By BJ <email@example.com>
Submitted July 2008
Summary: Newton's Law #1: Inertia -- An object in motion will stay in motion. An object at rest stays at rest. But what happens when a mind in motion meets a body at rest, especially when the mind and body belong to Lois Lane?
LOIS: You know, Clark, I have a funny feeling that you didn't tell me your *biggest* secret.
CLARK: Well, just to put your little mind at ease Lois... you're right.
-- "The Ides of Metropolis," written by Deborah Joy Levine
Newton's Law #1: Inertia -- An object in motion will stay in motion. An object at rest stays at rest. But what happens when a mind in motion meets a body at rest, especially when the mind and body belong to Lois Lane?
Wedged between the door and seat of my jeep, I cock one eye open to stare at my partner again, trying to figure out his secret. His *biggest* secret. He thinks I'm asleep, but in reality, I can't shut my mind off long enough to snooze. I watch him stare out the front window at the darkened office building across the street, glasses perched precariously on the tip of his nose. I figure it's because he's farsighted, but it's just one of the strange things that are just ... Clark.
Does his secret have something to do with his weird habits, like when he tugs on his tie or gets that pole axed look just as he remembers some inane task he just *has* to get done that exact moment? Maybe it does.
Now that I think about it, Clark runs off with suspiciously flimsy excuses a lot; he always has. Why does he need to run off at odd times? And why do his excuses always sound ... off? Is he lying? If he is, then he's not a very good liar. Deep down, I know that Clark's an honest person and I trust him -- more than anyone else I've ever known -- but why not just tell me instead of making up excuses?
It must be something embarrassing, whatever it is. Or dangerous. I roll my one open eye at that thought. Clark's extremely protective of me. Overprotective, if you ask me. He hasn't figured out that I can take care of myself. Most of the time. Well, there was that time when he saved Jimmy and me from that chemical explosion. And then the time Mr. Tracewski strangled me. And then ... OK, so sometimes I need a little, teeny-tiny bit of help. But that's what Superman is for.
Mmm. Superman. I close my eye again and smile to myself as I picture Superman in my mind.
She's watching me again. I push my glasses back up and shift in my seat. She thinks she's fooling me, but I can tell she's awake. For the past twenty minutes, she's been peeking at me, making the hair on my neck stand on end. What is she looking at? Her heartbeat isn't erratic, not in a fearful or angry way, but just uneven enough that I can tell she's awake and thinking about something. It unnerves me, especially since I have so much to hide. Lois has the most incredible intuition and instincts I've ever seen. Staying one step ahead of her, or even just keeping up with her, is a super-human feat.
Now there's a problem -- Superman. Since the first day on the colonist's shuttle, she'd claimed Superman as her own. Professionally and privately, he has belonged to Lois Lane and woe be unto the foolish who dare to encroach on her territory.
I sigh as I remember the bachelor auction, how depressed she became when she couldn't buy the date with Superman. I couldn't stand to see her sad, so I'd told her -- as Superman -- that she was special. Later the same day, I'd burst through the wall to the vault to save her life and had barely stopped myself from kissing her. She'd clung to me, laying her head on my shoulder and I thought I would die from the sheer wonderfulness of it all. Only later had it occurred to me how much that experience had encouraged her Superman crush.
If that wasn't bad enough, a few weeks later I'd lost my head and declared my love to her while wearing the suit. For two days I'd withstood her advances during that whole pheromone incident and I decide to lose my head as Superman instead of Clark. She had driven me crazy with desire, but I knew that to take advantage of her would be the end of our friendship or the chance of any future relationship. I still wanted her, though, and when the chance arose at the airport to declare my true feelings, I leapt at it. Lois gleefully and passionately kissed Superman in response, creating a stronger romantic attachment than ever before.
I scowl as I remember how I'd shot myself in the foot with that bone-headed idea.
I crack my eyes open again and notice Clark's scowl. My eyebrows climb a fraction before I remember to control them. Clark so rarely frowns that it always catches my attention and I wonder what he's thinking about now. That particular scowl usually appears when Lex is around. For instance, last Friday, Clark and I had been in the middle of an investigation, working through stacks of financial statements and quarterly reports at my place when a glance at the clock reminded me I was late for a date with Lex. I left Clark to clean up while I scurried off to get ready.
