Truth, Justice, and Superman's Way

By Tank Wilson <>

Rated: PG-13

Submitted: July, 2006

Summary: Lois Lane's overseas capture by militant rebels forces Clark to face some tough questions. Just how far will Superman go to save the woman he loves, and what consequences will it have for him… and the world?

Disclaimer: The characters in this story are trademarked and copyrighted to their respected owners. Any and all feedback is welcome at


She was going to die. She knew that, and it made her angry.

She stumbled, nearly losing her balance, as the men on either side dragged her along the long, narrow corridor. The leather hood over her head was suffocatingly hot, and the smell of it nearly made her retch. She was certain that other unfortunate individuals who'd been forced to wear this hood before her had done just that.

She'd committed the cardinal sin of all reporters. She'd become part of the story. She'd allowed her own disgust and indignation over the situation here to color her articles. Her reports had contained more than just the facts. In an effort to more vividly convey the horror she had witnessed, she had allowed herself to editorialize. Her personal commentary on the war-torn land had sold newspapers… and had made her enemies. That was nothing new, but her notoriety had gained her an unwanted bonus. She'd become a symbol.

Lois Lane had become some sort of symbol of defiance against those whose use of fear and terror had long ago stripped away any remnants of the meaningful ideology which had originally fueled their revolt. And now, because she had let herself become part of the story, her death would become the finale of this particular chapter.

She heard the opening of a door and was roughly thrust into what must have been a room of some kind. She couldn't sense any walls near her, and from the sounds made by the movements of her captors, it must have been a fairly large room. She was forced to her knees, pressed down onto a hard concrete floor. An argument in a language she couldn't understand was taking place above her head. Her mind drifted back to an argument that had taken place just a couple of weeks earlier.

It had been the latest incarnation of the most common problem she and Clark had in their relationship. Lois had been offered the chance to go overseas and cover the controversial conflict that was currently in all the headlines. She saw it as a chance to expand and enhance her career. A chance to really flex her journalistic muscles.

Clark hadn't seen it that way. He'd only seen the danger. He'd asked her not to take the assignment.

Even though he was her husband and she loved him dearly, she had, of course, taken the assignment. After all, she was Lois Lane, and no one, not even Superman, told her what to do. Harsh words had been exchanged and old topics trotted back out again.

She was able to take care of herself, and she resented Clark's over-protective nature.

He'd countered with his assertions that she too often leapt before she looked and took greater risks than were called for. He couldn't always be there to pull her out of danger.

She'd made some crack about 'nobody asking him to' and that was that. They hadn't spoken to each other since that night.

The fact that she was here, while Superman had been needed to help out with a series of disastrous earthquakes in China, had something to do with their lack of contact. But in equal measure, their individual stubborn streaks had contributed to their current estrangement.

And now she was going to die, and her last words to the person she loved most in the world had been ones of anger and spite. The regret threatened to overwhelm her, but she choked back her sobs. She didn't want her captors to think that they were the cause of her tears. She'd meet her death defiant to the end. She wouldn't give them the satisfaction of breaking down.

The hood was ripped off her head. The light immediately blinded her. Her eyes teared up as they struggled to acclimate to the sudden brightness. Her hair was sodden from her sweat, and it stuck to her face. She wanted to reach up and push the sticky hair away, but, of course, her hands were securely tied behind her back. She took several deep breaths of the cool fresh air as she slowly became aware of her surroundings.

She was in a room that consisted of little more than four walls. There were no windows, and she assumed the door she had come through was behind her. She didn't see any others. The walls were some sort of masonry and had been partially whitewashed. There were a few other men wandering about, obviously getting ready for the spectacle. Her eyes focused on the video camera that was set up in front of her. Apparently, they planned for her execution to be on the six o' clock news.

