By LaraMoon <email@example.com>
Submitted: July 2007
Summary: Just when Lois starts thinking Clark will probably never ask her out again, he has a fit of jealousy after he overhears Bruce Wayne inviting her out to dinner.
This is a "reward" fic that I wrote for someone — I'm not going to say who or why. She knows and that's sufficient.
As per the original request (yep, I used the original one!): How about… Bruce Wayne trying to romance Lois, right about the time of Resurrection? (I'd choose Bruce over Dan any day, wouldn't you?) Maybe Clark and Bruce actually get into a few fights about it, both in and out of costume. A little angsty, although fluffy/sexy/sweet would be nice at the end. :) And it could include the CK revelation!
(So don't blame ME if this is another story with Batman in it!!)
Huge thanks to Jessi who BR'ed this for me. *hugs* And to Larissa who was my GE. :)
Needless to say, I don't own the characters in this story. And I don't claim to, either. However, with the exception of three little sentences (two from Tempus Fugitive and one from WHALTTA), every word of this story is mine.
Note that this version includes the two "deleted scenes" that were posted separately from the original story. They've been merged in with the rest as best I could manage, but that means I've had to make a few little edits and changes here and there.
Lois shot Clark a dirty look when she realized he was staring at her. Again. It seemed as though every time she looked up, he was glancing in her direction. At first, she'd found it somewhat flattering, but now… now she was getting tired of whatever little game it was that he was playing. Lois wished he'd just come up and say it — whatever he had on his mind. It was obvious he was distracted for some reason, she just couldn't figure out exactly why. For just this once, she wished her partner could be a little more assertive. Just a little; just enough so he'd actually say whatever was on his mind. And maybe ask her out again, too…
Knowing that no amount of wishful thinking could change Clark Kent into someone more like… oh, say Superman, Lois went back to work on her article. She hit the delete key several times, furiously, when she noticed that most of what she had typed before was just gibberish.
Suddenly, her phone rang. She picked it up, glad to have something other than her partner to concentrate on.
"Lois Lane," she said into the receiver, sounding slightly annoyed.
"Miss Lane!" came a man's cheerful voice, on the other end. "Bruce Wayne. I hear you've been trying to get in touch with me?"
"Mister Wayne, yes, hello! It's a pleasure talking to you."
Lois could barely hide her surprise. She'd been trying — unsuccessfully — to land an interview with him for weeks. Ever since the rumors about Wayne Enterprises acquiring a substantial part of Lex Luthor's estate had started, last winter. And even more so since Luthor had come back from the grave… She shuddered at the memory. His miraculous comeback had caused a large number of people a whole lot of grief.
"Please… Call me Bruce. And the pleasure is all mine, Lois."
Lois blushed, though she wasn't sure why. She turned to look towards her partner, not really knowing why she was doing that, either. And then she realized that she had missed the beginning of whatever Bruce Wayne was saying. Berating herself for being so easily distracted, Lois turned her attention back to the conversation and her eyes back on her monitor.
"…in Metropolis today and I thought perhaps we might get together later so we can discuss it?"
"That would be wonderful, Mister… I mean… Bruce."
"How about over dinner? I'm staying at the former Lexor Hotel — the penthouse suite. If you're free tonight, of course?"
Lois blushed even more and shot yet another glance in Clark's direction. Clearly, no matter how badly she desired them, dinner invitations just weren't going to come from that side of the newsroom, she thought, dejectedly. Should she turn every other man down systematically and wait for the rest of her life for her partner to finally make his move? Was he really worth it? Well, maybe he was, but she was sick of waiting anyway.
"Tonight is fine. I'm free tonight," she said, finally. She stopped just short of adding that she was free every night and probably would be until the end of time.
"How does 7:00 sound? I'll have a limo pick you up," Bruce said, sounding downright delighted now.
"7:00 is perfect. Thank you. I'll be looking forward to meeting you, Bruce."
The thought that there was at least one person out there who seemed interested in spending his Friday night with her lifted Lois's spirits a few notches. Of course she wasn't certain she was really interested in him… she'd had her share of bad experiences of the rich and famous kind, for one thing, and besides, Bruce Wayne had a reputation for being a playboy and that was by no means the sort of man she was interested in. But since the man she was interested in simply didn't seem to know what he wanted, then it was just fair that she should be allowed to explore other avenues.
