have been trying to get him there for a formal chewing-out since the Resurrection investigation, after all.
But then, once I had typed up that last scene, I realized that the story seemed complete as it was, and didn't really need that one final bow in the plot. What do you think?
Feedback is greatly appreciated. Please e-mail me at (http://www.lcficmbs.com/cgi-bin/boards/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_t DASWillow783@gmail.com, or go to the feedback thread opic&f=1&t=005524) on the message board for this story.