By LaraMoon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: December 2007
Summary: Halloween costumes don't always mask secret identities as well as one would like...
This was written for a Guess The Author challenge that was held on the boards (http://www.lcficmbs.com) around Halloween time.
"So, Lois, are you going to go to the Halloween Ball?" Clark asked as he handed her the cup of coffee he'd just gotten for her.
"Nope. You?" She carefully took the cup from him and smiled before taking a sip from its contents.
"Let me guess. You're covering it." Try as she might, Lois could not imagine why anyone would want to go to a costume party unless they were forced to.
"As a matter of fact, I am," he confirmed. "But I'd be going anyway."
"Figures," she mumbled. She wasn't really surprised at all. This was Clark, after all. The one person she knew who could always find something positive about, oh, anything at all. "I bet you loved getting all dressed up and trick or treating when you were a kid just as much as you love Christmas."
"Ah, come on, costumes can be fun!" He smiled.
It was one of those smiles that screamed the-world-is-such-a-wonderful-place, which left Lois to wonder why her partner had to be so cheerful all the time. Nine in the morning and Clark was already this close to scoring a ten on the happy scale. If he kept it up, Lois was sure she'd go from mildly irritated to very annoyed in no time flat.
"Fun? Are you kidding? What's fun about dressing up as some cliched character and making a fool of yourself? Costumes are for kids. On adults, they're just ridiculous!"
"Are they, now?" Clark smiled again, but this time he had kind of a twinkle in his eyes that Lois couldn't figure out very well. "What if it was, say, a blue and red spandex costume? Would that look ridiculous to you, Lois?"
"Of course not!" she protested. "Besides, it's different! Superman's costume isn't some cheesy Halloween getup he puts on to look popular at a party."
"Well, it's not!" She crossed her arms in front of her chest, having definitely crossed the border into anger by that point. "Anyway, I don't have time to go to a Halloween party! There's work to do. Serious work, with a capital W."
"Even if it's for charity?" Clark knew this wouldn't convince her, but there was no reason not to try.
"I'll just make a donation," she shot back.
"Superman is set to make an appearance." This, he thought, might be just the thing to make her change her mind.
Lois, however, simply shrugged. "You know, I've kind of outgrown the hero worship. Besides, he always attends these things and he never notices whether I'm there or not, so what's the point?"
Outgrown the hero worship? Clark frowned. Suddenly, he had an idea. "You know... You still owe me for last week."
"What's your point?" She looked at him suspiciously.
"Well, let's say I decide I want to call in that favor you owe me?"
"What? Oh, come on, don't tell me you want to trade places with me? That's not calling in a favor, that's cruel and unusual punishment!"
"I was just going to ask you to be my date, but if that's the way you feel about it." He shrugged.
"Da-ate?" Lois almost choked the word out. She cleared her throat and tried again, "a-a- date? As in, um... would that be a date-date or a favor-date-because-I-can't-convince-anyone-else-to-dress-up-for-that-thing?"
"Hey, for your information, I'm perfectly capable of finding a date for a party," Clark argued. "In fact, you know, maybe I should call Mayson Drake. I'm sure she'd be more than happy to-"
"No, no, no. That's fine," Lois interrupted. She'd go to that party dressed as the Statue of Liberty if she needed to, but there was no way in hell she was ever going to let Mayson Drake get her dirty little paws on her... her... Clark. "I'll go with you."
"Wow, thank you for your enthusiasm," he complained, raising an eyebrow.
"Well, it's your choice, really. You can have enthusiasm or you can have me looking silly in some stupid costume for an evening. What'll it be?" If he was going to force her to be happy about humiliating herself by wearing something completely inappropriate, he might as well call Mayson!
"I'll take the silly costume any day of the week," Clark said softly, flashing one of those million dollar smiles that only he knew the secret to.
The Halloween Ball was two days away and Lois still hadn't been able to find a costume she'd want to be seen in public in. Luckily, she knew that Clark hadn't found anything either just yet, so for the time being she was safe from his teasing.
As she walked past yet another boutique, she wondered if she'd ever find anything that would be suitable. And then, suddenly, a scary thought surfaced in Lois' mind... What if Clark showed up dressed in the most horrendous outfit known to man because he'd waited until the very last minute to finally get one? That was a typically male thing to do, after all, wasn't it?
Well, that just wouldn't do. Not at all. She might not have found an outfit herself, but it wasn't for lack of trying! She was putting some thought into it. Really, she was. Was it her fault if all the stores in Metropolis only offered costumes that she wouldn't be caught dead in? She didn't think so. And Lois would be damned if she had to spend the evening with anyone dressed in anything lame or cheesy. Something a Kansas farm boy might pick out, for instance. Immediately, Lois knew she had to take matters into her own hands. And she knew exactly what she was going to do, too!