"It won't be too much longer now, Ms. Lane." The man whom Lois knew only as 'The Leader' bent down and spoke into her ear. "Once the lights are properly set up, we'll be ready to begin." His lips curled into a snarl. "Though it's probably more than you deserve." She heard a blade being pulled from its protective sheath. "You will feel very little pain. My blow will be swift and strong." He reached over, grabbed a handful of her hair, and, with a single stroke, sliced it off close to the scalp. "And you can see that the blade is very sharp."

"You're all heart." Her sarcasm was met with a bark of laughter.

She tuned out her captor as he began the litany of her crimes against his people and their cause. Instead, she thought of Clark and how he was going to be devastated when he saw the tape of her beheading on the local news… again and again and again. He would feel just as guilty as she did over their last argument. He would feel the same regrets as she did that their last words to each other had been in anger. She couldn't stop the tear from falling from the corner of her eye. Let them think she was about to break down in fear. That the terror of her situation was about to get to her. It didn't matter what they thought.

What mattered most was the fact that she wouldn't get a chance to see Clark one last time. That she wouldn't be able to kiss his lips, or even just stroke his cheek. She wouldn't be able to say goodbye. That thought was the one that threatened to cause her to break down.

She took a shuddering deep breath and, with an iron will, composed her features. She was Lois Lane, and she would show these criminals, who hid behind false slogans and cowardly acts, how a person with true convictions died.

Her attention snapped back to the present as The Leader began speaking again.

"Normally, we'd blindfold the prisoner, but in your case I want the world to recognize you. They must see your face as my blade of vengeance falls."

"Of course."

"If you would just look into the camera. Once the red light comes on, I will enumerate your crimes against our cause. Then I will pause for a moment, for effect. You understand. Then I will strike the blow for our freedom."

Lois, still on her knees, straightened her back and stared straight into the camera lens. "How's this? I wouldn't want it said that I messed up your production by slouching, or looking away."

A deep-throated chuckle answered her. "Defiant to the end, I see. That's good; the weepy ones can be so trying." Suddenly, the red light over the lens came on. "It's time."

Lois didn't want to die, but she knew that the Lane luck had finally run out. Clark was thousands of miles away, helping dig unfortunates out of an earthquake ravaged land. There wasn't going to be any last-minute miracle rescue coming from that source. She'd always known that she was not one destined to die in her sleep at an advanced age. But she had hoped that she'd have more time with Clark. She hadn't known that she was capable of so much love, but Clark Kent had shown her the way. If it had to be a choice between knowing and loving Clark for a short time or a long life never having known his love and loving him in return, there was no doubt in her mind which life she'd have chosen.

The Leader had stopped his tirade for the camera. She sensed, rather than saw, his arms rise. Every muscle in her body tensed to a rock-hard rigor. She could see a dim shadow against the far wall. The slender blade was poised high above The Leader's head. It hung suspended there for an eternity, then it began to descend. She closed her eyes.

"I'm sorry, Clark."


Superman's muscles ached from fatigue as he shifted another pile of rubble in the search for more survivors. The fourth aftershock had been the worst yet. An entire Chinese village had been literally swallowed up by the devastation. He'd been digging for hours but hadn't, as yet, found a single person alive. The only thing wearier than his body was his heart. It was times like these that he wondered how he was able to keep doing this.

The answer was obvious… Lois. She kept him connected. She was his constant reminder of what was good in the world. She understood what he went through and could soothe his troubled mind with just a hug and a kiss. She made him human.

He knew that he'd grown more dependant on her love and support as the years had gone by, but no man, nor woman, nor even a super man, could continue to immerse himself in death and destruction on such a scale alone. No man could continue to daily fight the evil that men do without being able to come home to the good. He needed Lois. He needed her more than she could ever know. He needed her more than she needed him, and that was why they were at their current impasse.

His greatest fear had always been that he'd lose her someday. That he would be a second too late, or worse, totally unaware when her own drive for truth and justice put her in mortal danger. It was a fear that grew greater with each passing day, and too often he let his fears interfere with their relationship.

