Witnessed

By Matrix

Rated: PG

Submitted: May 2006

Summary: A revelation, what-if story. This is just a fun little glimpse into what might have happened in the episode "Witness" if Lois had found out Clark's secret. Obviously it would have changed the series canon a lot, but it's just for fun…

The characters and familiar settings in this story are the property of DC Comics, Warner Bros., December 3rd Productions and whoever else can legally lay claim to them. I am not profiting from this story. It is purely for fun. A special thanks to the writers of Lois & Clark — this scene and episode was borrowed from them. No copyright infringement is intended.

A thank you goes out to Sue for beta reading this story for me. Your comments and advice are invaluable.

***

Clark watched Lois fall to the floor, unmoving. God, no, he thought. Please, let her be okay. He had spent the night right outside her building, watching her sleep and keeping an eye on things. Curse her for not letting him stay with her last night. He had heard the commotion and gotten here as fast as he could, but he hadn't been fast enough.

Her attacker ran past Clark and out the open door. Clark felt a fire burning in his heart. He had never wanted to hurt another soul in his life. Right now, though, he wanted nothing more than to follow that man and beat him to a bloody pulp. Clark looked away from the door and back to Lois's lifeless body on the floor. He wouldn't follow the killer. Not while he still had hope that she was alive, that she was okay. Clark ran to her, kneeling down beside her on the floor. He checked for a pulse, nothing. She wasn't breathing. No…please, no.

He pinched her nose and lifted her mouth to his lips. He released a gentle stream of breath into her lungs. No response. No Lois, don't do this. You have to fight…you have to come back to me. Another breath…nothing. Clark started to release her — he was going to find the man responsible for this — when she began to cough.

She coughed several times, breathing deeper with each cough. "Oh, Clark…Clark," she managed between breaths.

"Shhhh, it's all right, you're okay…" Clark held her close to him, taking in the familiar smells of her skin and hair. What would he have done if she hadn't been *okay*? He knew the answer. It was what he had been about to do. He probably would've regretted it later, but even now it was all he could do not to go chasing after her assailant.

"I couldn't breathe. It was that nice Mr. Tracewski," Lois clarified for him.

"No, Lois. It was someone else. I saw the real Mr. Tracewski leave."

"He tried to kill me…" Lois said softly, tears welling up in her eyes.

"I'll find him," Clark promised her. Yes, he would. He would find him and make him pay for what he'd done. If she asked him, he would do it. But as he started to get up, she grabbed for him.

"No!" she begged.

No? Lois, anything but that, he thought. I'll do anything you ask of me, just don't tell me no.

"Please. Don't leave me," she continued, her voice pleading with him.

She was afraid. This was a rare side of Lois. One he hardly ever saw. She must be completely terrified to leave herself so open and vulnerable to him. He needed to lend her his strength.

"I won't. I'm here. I'm right here," he told her soothingly, and he folded her body into his arms putting his hand behind her head. She trembled softly, sobbing against his chest. After a few minutes she leaned back and looked into his eyes.

"You were going to go after him, weren't you?" she asked in amazement.

"Yes, Lois, I was. You had only to ask and I would have hunted him down if it took me the rest of my life," he admitted to her. He was still shaken up by what had happened and was also being more open with her about his feelings than he normally would have been. The curiously playful light he now saw in her eyes made him wish he hadn't been quite so open.

"Clark, what would you have done if you'd caught him?" she asked him, pulling away from him slightly and looking up at him. "He could have had a gun or a knife. It's a good thing I stopped you. You're not Superman after all," she chided him.

On the one hand, Clark was glad that Lois was beginning to calm down and was reverting back to her usual guarded self. But on the other hand, he couldn't help but feel a little hurt by what she'd said. Her words stung. She didn't feel he was capable of protecting her?