As Lois and Bruce's conversation progressed, Clark became increasingly agitated. Bruce Wayne? How dare he ask Lois out to dinner? A shiver ran through him as he recalled the last billionaire Lois had been out with. This could not be happening! His worst nightmare was turning into a recurring dream. No! Annoyed, Clark opened his drawer and looked into the secret compartment for his Justice League Handbook. He read through it at super speed then shoved it back into the drawer, angrily. What had he really hoped to find in there anyway, he wondered? A rule that said "Thou shalt not make a move on Superman's love interest" — honestly? Nevertheless, it would be a cold day in hell before he let this billionaire run away with his girl.
Getting up from his chair as if it had caught on fire, Clark started towards the elevators, one hand tugging at his tie as though it was choking him. He stopped for a second when Lois asked where he was running off to in such a hurry. His reply came out a scrambled mix of some of his worst made-up excuses.
"I have to go… need to return my video of the month, in the mail," he told her, not even bothering to turn and look in her direction.
Lois sat there for a moment, staring wide-eyed at his back as he kept on walking away. Had he completely lost his mind?
Superman flew over Metropolis, waiting for Batman to signal him back so he'd know where to find him. He'd sent the usual message, letting the Dark Knight know that he needed to speak to him and was now anxiously awaiting an answer. Finally, a response came and Superman headed at full speed to an alley that was actually not very far from where he'd started his search, near the Daily Planet building.
There was no one around when he got there, so he quickly scanned the area in search of his "friend" but as hard as he tried, he just couldn't find him anywhere. He crossed his arms in front of his chest and waited, tapping his foot impatiently. He still couldn't believe that a friend would do this to him — just waltz in and make a move on his girl! OK, so he hadn't been able to work up the courage to make a move either, but that was beside the point. He'd get that backstabbing Bat-Billionaire to go back to Gotham City if he had to drag him back there himself!
"What's the emergency?" came a low voice, from behind him.
Startled, Superman turned around and found himself face to face with Batman. He was hanging upside down, suspended to a rope that seemed to be tied to a flagpole a few stories overhead.
"I hate when you do that!" Superman said, annoyed. He'd never been able to figure out how it was that Batman could fool absolutely all of his senses. Granted the man was a master at hiding in the shadows, but Superman should still have been able to pick up his presence with at least one of his abilities…
"What? Hang upside down?" Batman answered, a subtle but teasing smile on his lips. Immediately, he released the rope that was holding him up and, after a quick backflip, found himself standing on his feet.
"What are you doing here?" Superman asked.
"You called me, I came," the Dark Knight answered, raising an eyebrow. "What's the emergency?" he repeated. The conversation was already going around in circles and there was nothing he hated more than wasting time like this.
"Oh, ha ha. Funny. I mean what are you doing in Metropolis? The real reason… not the cover up story."
"You didn't really ask me here for this, did you?" Batman sighed heavily. "I told you last time. I'm setting up a satellite batcave."
"I think you should stick to Gotham City," Superman said, matter-of-factly.
"Hey, what's your problem? We talked about this already. I thought we agreed!"
"Yeah, well, I changed my mind. Go back to Gotham." Superman's tone was as icy cold as it was commanding. It wasn't a suggestion he was making, obviously. He turned to leave. "And stay there," he mumbled under his breath as he walked out of the alley at a little more than normal, human speed.
"Hey! I heard that, you know!" Batman shouted, now seriously annoyed. "Hey! Wait up! What in heaven's name has gotten into you?" He ran in the direction Superman had gone, trying to catch up to him. When he did, they were both out of the alley and standing on the sidewalk of a busy street, in broad daylight.
"Nothing," the Man of Steel explained. "I just don't think there's any need for you here. You should go back to Gotham."
"What? Why? Last week, you were going on and on about how cooperation was the key — and now you want to get rid of me?" As hard as he tried, the Dark Knight could not figure out what could possibly have happened to get the Man of Steel so ticked off. He was usually rational and considerate — not the type to easily get his red briefs all in a bunch!