He wasn't stupid. He knew that, barring a fatal confrontation with Kryptonite, he'd most likely outlive all his friends and loved ones, and that included Lois. If she lived to a ripe old age and passed peacefully in her sleep, he could accept that. It was the natural order of things. What constantly haunted his nightmares was the sudden, unnatural demise of his headstrong, independent, and foolishly brave wife.

Of course, her single-minded determination to right any wrong that she saw, to tilt at the windmills of corruption and vice, was one of the reasons he was so in love with her. He just wished she didn't attract danger like a magnet. Didn't constantly find herself dangling over the jaws of death. The Planet's health insurance company had insisted on a rider that forced Lois Lane to pay a higher premium for her coverage than any other employee at the paper. Not that he could blame them.

Thoughts of their argument nearly two weeks ago caused a sigh to escape from his lips.

"Are you all right Mr. Superman?" A young Red Cross worker had heard his sigh and had come up next to him.

He let the young woman see that tired sadness in his eyes. He let his gaze sweep across the destruction. "No, I'm not all right." He gave her a wan smile. "But we all do what we can, and continue on."

The young woman nodded. "Yeah, it's pretty terrible. Let's hope that there won't be any more aftershocks." She gave his arm a squeeze. "I don't think there is anything more that you can do here that we can't handle. As always, we appreciate your help, but I'm sure you have a lot of demands on your time."

He was just about to protest when he let that thought slip away. "Thanks, I think I will be going. There is someone I need to see."

Suddenly, Clark had an urgent need to see Lois. It wasn't anything he could articulate; it was just a feeling that something wasn't right. He'd found out when he'd had contact with the New Kryptonians that his people possessed telepathic abilities. It had taken him a bit of time, but he'd even been able to converse telepathically with Zara, and on a simpler level with Ching.

He and Lois had never actually exhibited those abilities, but in times of extreme emotion and stress, he was usually able to get a sense of what Lois was feeling. It wasn't a true empathy as he understood the term, but it was definitely real, and he was having one of those episodes now. He couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. That Lois was in trouble. The fact the she was currently in the middle of a very violent and unpredictable situation only served to increase his worry.

Lois had gotten into and out of trouble ever since he'd known her. And apparently, she had also been pretty good at it before they'd met. But since that fateful day when he'd first laid eyes on Lois Lane, he'd felt this 'connection' between the two of them. It was probably why he seemed to get to her in the 'nick of time' so often. That, and the fact that he rarely let her out of his sight for any length of time.

That didn't mean that Lois had led a charmed life since they'd partnered up. She'd had her share of injuries on the job, even after they'd married. But in hindsight, he'd been aware of each of those times. They just had happened so fast that he hadn't had any time to act. This was different. He could feel her agitation growing, as if the danger was increasing. He put on a burst of speed, and in moments he was over the war-ravaged land.

He followed the growing strength of his own agitation to get close to where he prayed that Lois was. He used his x-ray vision to scan all the buildings he was flying over, hoping that she wasn't in some lead-lined bunker somewhere. He was nearly in a panic when he finally found her in an old run-down warehouse at the edge of the city. His heart nearly stopped as he saw the tableau unfolding below him. The video camera and the several large men standing around the room didn't even register in his brain. The only thing he could see was his wife, bound and kneeling, and a man with a large sword in his upraised arm.

If anyone had been watching Superman hovering over the old warehouse at that moment, they would have sworn that he'd disappeared. One second he was there, the next moment he was gone. A rather loud sonic boom echoed through the dusty streets.


Lois stared at herself in the bathroom mirror, fussing with her hair, trying to make sure that the small bald spot she now had, thanks to her captor, was covered. With one more swipe of the brush she nodded, satisfied with the result. It had been a near thing, probably the closest call she'd ever had. It had been two days since Clark had rescued her, but a shiver still passed over her every time she thought about it.

She stepped out of the bathroom and spied her husband sitting on the couch. The news was on the television, but he didn't seem to be watching it. She was worried about him. She'd never seen him react like that before. He'd saved her life in the past, countless times, but he'd never been so, so… frantic. He'd nearly torn The Leader's arm off when he'd disarmed the man. Then, using a gale like blast of his super breath, he'd blown everyone else into the walls with such force that they had all been knocked unconscious. It wasn't that the creeps hadn't deserved what they'd gotten. It was that she'd never seen Superman so violent before. It had scared her.