She must have noticed the pain in his eyes. "Clark, I didn't mean it like that. When I told you yesterday in the newsroom that 'if I needed a bodyguard you wouldn't be my first choice,' I meant that. You wouldn't be my first choice because I would never want to see anything happen to you. I couldn't bear the thought of you getting hurt or worse trying to protect me. You're my best friend. I want you to always be there for me, every day, every time I need you. I don't want you taking risks," she told him earnestly.

Her best friend. Is that all he would ever be to her? Someone to follow her around, bask in her glory, and trail in her shadow?

"What I really wish is that I had asked Superman to stay with me last night. Then none of this would have happened," she said wistfully.

That was it. Clark couldn't take any more. He had begged her to let him protect her and she wouldn't let him. Yet, she had welcomed Superman in with open arms. Now, she had denied him the chance to find her assassin and was instead wishing that Superman had been there. Clark was angry. He was hurt and irritated, and he didn't care if he ever heard the name Superman again.

He pushed her away from him attempting to get up from the floor. What he failed to realize in his fury to get up was that Lois's hand was resting between two of the buttons on his shirt. The end result was that when he pulled away to get up her hand got caught in his shirt between the two buttons, pulling the shirt back and popping those buttons. Familiar blue spandex was showing though the small opening. He looked into Lois's face. Her eyes were round and huge, and her mouth was open, gaping.

Before he could react or do anything, she grabbed his shirt ripping it open further and exposing the red and yellow insignia on his chest.

"Wha…Clark? Superman? Clark?" she asked puzzled, looking back and forth from his face to his chest and back to his face again. "What is going on here?" she finally asked, leaving his embrace and scooting backwards on the floor. She was frowning furiously at him.

For a moment, a very brief moment, he considered coming up with some lame excuse like 'uh, I'm a big fan…uh, cool t-shirt huh? What was he thinking? There would be no excuse this time. Clark's hands began to sweat and a panic started deep in the pit of his stomach. The feeling came up his chest and into his throat until it was so strong that he couldn't breathe. He had to get out of here. He had to go *somewhere*, anywhere but here.

"I'm sorry Lois. I…" And before he even realized what he was doing, he was in the air, flying. He didn't even know where he was going; he just flew.

***

He continued to fly around for a few hours just thinking, trying to decide what he needed to do. After averting a few minor emergencies and making a couple of rescues, he finally ended up at his parents' house. When he touched down on their front porch it was dark out. The sky was alight with a blanket of stars.

After a home-cooked meal and a hot shower, his mother finally began her interrogation.

"Clark, can I come in?" she asked him, lightly knocking on his door.

"Yeah, Mom."

She walked into the room with a concerned expression on her face.

"You want to tell me what's wrong? I mean don't get me wrong, I'm always happy for a visit, but you've hardly said two words all night, honey."

Clark sighed heavily and looked up into her loving face. If anyone could help him she could.

"It's a long story mom…" he began. An hour later he concluded. "So that's where it puts us. Lois has seen the suit. She knows I'm Superman. I didn't know what to tell her or what to say. I just flew out her window. How could I have done that?"

Martha put her arms around him wrapping him in a gentle hug. "I think you need to ask yourself what you're going to do now. You can't avoid her. She's in danger right now, and you've taken away the two people who could help her most. I understand that you needed to get away to think about things and talk to someone, but, Clark, honey, you've got to get back there to her. She could be in danger."

Those words hit Clark like a sledgehammer to the stomach. How could he have been so stupid? Of course he needed to get back there. He hadn't found the thug yet who had tried to kill her. He'd left her all alone with a killer on the loose.

Martha must have seen the guilt in his face. "Go to her. She deserves an explanation, and she needs you right now even if she tells you otherwise. Just remember, Clark, she's had a startling revelation handed to her. She probably won't accept you with open arms, especially after your hasty retreat."

"Yeah, I know, Mom. I guess I'd better get back there and face my medicine. Is Dad already in bed?"

"Oh goodness yes, Clark. He sleeps with the chickens you know. He was snoring last time I checked," she said with a grin.

Clark smiled at her. "Tell him I said goodbye and goodnight."