"Thanks for the lift," Lois told Superman once he let her down inside her apartment.
"Always a pleasure, Lois." He turned and made for the window so he could fly right out.
"Oh, Superman, wait. I- I have a sort of a favor to ask."
It had taken Lois quite a few hours to finally be able to find him -- the whole point being that she needed to ask him something. In fact, she had even gone so far as to fake car trouble just so she'd have a chance to see him, and while she sort of felt guilty about that, she had exhausted all her other options. However Clark was able to contact the superhero at will, this wasn't a skill that Lois Lane had been blessed with and she had to resort to her own perhaps limited imagination in order to achieve the same results.
Slowly he turned back towards her and smiled. "Sure, anything."
"This is going to sound very silly." She started blushing, now less than convinced that this had been such a good idea. "Do you, uh, do you still have that police officer's outfit? You know, the one you used to go 'undercover' last week?"
Superman raised an eyebrow. "Yes, I do. " He wasn't certain he understood just what she was getting at with this line of questioning. Why would Lois need to know... Oh, wait a second. Was this about the Halloween Ball?
"Would you mind if I borrowed it from you?" Lois asked. She blushed all the way to her ears and hurriedly pushed back a thought about the set of handcuffs that probably came with the outfit.
"Not- not for me," she quickly explained. Taking a deep breath, she gave him the full story. "There's this costume party that Clark and I are supposed to go to and I know he hasn't found a costume for it yet, so I was wondering if you'd loan it to him? I mean, he's a little shorter than you are and probably not as muscular, but it should be close enough. I think?"
"I can loan it to him, sure. But don't you think he's able to pick out his own costume?" Superman asked. His tone was light and amused.
"Well, you see, that's the thing," Lois started explaining. "I'm a little bit afraid that he's going to show up there in something really, oh, how can I put this? Something awful. Just look at his ties. The man clearly has no fashion sense."
Superman gave her an odd glance and then, after a moment's consideration, he agreed. "I'll give it to him when I see him next."
"Well, I hope you see him soon, because the party is tomorrow night," Lois said with a hopeful look in her eyes.
"Don't worry." With that, the Man of Steel turned towards Lois's window and flew out of her apartment.
At noon, the next day, Lois realized there was no possible way she'd manage to meet her sources and find that perfect costume for the ball in what little time she had left. Said perfect costume had been eluding her all week and she expected she wouldn't find it in her lifetime, let alone in a few hours.
Shyly, she walked over to Clark's desk. "Listen, Clark, about this evening..."
"I, uh, I haven't been able to find a costume and- and, see, I have sources to meet this afternoon, so I don't think I'll be able to run around downtown and find something suitable. I'm sorry. I'm, ah, I'm going to have to put an X on this Hallowe-"
"Oh no you don't," he protested. "I'm not letting you get out of this so easily. I had to call in a favor so you'd go."
"Well, see, that's the great thing about it," she offered, "since I can't go, you'll still have that favor available for another time."
"How about if I found you a costume while you're out meeting your sources?" Clark suggested. "My afternoon is pretty much open, I could-"
"You'll...?" Lois cut in, her eyes were wide in shock. "Really, Clark, I'd rather you didn't."
"Why? On account of my fashion sense, or lack thereof?" His tone was sour and his expression clearly that of the wounded.
"I can't believe he told you that," she said slowly. She was flabbergasted. It was one thing for Superman to explain to Clark why he was lending him his policeman outfit, but another one altogether to recount every minute detail of their conversation to him.
Clark shrugged. If only Lois knew all the things she didn't even suspect he was aware of. "Maybe you don't know him as well as you thought you did. Either way, I'm not letting you get out of this so easily, Lois. I'll find something for you. Something tasteful, I promise. I'll ask for help. Okay?"
"Okay, okay!" Lois capitulated. Truth be told, she'd been a little sad at the thought of having to cancel their plans. She was really looking forward to seeing Clark in the policeman uniform. If he looked half as good in that as he did in the army uniform he had on the day before... Lois's cheeks suddenly turned bright red and she had to shake her head in order to put some order in her thoughts again. "But no chicken suit or- or- Playboy bunny outfit, or I swear to god, Kent, you won't live to see Thanksgiving this year!"
"I'll find something appropriate. Scout's honor."
The evening hadn't been a total loss, Lois thought, looking back. The ball had been a pleasant event in itself. Plus, she'd managed to get a few quotes from city officials that she'd be able to use.