Since they'd returned, he'd been moody and uncommunicative. She knew that he had feared for her life, and that the closeness of this latest rescue had scared him. But when she'd tried to talk to him about it, he'd shut her out. He had made up some excuse about being needed back in China, and had been gone for much of the time since they'd returned home.

Lois let her attention turn to the noise coming from the television screen, and noise it was. Ever since her rescue, the members of The Leader's terrorist group had been railing against Superman. Calling him a puppet of the Great Satan of the West, a solider of their oppressors. They claimed that Lois had been a political prisoner and that as such Superman had had no right to interfere with their administration of justice.

LNN had been running the story of her rescue and the subsequent political fallout nearly continuously since her return. It was getting a little tiring seeing the same wild-eyed fanatics shouting the same inflammatory garbage hour after hour.

"Can't these idiots find anything else to harp about? Jeez, you'd think nothing else has happened in the world in the last couple of days." She stomped over and turned off the set. Turning, she saw her husband deep in thought. His mouth was drawn into a tight line. She came over and sat next to him on the couch. "Are you all right, honey?"

She slowly turned his head until he met her concerned gaze. "Lois, we have to talk."

She nodded. "Okay."

He stood. "But we can't right now. I've asked the U.N. for a chance to speak directly to the General Assembly. I'm supposed to be there in ten minutes."

Lois jumped up. Why hadn't he told her? "Crap, Clark, why didn't you tell me?" She bit her lower lip. "It'll take me that long to get changed into something appropriate."

He shook his head. "I don't think it would be a good idea for you to come."

"What? I'm a reporter. I should be there to cover it."

"There hasn't been any real advance word on this. The Planet will just have to rely on local stringers, as will the rest of the country's papers. I'm sure that it will be covered by the television news networks." He turned away from her and stared at his feet. "Besides, I don't think it would be wise for Lois Lane to be anywhere near Superman for a while."

"Okay," she replied in a small voice. It did make sense, sort of, but it still hurt. It almost sounded like he didn't want to be with her. But that was nonsense… wasn't it?

Before she could catch a second breath, Clark had spun into the suit and had flown out the window, too fast to be seen. The backwash of his departure had mussed her hair. She didn't bother to try and smooth it back into shape. Allowing herself a sigh, Lois picked up the remote and thumbed LNN back to life as she sat back down on the couch and waited for her husband's speech to air.


Clark stared out at the august assembly before him. He took a breath and stood up straighter. It was time for Superman to address the world. He stepped up to the microphone. He could see all the red lights on the television cameras as they swung their focus onto to him at the dais.

"Mr. Secretary-General, honored ambassadors, I thank you for this opportunity to speak to you all. Due to the controversy that has been stirred up by recent events I thought it was time for me to come and address you all. Since I first went public with my abilities, I tried to make it clear that I was here to help. Clearly, the word 'help' has different meanings for different people. I'm here today to define that term for all of you, and, by extension, the rest of the world."

Superman took another deep breath. He knew that what he was going to say might cause a stir. That some would believe him and some wouldn't. It didn't matter. It needed to be said. He needed to go on record once and for all.

"As all of you know, I'm not originally from this world. I've been called a strange visitor from another planet. But what most of you don't know is that I've been on this world most of my life. I was rocketed to earth as a small baby and was raised by a kindly couple in America. They raised me with traditional values and taught me a sense of right and wrong that has stood me in good stead all these years."

He saw that his admission had surprised many of the assembly. "I know that many of you see me as an American, and truthfully, I'd have to say that many of my sympathies lie with the United States and a democratic system." Suddenly, shouts started to come from the floor of the assembly. Superman held up his hands. "Please, allow me to continue."