"I will. Now get going. Lois needs you. And Clark, this is just my opinion of course, but I think you can trust Lois. If you want my opinion, tell her the truth…all of it. Tell her how you feel. Be *honest* with her," Martha told him with a knowing expression on her face. Did she know how he felt about Lois? Probably. Well being honest with Lois would be easier said than done, thought Clark.

As he walked out onto the front porch, he looked back lovingly on his home, his former sanctuary and then looked apprehensively up into the sky towards his unknown future. Without further hesitation he lifted into the night sky and beat a path back to Metropolis as fast as he could will himself to move.

***

He flew straight to Lois's apartment not bothering to stop anywhere else first. He hovered quietly outside her window. It was late, but he wasn't surprised to see light coming from her living room. She either couldn't sleep because of the thought that someone was trying to kill her, or because she was plotting what she was going to do to Clark the next time she saw him — or maybe both.

He peered through her apartment searching for her, and to his relief he found her. She was in the bathroom drying her hair. She turned the hair dryer off and reached down to the tie on her robe, undoing it and smoothing out the wrinkles. Clark forced himself, with some difficulty, to look away so he didn't see anything he shouldn't. When he glanced back she was tying the robe tightly around her.

Deciding there wouldn't be a better time than the present, he tapped on her window. He watched as she looked up startled and walked out of her bathroom wielding her curling iron as a weapon. He almost chuckled out loud. Oh, Lois. What were you going to do with that? Give the goon a new hairstyle? Although, if it had been plugged in…

He tapped at the window again, this time managing to get her attention. She set the *weapon* down and reluctantly walked to the window. She didn't open it. Uh oh, that was not a good sign.

"What do you want?" she said loudly through the glass.

"We need to talk."

"Oh, now you want to talk, huh? I don't know if I'm in the mood to talk right now, Superman, or should I say Clark? I don't know; what name would you prefer? Or perhaps a nickname? Charlatan comes to mind. Do you like that one? Or should I come up with a different one? Fraud, fake, or phony also come to mind. Like any of those?" she spat at him.

Clark sighed. Yep, this was going to be a long night. "Lois, can I please come in?"

She rolled her eyes at him letting out a noisy sigh. Without another word she moved to the window unlocking and opening it. She then turned her back on him and walked into the kitchen. She stopped at the counter keeping her back to him.

Yikes, this might be worse than he'd even imagined. He tried to soften the mood by walking up behind her and putting his hands lightly on her shoulders.

"You're mad, I know, and I deserve it. But how mad are you?" he asked her hesitantly.

"I'm not mad, I'm disappointed."

"Disappointed?"

"Yes, Clark, disappointed. Disappointed that my best friend who I share everything with, didn't care enough to share with me. I've poured my heart out to you on more than one occasion and you kept your biggest secret a, well, a secret from me," she told him, sounding frustrated.

"I'm sorry, I…"

She interrupted him continuing on her tirade, "I'm disappointed that you let me believe all this time that you were two people. Let me feel confused about my feelings towards Superman and towards you." She shook her head in an exasperated manner. "What am I saying? I'm still talking like there are two of you. You are Superman."

"Yes, Lois, I am Superman. But Superman is not who I am," he answered her.

"What? Now you're spouting jibberish. Superman is who you are, Clark. You are Superman."

"No, Lois. Superman is my mask. He is my fašade. He is simply the flashy guy with powers in the red and blue suit. He's not who I *really* am deep down. I'm Clark, the guy who enjoys bringing you your coffee in the mornings; the one who gets a kick out of reading over your shoulder and editing your story; the one who plays poker with you and Jimmy and Perry and doesn't x-ray the cards; the one who's in love with you and has been since the first time he laid eyes on you."

His last few words hung in the air like the moisture on a humid summer night. They both looked at each other, waiting for the other to say something.

"You witnessed something earlier that I wasn't ready for you to see, yet," Clark began. "I had always hoped I could tell you some day…"

"Someday? Someday, Clark?" Lois exclaimed incredulously. "Well, here's your chance flyboy. You can tell me now. I'm sure you've had some sort of speech in the works for when that *someday* came. I think I deserve to hear it. Pretend I don't know yet. Go on, *tell* me your big secret…But, I want to hear it from Clark, not Superman."