"I can take care of things here just fine on my own."
"You know full well that wasn't the point!" Batman was all kinds of frustrated by now.
"I just don't think you don't belong here."
"Well, that's just too bad, because I'm not going to abandon a base of operations when it's almost ready. Have you any idea how much money went into that? And all because you talked me into it! You're completely out of your mind if you think I'm going to walk away from this investment because you're having some sort of power trip!"
"This isn't a power trip! I'm just asking you to go back to Gotham. But if you won't be civilized about it…" Superman's eyes were narrow with anger.
"Civilized?" Batman exploded, gesticulating madly as he shouted. "I am being civilized! You're the one who's not! And you're not making any sense, either! What's gotten into you, for crying out loud? We're supposed to be on the same side! What have I done to you, for Pete's sake?" He stopped cold, suddenly having put two and two together. "Oh, wait a second… I know what this is! This isn't about me, it's about your pretty reporter friend. Isn't it?"
It was the only logical explanation, he knew. Batman hadn't done anything, but Bruce Wayne had — he'd invited Lois Lane to dinner. He should have known this would get him in trouble! The original plan hadn't included a dinner invitation, only granting her an interview. But she was a smart cookie and he was afraid she might have found it odd if he hadn't acted all suave and playboyish when he'd spoken to her on the phone. He had a reputation to maintain — as silly as it was for him to pretend to be a dim-witted Don Juan. People expected Bruce Wayne to act this way. Surely Superman could understand the need to protect his secret identity?
"Brilliant detective work," Superman replied. "I'm not letting another billio-"
"You're really jealous, aren't you?" Batman said, interrupting Superman before he could give away his alter-ego. "You're afraid I'm going to swoop right in and steal her away, aren't you?"
"Lois! My office, now!" Perry White bellowed from behind his desk.
Startled, Lois rushed over, hoping for a juicy story to sink her teeth into. Ever since Clark had left the newsroom in a huff, she'd been trying to figure things out and it was slowly driving her mad… Why did he keep running away like that? Why did he keep feeding her lame excuses for it? And why, oh why couldn't he just please ask her out again? Keeping her in limbo like this was worse than hell.
"Look!" Perry told her, pointing to the television set that sat in a corner of his office, once Lois finally got there.
She gasped in shock at the images that were being broadcast, live from downtown Metropolis. It seemed completely unbelievable. Batman and Superman, standing in the middle of the street, in what appeared to be a very heated argument.
"That's not really them, is it?" she asked, her eyes glued to the screen. "It's just a setup; it's make-believe. Right, chief?"
"Lois, d'you know anyone else who can hover a foot above the ground?" He raised an eyebrow at her.
"Well no, but -"
Just then, one of the reporters on site moved in closer to the two men and the whole world found out what they were arguing about. Lois felt as if the ground had suddenly given way under her feet. How in the blazes was this possible? They were fighting over her. And she wasn't just imagining it, either. There was no other way to interpret the fact that Superman had just accused Batman of "not being man enough to even consider dating Lois Lane" to which the Dark Knight had replied that he, at least, wasn't an alien.
Lois turned to look at Perry, mouth gaping open in disbelief.
"Well, don't just stand there," he told her. His voice had a commanding tone.
She just nodded and stumbled out of his office.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Superman was very agitated now, his eyes shining with anger and his face turning a shade of red that closely matched that of his cape. He might not be from this planet, but he was most definitely all man — anatomically or otherwise! How dare Batman insinuate that he wasn't?
For a long minute, Batman just stood there, mere inches away from Superman's face, eyeing him defiantly. "You heard me," he said, his voice low and even.
"At least I don't hide my face like a coward," Superman replied in a similar tone.
"I'm not a coward! And you're a fool!" Batman threw at him. "Let me remind you that you're the one who said I should get in touch with her. And you know perfectly well why that is, too!"
"You just couldn't help yourself, could you?"
"You know, I really couldn't see what it was about her before — I mean, obviously she's got something special — but now I'm starting to think that maybe I'd like to find out what all the fuss is about."
"You will do no such thing!"