A couple of sharp raps from his gavel by the Secretary-General brought the room back to order. "I also consider myself a citizen of Earth. I've traveled extensively and have marveled at the wondrous diversity of this small world. People from Krypton didn't have powers like mine on their home planet, and neither did I as a child. It was only after being on this world for several years that I developed these miraculous gifts, and that is what they are — gifts. I knew there had to be a reason why I was blessed with these abilities, why I was allowed to survive the destruction of the planet of my birth."

He took a moment, hoping that the gathered ambassadors would see his sincerity, for he truly believed what he was about to say. "Why else would I be given these incredible powers, gifted with these unbelievable abilities, if not to help people? So that is what I try to do. I try to help people. All people."

It was time for the reason that he was here. "As I said before, not everyone sees my desire to help in the same way, so I felt it was time that I came before you and spelled out exactly what Superman will — and won't — do."

He took another breath as he allowed his words to sink in. "First, I will defend this planet against any and all extra-terrestrial threats, whether they be of a natural origin — such as the Nightfall asteroid — or another sentient race wanting to exert their dominance over the earth. I've even fought for this world against survivors of my home planet, Krypton."

He let his gaze fall upon the assembly. He looked for reaction, but the host was predictably non-committal. "Second; I will help out whenever and where ever I can in the event of natural disasters, no matter where on the globe they might occur. Most of you know that I've spent a lot of time recently helping out in the earthquake-ravaged region of China. While I can never prevent Mother Nature from unleashing her fury, my powers allow me to mitigate the severity of the aftermath, and help out in the clean-up process."

He paused, and took a breath. Now for the one that will cause the stir. "Lastly; I will respect the local laws of every sovereign nation and will abide by their statutes when I'm within their borders." This brought out the reaction he thought it would. The representatives of those countries which would rather not have Superman hanging around began to shout out their derision and disbelief. "Silence!" An astounded hush fell over the assemblage, who were stunned by the force of his shout. "I'm not here to enter into a debate. I'm here to clarify, once and for all, what Superman is."

As Superman, Clark wasn't above a bit of theatrics, and right now a dramatic pause was called for. No one spoke; they merely waited for him to continue. "I will now tell you what I will not do. I will not take sides in any political disagreements, including wars both civil and international. It is for the people being governed to decide how their country should be run, and to this end I will neither endorse, nor defame any candidate for election. I will never allow any government, or leader of a government, to use me as their tool or weapon. This includes the government of the United States. Now, even though I won't take sides in any declared war, I will, if I'm able to, aid any innocent non-combatants who are endangered by the fighting."

"What about Lois Lane?" A man near the back stood up and stared at the Man of Steel. Superman returned the stare until the man sheepishly sat down.

"I will not involve myself in any religious debate or hold any spiritual belief above another. My beliefs are my own, and shall remain that way. And, above all else, I will not, under any circumstances, willingly kill another sentient being."

He could tell that many of the ambassadors wanted to shout out questions and demands but were afraid to do so. Superman let his gaze sweep the crowd once again. "Even though I have already answered the question, I will explain my rescue of Lois Lane. Ms. Lane is a reporter. She was stationed where she was to report on the conflict; she was not a part of it. I only regret that in the recent past I was not present when other innocents suffered at the hands of fanatics whose only message is hate, and who consider anyone who isn't one of them an enemy. I'm only one man, and even with all my gifts I can't be everywhere."

The sigh he allowed himself wasn't theatrics. "Every civilized government, and this august body itself, has denounced the actions of those who use terror and target innocents as the means to spread their message of intolerance and hate. Let those who use such tactics be forewarned. You can no longer hide behind the cloak of religious persecution or civil unrest. You are now on Superman's radar, and I promise you, whenever I can, I will stop you."

Superman rose several feet into the air as pandemonium broke out in the hall. Many were applauding; some just expressed outrage at the tone had taken with the Assembly. And there were those who shouted their disapproval of his words. He ignored them all. He'd said what he'd come to say. Without a backward glance, he drifted up to a skylight he'd previously arranged to have open, and zoomed out of view.