Clark tried to swallow the lump that had formed in his throat. He did have a speech that he had been working on, on and off, but it wasn't anywhere near sharing. He was going to have to do this on the fly. Clark shook his head inwardly at the bad pun. He looked up into Lois's eyes and saw the determination on her face. He sighed deeply. Well here goes nothing. He quickly spun out of his *suit* and into his other suit, noting the *wowed* look on her face with some satisfaction.

"Lois, I have something I need to tell you," he began.

"Really, Clark? What could that possibly be?" she asked him, in a mock sickeningly sweet tone. She wasn't going to make this easy on him.

"I've got something that I've kept from you for a long time. You are my best friend and my partner, and this isn't something that I can keep a secret from you any longer,"

"Oh, no, Clark. I knew this would happen. You're attracted to Lucy right? You want her number. Oh, this always happens…"

"Lois," he said in a warning tone, noting her satisfied look at having irritated him.

"Oh, I'm sorry, was that not it? Pray continue, oh 'Prince of Pretense'," she berated him.

Nope, definitely not easy. He steeled himself and started again. "The closer we've become the more I wanted to tell you, needed to tell you. But you aren't exactly easy to talk to."

Lois rolled her eyes and let out a small snort at his appraisal of her.

Clark ignored her and continued, "I wanted to know that you would be my friend, maybe even more than a friend, for who I am, Clark, and not for what I'm about to tell you."

For once she was silent and actually seemed to be hanging on each word that he spoke. "I know that you are my friend, and that you care for me; and I can't continue on being your friend if I can't be honest with you. Lois," he said, reaching up to take off his glasses, "I'm Superman."

To Clark's surprise, Lois snorted. "Yeah right, Clark," she said expressing feigned disbelief. "And I'm Wonder Woman."

This wasn't only 'not easy' this was getting downright ridiculous. "Okay, Lois, that's it…"

"No, Clark, that's not it. You hurt me deeply today. I found out a secret that you'd been hiding ever since I've known you, and I didn't find out because you'd told me. I found out because of an accident. Then, instead of trying to talk to me, explain yourself, you fly off to god knows where and left me here to contemplate what had just happened. So, that's what I did, I contemplated. All day long, that's all I've done. Think, and stew, and get mad, and throw things…and even feel a little guilty. I think I've even figured out why you did it. Knowing you, you probably figured that by keeping it a secret you were protecting me. And I guess I probably didn't make it easy for you to tell me the truth with my obsession over Superman." She narrowed her eyes at him when she noticed him nodding his head in agreement, and then continued on, "But none of that excuses what you did. So after all those hours of thinking, I finally came to a conclusion. And you wanna know what I decided Clark?" she asked him, taking a breath.

"What?"

"That while I do forgive you, I also know that it is going to take a long time of you kissing up to me, taking my slack, and groveling before I let you back into my good graces," she stated very matter-of-factly.

"Well, I like the sound of the kissing part," Clark said without thinking, and immediately wished he hadn't.

Lois got a wicked gleam in her eye. "Oh you do, do you?" A look of genuine frustration and confusion lit up her face before she reached out taking his head in her hands and kissing him deeply.

The action caught Clark by surprise. He felt like all the breath had left his lungs. She was kissing him like she did when she kissed Superman. With all the obsession and desire she felt for *him*. He thought back briefly to the passionate kiss that she had lavished on him before he flew off to save the planet from the Nightfall asteroid. But she was kissing him that way now, knowing that he was Clark. Feeling an unbridled passion take hold of him, he relaxed into her kiss and began returning her affection with fervor.