That was saying nothing of all the jealous looks she'd gotten from the women around her as she shared a few dances with the most handsome man there. That policeman's uniform had turned her normally fashion-challenged partner into the hottest piece of eye-candy in the place -- by a few light years. There was no question Lois had gotten an eyeful and the satisfaction to be able to say he was her date for the evening. He must have had the costume altered, she figured. It had fit him perfectly well in all the right places, though she knew for a fact that her partner was quite a bit smaller in frame than Superman was.
And, she had to give it to him, he'd certainly gone above and beyond in finding her costume. It was tasteful and not the least bit silly or cheesy, and Lois certainly looked striking as the Queen Guinevere. She had no idea where he'd found it, but she was thankful he'd been able to unearth this little gem of a dress.
They were just leaving the banquet hall and on their way to hail a cab when they heard someone screaming for help, out in a nearby alley.
"You go on," Clark told Lois immediately. "I'll go and find help."
"There's not time, Clark!" she protested. "By the time the police get here it'll be much too late. We have to help, now. Besides, you're dressed as a police officer!"
"Okay, well, go on and find a cab. I'll see if there's anything I can do to help," he suggested, hoping this would be enough to convince her to leave him alone for the half second he required so that he could change into his other uniform.
"Are you out of your mind? Clark, if they're armed, they're going to make mincemeat out of you. There's no way I'm letting you go there alone."
"Then what do you suggest?" He sighed. The screaming continued and Clark wondered how this was going to turn out. Probably not well if he wasn't able to turn into Superman very soon to take care of the situation.
"You go ahead and I'll follow you."
"Lois! I'm not letting you get involved in anything that could be dangerous and it-"
"Clark!" she interjected, grabbing him by the arm and pulling him towards the alley from which the shouting came. "You go first, they'll think you're a law enforcement officer. Just, you know, act... official. I'll stay behind. If anything happens, I'll come over and help."
"No buts. I know Tae Kwon Do. You... don't."
Obviously there was no reasoning with a queen, Clark thought, somewhat frustrated. It wasn't so much that he minded being made to look like he couldn't defend himself -- he was pretty much used to it by now -- but as far as sidekicks went, Lois wouldn't have been his first choice of one.
They sprinted into the alley, Lois keeping behind Clark by as many steps as she felt was safe in order to make sure she'd be able to come to her partner's rescue, should he need it.
Upon catching a glimpse of the police officer running towards him and his victim, the mugger released the man he was holding up against the wall, who ran away as far and as quickly as he possibly could. The thief then turned to face the newcomer. He took two long steps in Clark's direction and, acting as quickly as lightning, he hit Clark square in the face with his fist.
Clark's hat and glasses flew off to the side, and he stumbled, falling flat on his behind. Seemingly out of nowhere, Lois jumped right in between the two men and, in three swift kicks, knocked out the mugger.
"Thanks," Clark told her, getting up awkwardly. He squinted in her direction, hoping she wouldn't get too good a look at his face and added, "I seem to have lost my glasses."
"They're right over there," she said and walked over to where she'd seen them land. She picked up the glasses and the headwear and turned to look at her partner, suddenly realizing she'd never actually seen him without glasses before.
But as she got a good look at him, standing right under a lamppost, she could barely believe her eyes.
"S- Superman?" she stammered. How could this be? When had Superman taken her partner's place?
He hung his head shamefully. "I'm sorry, Lois," he said simply. He hadn't a clue what else he should say. He had always planned on telling her the truth, but this wasn't exactly how Clark had hoped to do so.
"When? How? Why did you switch places with Clark? Don't tell me he's still angry about this afternoon?" Questions rushed through Lois's brain at the speed of light.
"We didn't switch places, Lois. You've been with me all evening. I'm-"
"Then what, what? Huh? He had to run off and do something and rather than face me later, he bribed you into coming here, is that what this is about?" Lois was irate. "You'd think I'd be able to tell you two apart! No wonder the costume fit you so well." She looked at the glasses she was holding. "Ah! There isn't even a prescription in this. Obviously not Clark's at all."
"Yes they are Clark's. And no there isn't any prescription in them," he explained slowly and as gently as he could. "I don't need a prescription, Lois. I never have."
"You mean...? You- you...? No way!" She shook her head. "Uh huh. Impossible. You're not Clark. You're Superman."
Hesitantly, he took a step forward. "I am Clark, Lois. And I'm Superman, too."
"I don't believe it." She looked at him as if she'd never seen either side of him before in her life. "I don't believe this at all. It's just not possible. My mild-mannered partner is *Superman*!" she stopped her tirade as something occurred to her which was even more unbelievable. "You let *me* knock out this guy all by myself. Un-be-lie-va-ble!"