"That's telling 'em, Clark!" Lois sat back and used the remote to turn off the television. She hoped that Clark would be back soon.

No sooner had the thought been formed in her mind then the announcing breeze blew through the room. Before her eyes could focus on the whirlwind of color, it had solidified into her husband. She grinned at him and gave him a thumb's up as he walked over and sat next to her on the couch. He'd changed into a black T-shirt and jeans. For some reason, it was her favorite wardrobe on him.

"You were magnificent," she said, giving him a squeeze and putting her head on his shoulder. She could feel the tenseness in his muscles. She pulled back and looked at him. "What's wrong?"

He stared at his hands, clasped tightly in front of him. "I almost lost you this time."

He was brooding again. "Yeah, well just another one for the old tote board; bad guys zero, Lois and Superman… I've lost count."

His head snapped around. "This isn't funny, Lois."

His voice held a harsh edge to it. It was almost like a slap in the face. She reacted as she always did to a perceived attack. She got angry. "It never has been, Clark." She stood up and placed herself directly in front of him, her arms crossed above her breasts. "What, you think I look to put myself in mortal danger just to challenge you? To see how close I can actually come to death before you come and save the day?"

"No, of course not." He ran a hand through his hair. "It's just…"

"It's just what? I'm always dangling over the jaws of death? I don't look before I leap? I take too many risks because I know that you'll be there to pull my fat out of the fire?" She began to pace. "We've been through this time and time again, Clark. I'm a reporter. I only know how to do my job one way, and that's all-out. And if that entails taking risks, then I take risks. I've been doing it that way since before I met you. It's who I am. You knew that going in, and you know me well enough to know that I'm not going to change."

He sighed. "That's not it… Well, it is and it isn't."

Lois rolled her eyes. "You're going to have to explain that one."

She watched as Clark stared at his hands again, his shoulders hunched. Then he seemed to straighten himself up, and he looked up at her. "Lois, do you remember Tokyo Rose?"


"Not what, who. Do you know who she was?"

Lois was confused. "Yeah, I remember reading about her in history class. Wasn't she some disaffected American woman who used to broadcast Japanese propaganda over the radio to our troops stationed in the Pacific during World War II? If I remember right, didn't our troops find her more amusing than threatening?"

"That's close. Actually, it was widely held that there were several English-speaking women who were used to broadcast the propaganda. Collectively they were known as Tokyo Rose. But the one woman most closely associated with the role was Iva Toguri D'Aquino, a United States citizen who was in Japan at the start of the war."

"I assume there's some point to this history lesson?"

"In 1949 the woman was convicted of treason and imprisoned by the United States government."

Lois frowned. There was something else about this Tokyo Rose thing that was nibbling at the back of her brain. "Wait… wasn't there something? I know, didn't President Ford pardon this woman? Something about perjured testimony?"

Clark nodded. "That's true, but it doesn't change the fact that the woman was tried, convicted, and imprisoned for a political crime."

Lois bit on her lip as her brow furrowed in thought. Suddenly it came to her. "Okay, I get it. If you'd have been around back then, you couldn't have gotten involved in this woman's plight because she was a political prisoner." Lois chewed on her lip some more. "So, what? You think I was playing at being some sort of Tokyo Rose with my articles? Clark, that's ridiculous." Lois resumed her pacing. "In the first place I'm not even from that country, so how could I betray them? And you said it yourself, at the U.N. These so-called freedom fighters are really nothing more than hate-mongering terrorists. And if I recall your speech correctly, Superman considers them fair game."

Clark reached out and stopped Lois' pacing. "You're absolutely right, Lois. It isn't the same thing, but it is what that group was shouting about. They claimed you were a political prisoner, a captive of war, and as such were subject to their justice. I was even confronted at the United Nations."

Lois nodded. "I know, I've had to listen to the ranting on LNN for the last two days, and I did hear your response to their challenge while in front of the assembly. But I also felt that you answered them, too. Didn't you?"