Lois reached inside his suit coat with her hands, first feeling his broad, muscular chest and then moving around to his back, fully embracing him. Her touch electrified him. He wrapped his arms around her slight frame, clutching her to him. His pulse was quickening and he could feel hers climbing as well. Their breath was coming faster as the kiss deepened, becoming more urgent. A small groan escaped Lois's lips, and she began feeling for the buttons on his shirt, releasing them one at a time. He reached for the buttons on her blouse and then hesitated. The realization hit him; he had to make a choice.

He had never *been* with a woman before. Not ever. Oh, he had dated plenty of girls, been kissed by plenty of girls, but that was all. He had always felt that he wanted to share himself with the one woman he intended to spend the rest of his life with. Clark looked down at Lois, her eyes closed, seemingly enjoying every moment of their heated exchange. He sincerely hoped that woman was Lois, but it wasn't fair to put this kind of pressure on her. Not right now. Not with everything she was dealing with.

Clark thought back to the first time he had worked with her on a story. She had told him she lived by three rules. One, she never got involved with her stories, which wasn't true. Lois always got overly involved with her stories, especially when it came to Superman. Two, she never let anyone get there first. Well, that one was usually true. He'd personally been witness to that fact. And three, she never slept with anyone she worked with. She had admitted to him that the last one had been a lie. That night they were tied up in the warehouse she had told him about Claude.

He didn't want to be another Claude. He didn't want to be yet another reason for her to bottle herself up emotionally. He wanted to be the motivation for her to open up, be herself. That was why he couldn't do this. He couldn't take advantage of her feelings for Superman. She was confused, and hurt, and was in fear for her life. He couldn't do this…he wouldn't do it.

Clark gently, but firmly, pushed Lois back from him and cupped her face with his hand. Lois had a confused, questioning look on her face.

"Clark? Why did you stop?"

What could he say?

"I just…we just shouldn't do this, not right now," he answered her.

"Oh…okay, I understand," she told him, her face downcast. Did she think he was rejecting her?

"No, Lois, I don't think you do. We have a lot to work through, not to mention a killer that we need to find. I think if we went any further we might complicate things. I want to give you time, give you space, to figure this out."

Her face brightened and her mouth turned up in a slight smile. She opened her mouth to say something and then she covered it as a yawn began to form.

He returned her smile and looked down at his watch. It was almost eleven-thirty. He wasn't tired but watching Lois as she yawned, he didn't know if he could say the same for her.

"Are you tired?" he asked.

"Yeah, a little. It's been a very long day."

In more ways than one, he thought. Well, they could probably afford to wait until tomorrow to discuss the case further. They could both use some sleep, but there was just one problem…He wasn't going to leave her here by herself tonight.

"Lois…" "Clark…" They both started talking at once.

"You go ahead," Lois told him.

"I was just going to say that I didn't think you should stay by yourself tonight. You wouldn't let me stay last night and look what happened."

"Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. This guy obviously can make himself look like people I know. He was the spitting image of Mr. Tracewski."

"Except that I saw the real one leave your building just a few minutes before you were attacked," Clark said, watching Lois. Her eyebrows were knitted together and her mouth hung in a frown. Her lips parted as she began mumbling to herself.

"Could make himself look like anyone he wanted…Mr. Make-up we called him…Mr. Make-up. Flynn? Was that it? No…Finn. Yeah, Finn. And his first name, it started with an S…" Lois mumbled under her breath.

"Lois? You wanna let me in on the conversation?"

"Huh? Oh, sorry, Clark," Lois replied, coming out of her trance. "It's just that when I was interviewing Dr. Winninger, we were looking at some pictures on his wall. There was this guy he used to know that could make himself look like virtually anyone he wanted. They called him Mr. Make-up. Winninger said his name was Finn."

"Finn?"

"Yes! Sebastian! That's it! Sebastian Finn. He was Mr. Make-up," Lois said excitedly. Clark frowned, not yet making the connection.

"Don't you see, Clark? Sebastian Finn knew both Winninger and Trevino. That man that I thought I saw kill Winninger, Dr. Hubert, had been at a conference where everyone could ID him. So it couldn't have been him. It was instead someone who looked just like him. Then today, it was someone who looked just like Mr. Tracewski that attacked me. I think it's Mr. Make-up, Sebastian Finn!"