"Just watch me!" Batman spat and he started walking away, only to have Superman catch up with him at super speed. He tried leaving again in another direction a few times, but Superman always caught up with him faster than he could blink. "Stop that, will you? You have absolutely no right to dictate my actions."
"Well you'd better wish your sense of loyalty returns to you soon, then."
"Speak for yourself! You're the one who's doing a 180 on me, not the other way around. Your ability to think logically went right out the window the second she started batting her eyelashes at you, it seems. You really need your head examined, pal!"
All the way over, Lois wondered what could possibly have gotten into them. How had Batman gotten it in his head that she'd want to date him? And since when had Superman considered her a possible love interest? For as long as she could remember, he had always systematically turned her down. She was just about convinced he wasn't interested at all. So what could possibly have caused this sudden change of winds? And why was it that she had three men — three! — who seemingly thought she was interesting enough that they'd want to ask her out when the one man she actually wanted to go out with was… where the heck was Clark, anyway?
The fighting immediately stopped when both men noticed that the woman they were fighting over had somehow appeared a few feet away. They turned to look at her, both looking embarrassed to some degree.
"Lois!" they said in unison before going into their own very different apologies.
"I'm sorry. Lois, really, I -"
"Hey, Lois… Listen, I -"
She stood and glared at them, hands on her hips. Both men stopped talking.
"It's a little too late to start apologizing!" she spat. "Your little display's being broadcast live on national TV. I bet it won't take long before the rest of the known universe finds out what you've been fighting about, too."
They looked around themselves quickly and realized that they were surrounded by a large crowd which included a growing number of reporters and TV cameras. They cringed, realizing what this meant and how far this childish little argument had escalated.
"I don't know what you were thinking, but you're both completely out of your minds! You -" Lois pointed an index finger towards Batman, in a menacing gesture "- I haven't the slightest interest in you, so you can stop hoping right now. I'm not into that whole 'dark and disturbed' thing you've got going. Besides, small-minded comments like the one you made, hinting to the fact that human males are superior to those from other planets… major turn off, thank you very much. Especially considering who the alien you were insulting is."
Superman turned towards Batman and sneered.
"And you," Lois just about shouted, livid, "you have nothing to smile about. You of all people should know better! I can't believe you'd do something like this. Ever! In fact, you know, maybe I was interested in you before, but after this… well, I'm really not anymore. This is inexcusable behavior! Especially coming from you!"
Disgusted, Lois turned on her heel and left, certain that she'd taken care of the situation and that they'd both retreat to their own corner to lick their wounds.
Still shaking her head, unable to find just cause why these two men could possibly have put on such a display in public, Lois walked back into the newsroom. She made her way to her desk and plopped into her chair, drained and rather annoyed.
A few minutes later, she noticed Clark coming out of the elevator. Fine time for him to come back, she thought to herself. He walked right by her desk, not saying a single word, and took place behind his own desk. She looked in his direction and observed him for almost a full minute. But he never looked up, apparently mesmerized by his computer screen. Lois sighed heavily. Just what was wrong with men these days?
Not very long afterwards, a very handsome man wearing an expensive suit walked out of the elevator. Lois immediately recognized him as Bruce Wayne. He was carrying a rather large bouquet of roses in one hand. He strolled towards Lois's desk, offering her the flowers as soon as he got there.
Blushing, Lois mumbled a thank you and, excusing herself for a short moment, set out to find a vase to put the flowers in. Apparently there was at least one man left who still had his senses about him, she thought. She suddenly found herself wondering if perhaps she hadn't judged him too harshly. Perhaps there was more to him than it looked…
Bruce turned to watch her leave and found himself face to face with a rather angry looking Clark Kent.
"You again," Clark said in a low voice, hoping to keep the conversation as private as possible.
"Look, I should apologize. I was a bit out of line before," Bruce told him, sincerely. "Can we talk about this? Like reasonable adults…"
"Oh, sure! And that's supposed to explain the red roses? How stupid do you think I am?"
"I don't think…" Bruce started. He shot a few glances around him and, satisfied that no one seemed to be paying much attention to them, went on quietly, but firmly. "Look, that's the cover story, you nitwit! There's no way I could explain why I'd come all the way here just to see you."