"Yes, I don't believe that I crossed over any of the tenets that I laid out this afternoon. I still believe that I was on firm ethical and moral ground."

"So what's the problem?"

"It was close, Lois. Too close."

She watched the emotions play across his face. She could see the fear, but there was more. There was conflict. He was wrestling with a demon, and she knew what that demon was. She knelt down in front of him and took his hands in hers. A tear rolled down one cheek as all her earlier anger slipped away.

"Clark, I know what you are trying to tell me." She used her finger to tilt his chin up so their eyes could meet. "You're saying that it's possible for me to get myself embroiled in such a situation where you, as Superman, won't be able to rescue me. I guess I never looked at it that way before, but I can see where that could happen." She stroked his face in that intimate way that they had with each other. "If that day should ever come, you have to know that I won't blame you. Superman has to stand for something greater than any individual need. I will understand."

Clark grabbed her hand, and pressed a kiss onto her palm. He stood. "No, Lois, you don't understand."

Lois was confused again. She rose from her knees and followed Clark, who'd now begun to pace. He made a circuit of the room, then stopped by the window. He stared out at the local street traffic that went by for several moments before he turned back to face her.

"Most everyone thinks that only Kryptonite can hurt Superman, but that can only kill me. You have the power to destroy Superman."

She gasped. What was he saying? She wanted to deny his bold statement. Surely he knew she would never do anything to hurt him?

"Lois, I would never, under any circumstances, allow you to come to harm if I could prevent it. I will always try to save you, even from yourself. You are too important to me. You are a part of me. I can't imagine my life without you anymore." The other shoe had just dropped for Lois, but she let him continue. "I told everyone that I would respect and abide by the rules of law for their countries, yet I already broke that promise when I broke you out of jail after that murder trial."

"But I was framed. You knew I was innocent." He just stared at her. She waved her hand at him. "Okay, okay, I get it."

"No, I still don't think you quite understand. I would compromise everything that Superman stands for to save you, Lois. I would commit crimes. I would overthrow governments."

Lois suddenly felt an icy chill stab at her heart. "Would you kill?" Her voice was barely above a whisper.

The pain in his eyes was like a physical blow to her. "Don't ask me that."

She reached out her hand, but was afraid to touch him. "Why?"

"Because I don't know the answer. Because there is no answer. Either way would mean my destruction."

Lois numbly made her way back to the couch and collapsed onto it. Tears rolled down her cheeks. What was she supposed to do?

"So, what do we do? I can't be wrapped up in some protective cocoon, avoiding anything that seems the least bit risky, it's just not me. I'd suffocate. I love you dearly, but you can't ask me to do that."

He sat down next to her and put his arm around her shoulder. She leaned her head against him. "I'm not asking you to, but just as I've had to adjust to who you are, you have to realize that there's a third party in this relationship. Even if not publicly, Superman is a part of this marriage. Who and what he is has to be factored in."

Clark took her hand and began to rub his thumb across the back of it. "Lois, you are the best investigative reporter the Daily Planet has ever seen. I don't want to change who you are. You're my partner; it's what we do. We investigate big stories." He allowed a small sigh to escape. "But aren't there enough windmills to tilt at right here? Isn't there enough evil and corruption for us to take on without getting involved in foreign wars and international political intrigue? Is it really that important to you to add 'war correspondent' to your resume?"

It was Lois' turn to sigh. "No, I guess not. I just never thought of it that way before. I never thought how it might affect you." She allowed herself a short ironic laugh. "Big surprise there, huh? Me, not thinking about someone else." She pulled away from his embrace and faced him. "I wish you could have explained this to me before I took the job."

A slight grin tugged at the corners of Clark's mouth. "I wish you'd been in a mood to listen."

She began to trace little circles on his chest with her finger. "I'm in a mood now."

"To listen?"

Her own grin turned coy. "Well, what I had in mind doesn't involve much talking."

His reply was to pick her up in his arms, and, together, they moved toward the stairs. Things were going to be just fine, after all.