"Well, that certainly makes sense, but why? How is he connected? And more importantly, how are we going to find him if he can look like anyone? You definitely aren't safe here by yourself. I would feel much better if you'd let me stay the night."

Clark wasn't sure in the low lighting but it appeared that Lois was blushing slightly. And having caught her in the act of blushing, he began to blush himself.

"Unless it would make you feel uncomfortable," he quickly told her.

"Um, well it's just…"

"If it's about sleeping arrangements don't worry I'll give you your privacy."

"No," Lois said abruptly and then blushed, grinning. "I mean thank you, but that's not what I'm worried about. It's just that I don't have an extra bed and my couch isn't that comfortable. Where will you sleep?"

Clark grinned conspiratorially at her. "I don't actually need a place to sleep," he said, demonstrating by floating horizontal. Lois grinned again with a look of amazement. "But I'll make a pallet on the floor, that'll suffice," he continued.

Clark rose up and floated over next to her. "I'll see you in the morning, Lois. Get some sleep. You'll be safe tonight, I promise."

Lois couldn't seem to quit smiling. "I know…Clark," she told him. She pressed in close to him, the heat from her body radiating out into him. She captured his lips in her own, kissing him deeply.

Clark felt the stirrings of desire yet again. He so desperately wanted to do more than just return her kiss, but he broke away instead. "Lois…"

"I know…it's time for bed," she agreed reluctantly. "See you in the morning."

***

Clark had trouble going to sleep. He tossed and turned for much of the night. He was afraid to let himself sleep too soundly for one thing, but he also kept replaying the events of the day through his mind over and over.

He had always wanted to let Lois in on his secret but had been afraid. More than afraid, though, he had also been wary of telling her. He wanted her friendship and the love she gave to Superman for himself, for Clark. Is that what he would end up getting? Now that she knew? Was she paying this attention to him because now she knew he was Superman?

Clark thought back to yesterday morning when Lois had almost died. It was Clark that had brought her back, saved her; and it was Clark that she had held on to so tightly and asked not to leave her. So maybe she had felt something for him after all, something that she just hadn't ever outwardly shown him. Maybe something she wasn't even aware of herself. The line between their work relationship and their personal friendship had blurred a lot the past few weeks.

He thought back a few weeks to when they had been sprayed with Miranda's pheromone spray. Those affected by the spray had only displayed love towards someone that they'd already felt an attraction to…and Lois had thrown herself at him. She'd tried to deny it, downplay it actually. 'Maybe somewhere, buried incredibly deep inside me, is some eensy weensy, microcosmic although highly unlikely possibility that I could feel some sort of unmotivated and completely unrealistic attraction to you,' she had said. But she hadn't been able to deny there was *something* there.

Then there had been that kiss they had shared in the honeymoon suite at the Lexor Hotel. Clark had kissed her to protect their cover, but she hadn't immediately pulled away. Instead, he had been amazed to discover her soften beneath his lips and reciprocate.

And then, when Clark had gotten amnesia from his collision with the Nightfall asteroid she had been so kind to him, so loving. She had even called him on the verge of its impact and asked if he could stand some company. She had wanted to spend her last moments with him. It was true that she hadn't known where Superman was at the time, but it still made him feel good now.

So maybe he didn't have as much to fear from losing his identity to Superman as he'd once thought. That thought comforted him and allowed him to relax a little.

Clark awoke the next morning amazed that he had actually fallen asleep. He hadn't meant to. He'd meant to lightly nap so he could keep alert for any trouble, but after his revelation to himself last night, he had been so comforted that he had fallen asleep. So what had woken him? The answer hit his nose full force. Something was burning!

Clark's senses went from drowsy to full alert in less time than it took for his brain to realize that the burning odor smelled slightly like breakfast. He calmed himself and made his way into the kitchen. The sight that met him caused him to strangle on an unuttered snicker. The resulting sound was a strange throaty gurgle. His efforts weren't successful, though; Lois still managed to hear him.