"Wow. You're even better than I am at coming up with phony excuses. We could have done this over the phone!"
"So sue me for wanting to do this in person. It seemed like a good idea at the time," Bruce told Clark, getting more annoyed by the second.
When she returned to her desk, Lois found Bruce and Clark standing there in what looked like the beginnings of a heated argument. Lois frowned. Was there something in the water, maybe? Because it seemed to her like everywhere she went, men were engaged in shouting matches with one another. Maybe they all had PMS or something.
Lois was shocked to find out, as she got closer to them, that they too were now arguing over which of them should be the one to take her out. They were mad, she thought. The whole lot of them. Completely gone off the deep end! Lois frantically racked her brains to try and figure out what could possibly have caused this. Perhaps someone had gotten hold of some of that pheromone complex of Miranda's and sprayed them with it? Something about that idea didn't make sense, though — even if they had been sprayed, it just didn't seem logical that all four men would fall for *her*.
"I told you before to stay away from Lois," Clark mumbled in a low and uncharacteristically commanding voice. "You're not man enough to be with her."
For about a second, Lois's heart sang — literally. Not only was Clark Kent proving he could actually be assertive, but he seemed to know precisely what he wanted: her. Whatever it was that his coffee was spiked with or he had been injected with, she was thankful for it and she almost hoped that the effects would be permanent. Although she wasn't all too sure she liked Clark when he looked this angry…
"At least I am a man," came Bruce's biting retort.
<Not man enough…>
<At least I am a man…>
Those were very close to being the exact same words that she'd heard from Superman and Batman just barely an hour ago. What was it that Clark had just said? I told you before? Before? How could he have told him that before?
She stood and stared at them for a moment, observing them closely. And right at that moment, Lois was hit full force with a startling revelation. The words sounded so familiar because the voices were the same. How she could possibly have managed to miss it before was beyond her, but there was no way to ignore this and all the other clues that were literally jumping in her face now. The way they stood, the tone they used, everything right down to the shape of the chins and jaw lines… The men she'd stopped from potentially using each other as punching bags and the ones standing in front of her now were the same people.
The vase Lois was holding dropped to the floor and broke in a million small pieces, water and flowers spilling on the floor.
Startled, both men turned to look in her direction.
"I am going to the conference room," she told them, her voice icy cold. "And you're going to follow me. Once we get there, we're all going to have a little conversation."
Lois took a step closer to the two very puzzled men standing near her desk and, in a whisper, she added, "I know who you really are. I know you both moonlight in tights and a cape."
Like two well-trained lap dogs, they followed Lois, not bothering to even say a word in protest.
Lois opened the door to the conference room and let the two guilty-looking men who were accompanying her inside. She motioned for them to sit.
"Look, I don't know what's gotten into you," she told them, "but I'm not a prize to be won. I'm flattered by the attention, but trust me, this isn't the sort of attention I want to be getting. Honestly! Have you any idea how it looked? You don't have to worry, though, your secret is safe with me. As long as you promise never to put on a display like that again."
"Yes, of course -"
"Absolutely, I -"
"Good," Lois cut them off. "You -" she looked to Clark "- how could you lie to me like that? You're my partner. You're my best friend, for crying out loud! How could you not trust me? Were you afraid I'd print it? Is that what you really think of me?"
He opened his mouth to reply — probably say he was sorry, she guessed — but obediently closed it again when she raised her hand to indicate that she didn't want to hear it.
"And you," she said, turning her attention to Bruce. "You owe me that interview. And I won't let you off the hook about that, you can be certain of it. This said, you can forget about dinner. Tonight or any other night, for that matter. I wasn't into that whole rich playboy thing you've got going, but add that to the whole 'dark and disturbed' and, well… I'm sorry, but you're definitely not my type, Bruce."
Lois walked over to the door and opened it. "I think you should leave now," she said.
Both men got up and made their way towards the exit.
"Oh no, you don't," she told Clark. "He's leaving. I'm not nearly done with you, buster!"
This time, it was Bruce's turn to sneer.
"You should keep an eye out for trouble," Lois told him in a low voice, making sure no one in the newsroom could hear, "because Superman's going to be otherwise occupied for a while."
"Don't worry, I got your back," Bruce told Clark, walking out the door. "Good luck, pal," he added, chuckling.
As he left the newsroom, Bruce Wayne couldn't help but laugh. He had never realized just how much power Lois Lane held over Superman. It was almost mind-boggling. She could bring the strongest man on earth to his knees — or just about — absolutely effortlessly. And he really wasn't so sorry that he'd blown his chances with her, either. She had a keen intellect and nice, shapely legs, but she had the worst temper he'd ever seen on a beautiful girl. He'd never be able to stand being with her more than five minutes, he knew. Clark could definitely keep her! Though why he would want to was beyond him.
"How could you lie to me?" Lois asked Clark, once they were alone in the conference room. She no longer sounded angry. In fact, her voice had a sad, wounded tone to it.
"I never lied to you, Lois," he said, carefully. "I just made up certain facts to keep you from finding out about… certain other facts."
Lois raised an eyebrow. "People on this planet call that lying."
She should have been angry, she told herself. She should have been yelling and screaming and throwing punches, probably. Though throwing punches at him would only end up hurting her. But part of her knew that he wouldn't have lied to her unless there was absolutely no other way around it — he just wasn't like that and she knew it. She knew it better than anyone.
And another part of her just wished he would finally ask her out. He'd gotten all bent out of shape at the thought of someone else going out with her and that could only mean one thing.
"I'm sorry, Lois. I really am," Clark said, after a moment. "I hated not being able to tell you. I wanted to, I honestly did. But I didn't know how. Or when…"
"You didn't know how? What's wrong with 'Lois, I'm Superman'? That would have worked just fine, you know." She shrugged. "And, now's as good a time as any."
Clark took a deep breath and looked her straight in the eyes. "Lois," he told her, solemnly, "I'm Superman."
"See? That wasn't very hard, was it?"
"I guess not."
He smiled warmly. It was one of those smiles that just lit up the room. One that seemed full of hope and promise. And whatever was left of Lois's anger just melted away. How could she stay mad at him when what she really wanted was for him to hold her in his arms and kiss her?
"How mad are you?" Clark asked, tentatively. He had pretty much been expecting her to unleash a tornado, but she hadn't. And he wasn't quite convinced that this was a good thing.
"You know… honestly? I'm not. I'm hurt and I'm angry with myself for not figuring it out a long time ago… But I'm not mad."
"You're… not?" He looked at her with an air of disbelief. "I was kind of expecting you'd want to chop me up into little pieces… Very little pieces."
"That wouldn't be my first choice, no. Besides, it would make it pretty hard to go out with you then," Lois told him, hoping that he'd get a clue, once and for all.
"Go out…" he repeated, his voice trailing off as he considered what she'd just said. He cleared his throat and went on, "You mean there's a chance you'd say yes if I asked you out?"
"Try it and find out."
"Will you go out with me?" He held his breath as he waited for her answer.
"Who's asking? Clark or Superman?" she asked, grinning mischievously.
"There's just Clark," he explained. "Superman is… a disguise. It's just Clark."
"That's nice," Lois said. She took a few steps and came to a stop mere inches away from him. "I happen to like 'just Clark'."
"Does that mean you'd go out with him?"
"Definitely. As a matter of fact, it so happens I'm free tonight."
"Not anymore," he whispered as he leaned in to kiss her.
Bottom Dweller's Notes:
To have bats in the belfry, according to my nifty little dictionary, means to behave in an eccentric, bizarre manner. Which is close enough to what these guys are doing for this to make sense. ;)
There is such a thing as satellite batcaves, in case anyone wonders. Batman set them up at one point, in case he needed a place to hide or re-supply. They're all in Gotham, of course… But it wouldn't be that illogical for him to have some elsewhere. Having one in Metropolis would be a good idea in the event Superman ever went completely berserk (like in the Hush series) — Batman has a Kryptonite ring exactly for that purpose and it would stand to reason that the Dark Knight might need a place in Metropolis to coordinate an attack or simply hide in case he ever got hurt while trying to overpower Superman.
And yes, yes, I know… Lois should be mad at Clark. I know. I just get tired of all the angst that causes, so I went for an end that hasn't got any in it. *shrugs*