"Don't you dare laugh, Kent!" Lois was standing there shaking an egg-encrusted spatula at him. There was what appeared to be pancake batter in her hair and some unidentifiable smudges on her face.

He glanced at the assortment of pans on the stove and discovered the source of the burning smell, err smells. Extra crispy bacon was still sizzling in a pan that had been moved to the side, off a burner that was still on. Scrambled eggs sporting a thick tan skin sat off to one side in a bowl on the counter, getting cold. Pancakes with no skin — Clark looked again…ah, the skin was still stuck to the pan — had been piled up on a plate and set off to the side.

He heard a trickling sound behind Lois and peeked around her…coffee, extra stout by the look of it. That might explain the dark smudge on her cheek next to her hairline. It looked like maybe she had tucked her hair behind her ear and had left a little evidence of that action on her cheek.

Lois began to squirm under the inspection. "Oh, Clark," she began, her voice laced with frustration. "I was trying to make breakfast for you. I was being real quiet so I wouldn't wake you up, which is a difficult chore since I now know that you have super-hearing. Obviously it was your super *nose* that woke you up instead." She threw her arms up in an exasperated motion. "Everything started off so well. I was following the recipes perfectly, for the first time in my life. Everything looked right and had the right consistency, but when I started trying to cook everything, it overwhelmed me. I tried to do everything at once. I wanted it to all be done at the same time and thought I could handle it. Now look, it's all ruined," she concluded, her eyes getting a little misty.

Clark wasn't sure whether he should make an attempt to eat what she had fixed — it would be difficult but he could do it — or if he should offer to fix her breakfast instead. He opted for the latter. He walked up to her taking her into his arms and embracing her affectionately.

"I really appreciate you going to all this trouble for me, Lois, but you didn't have to. You know that I don't even need to eat. I just eat because I enjoy it." Clark realized his slip too late.

"Yeah, and you sure as heck aren't going to enjoy this," she growled.

"For you, I would eat it and enjoy it…but you need to eat too. Why don't you let me cook for you? I'll whip us up some eggs over easy with bacon and toast, and I'll see what I can do about that coffee, okay?"

Lois responded by silently nodding her head at him. Clark reached up and rubbed a bit of pancake batter out of her hair. "Why don't you go get cleaned up while I make breakfast. I don't think you want to go into work sporting your new pancake mousse," he said, ducking as Lois took a swipe at him with her spatula. She handed over her *weapon* and went off to the bathroom to get cleaned up.

***

For the *cooking* Clark had planned, he couldn't really get started until Lois was actually ready to eat. So he decided to busy himself with *fixing* the coffee and cleaning up the kitchen until she came back. Clark was in the middle of washing dishes when the phone began ringing.

"I'll get it," Clark yelled at her. He doubted she heard him over her hair-dryer, though.

"Lane residence. This is…" Clark started and then paused. He glanced at his watch, six-thirty. What should he say? Would the person on the other end wonder what Clark was doing at Lois's apartment this time of the morning, answering her phone? Clark had paused for too long.

"CK?" Jimmy exclaimed, sounding surprised. "What are you doing there?"

"Uh, well, Lois had such a rough day yesterday and after she was attacked I didn't think she should be by herself…"

"So you spent the night there? Way to go CK!" Jimmy hollered enthusiastically, interrupting Clark.

"Jimmy, it's not what you think, really."

"Oh, uh-huh, sure, of course not," he mumbled with blatant undertones in his voice. "Lois calls in for a day off yesterday; you go missing, unaccounted for, Perry was furious by the way that both of his star reporters were MIA; and now I call Lois's apartment and you answer. And you wanna tell me it's not what I *think*?"

Clark could practically hear the smile in Jimmy's voice. He sighed; he was never going to hear the end of this. "Jimmy was there something you actually needed?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah. Well, I came in early this morning, you know, Jimmy at your service twenty-four-seven, and someone had left a note on Lois's chair. It says, 'Sorry you missed Mrs. Trevino's press conference today. Yes, she would be interested in having a one-on-one interview with you regarding your knowledge of increased male potency and the ozone layer. Please come to the location of today's press conference at nine o'clock tomorrow morning and Mrs. Trevino will meet you there. Oh, and come alone.'"

"Is that all the note says? Any names or contact info?" Clark asked.

"Nope. That's it."

"Okay, thanks, Jimmy. I'll let Lois know."

"Sure thing, CK. Um, where is Lois?"

"She's, uh, drying her hair," Clark said sheepishly.

"Whoa! CK! Lois was in the shower?"

"Jimmy," Clark said in a warning tone.

"Okay, okay. I didn't say nothin," Jimmy said snickering.

"Bye Jimmy. We'll see you at the office."

"Yeah. Bye CK." Clark could hear him mumbling something about "of course it wasn't what I thought it was…" as he hung up the phone.

Clark rolled his eyes. He could only imagine the repercussions he would have to face after that little conversation.

"Who were you talking to?" Lois asked, coming into the room. He looked up at her and had to do a double take. She looked stunning. Of course, Lois always looked beautiful to Clark. She was pretty, smart, and sassy. She had a unique style and an unforgettable personality. But that's not what made her look beautiful now; somehow things were different. She knew him, really *knew* him in a way that few people did and that made her special. No more secrets, no more excuses. She would be part of his *whole* life now, and she seemed to know that. In fact, she seemed to be positively glowing with that knowledge.

"Oh, it was just Jimmy." Clark walked up to her and put his arms around her. "Good morning, again. Are you ready for some breakfast?" He stepped back giving her another once-over. "You look amazing," he paused, was it too soon? "Sweetheart," he cautiously remarked.

She smiled almost shyly at him through her lashes. "Do I? I remember mentioning last night that you had a lot of kissing up to me to do. That's a good start," she remarked.

"Good start huh? I bet I can do even better," Clark said, grabbing her and pulling her towards him. He pressed his lips ever so lightly to the base of her throat applying soft, slow kisses and began working his way up to capture her mouth.

Lois pulled back from him, "Nice try flyboy, but you aren't going to distract me that easily," she said breathily.

"Distract you?" Clark asked innocently.

"You know what I mean. What did Jimmy want?"

Clark grimaced. He had actually hoped she might let it slide. He didn't want her going to that meeting. It had to be a set-up and it would definitely be dangerous.

She must have seen the concern on his face. "What is it Clark? What did Jimmy say?" she asked intently.

Clark sighed, turning away from her and running a hand through his hair. "You got a note. It appears that someone who works for Barbara Trevino left it for you at the Planet. It said that Mrs. Trevino wants to meet with you, alone, at nine a.m. this morning."

"I knew it! I knew when I mentioned what Dr. Winninger had told me that it would pique her interest."

"When did you talk to Barbara Trevino?"

"Well, after being attacked yesterday morning, and then you leaving so abruptly, I didn't feel quite up to going to that press conference alone," she told him. Clark felt a pang of guilt again for having run off, but he was at least glad she'd had the sense not to go without him. "But I did want to speak with her so I called and talked to her assistant. You know, it's weird, Clark, she has a male assistant. Anyway, I left a message with him to give to her. He's probably the one who left me the note."

"Lois, I wish you wouldn't go. Let me go. This feels like a set up, and if it is you're in danger."

"Don't be silly. She won't meet with you. It'll be okay," she said, pausing to look at him with a playful grin. "Besides, you're coming with me," she continued.

Clark felt a little better at that small concession. At least she was going to allow him to come with her and keep an eye on things.

"I'll have my best friend and favorite hero, Clark Kent, there to protect me. I pity the man, or woman, who tries anything today," she remarked dramatically, pulling him towards her and kissing him full on the mouth.

After Clark regained his senses, he noticed that she hadn't said 'Superman'. He smiled at her. He had the strangest feeling that his life from here on out was about to become a whole lot more interesting.

THE END