At first, I'd thought him annoyed at having to leave in the middle of our investigation, but then he'd started in on Lex, telling me he wasn't as good as he seemed. Lex's arrival and Clark's abrupt departure interrupted my chance to find out what he meant and before I had a chance to question him, we were involved with finding Nick Collins.
Superman had had to save me that time. Constance had hypnotized me and without him, I would have happily drowned in a tank of water. I remember telling Clark about it; okay, so I'd gushed a little about Superman to him, and he'd scowled then, too. That's when it hit me. Lex wasn't really bad, Clark was just jealous.
I know he and Lex don't get along, have known ever since the White Orchid Ball. But Superman is Clark's friend, isn't he? Why would he be jealous of Superman? Clark's my best friend and he's got so much going for him; he's intelligent and hard working, he's kind, funny, courteous, a great listener and pretty decent looking. Okay, so he's gorgeous, but since I know he's not attracted to me, I try not to think about that *too* often.
I can't believe that he'd be jealous of the superpowers. In their own way, both Clark and Superman do everything in their power to make the world a better place. Together, they're a force to be reckoned with. I close my eyes again, thinking about the two of them, trying to remember if I'd ever seen that scowl on Clark's face around Superman. Although I can easily remember several occasions where I'd observed Clark and Lex together, like at the Planet when the terrorists were digging up Dragonetti's vault, I can't think of one time where I'd seen Clark and Superman together.
Well, there had been that time in my apartment, but that turned out to be the Superman clone.
It was Clark who saved me that time. The thought gave me a warm, rosy feeling in my chest, but something was off in the thought at the same time. I replay the scene in my mind and pinch my lips together to swallow a gasp of surprise. The clone had Superman's powers -- that had been obvious -- so how had Clark held off his arm?
I look sideways at Lois and see that her lids have closed again, a small smile playing on her lips. God, she has a beautiful smile. I don't think she'll ever know what it does to me, especially when it's directed *at* me.
I've seen her shy smile, her sly smirk, an embarrassed smile and a smug grin. The brilliant display that is her smile of victory sets my heart racing and her smile of loving worship eclipses the sun for the rush of energy it gives. Of course, that one is always directed at my alter-ego, but it still makes my heart trip over itself. There are many more that I've catalogued; excitement, pleasure, fun and even one for seduction during the pheromone incident, a smile that revisits me in my dreams.
I look at her again and see the corners of her mouth dip slowly into a frown. She has almost as many frowns as she does smiles and they're even more devastating to me. Angry Lois, scared Lois, vulnerable Lois, disappointed or frustrated Lois. Then there's the glare that always makes my palms sweat and my knees weaken. The pinched forehead and tightened lips that declare to all that know her that she's putting something together. It's that look that sends Jimmy for his camera, puts a smile on Perry's face and informs me that I'll soon be needing to save her from some deadly situation. That look proclaims she's putting the puzzle pieces together and usually precedes an infamous leap of logic that always proves fatal for the criminals she exposes. Kind of like the way she's looking at me right now.
I swallow hard when I see that her eyes are now wide open and staring at me in angry recognition.
Everything slides into place as I ditch my pretense of sleeping. All it took was that one image and all the other oddities fell into place. His strange tie tick, his lame excuses, his disappearances and his cryptic statement that I didn't know Lex the way he did. Well, I suppose there might be something to that, now that I know about his other job.
I shove the idle speculation about Lex's darker side away to focus my thoughts on the deception sitting in front of me. My best friend? Ha! His best lie, maybe. All this time I'd been letting myself depend on him, lowering my guard and starting to trust him. How could I let this happen? Did I really think that his wholesome, all-American, boy-next-door act could be trusted? That he wouldn't abuse my heart the way all the others had? Yes. That's exactly what I'd thought.
Through determination and humor, Clark had earned my respect and then my friendship and trust. In and out of the suit, he'd cared for me, saving me, shielding me and supporting me. Well, that's what I had thought. I believed he cared about me, but it was all a joke. A lie.
I can see the recognition in his eyes, a sort of wide-eyed fear at being caught, but then he does something unexpected. Instead of denying it or trying to convince me I was imagining things, he reaches up to remove his glasses, tossing them onto the dash before he looks at me again. He nods, an acknowledgment to my insight. His easy acceptance and his unwillingness to deny it assuages my anger a little, but it still hurts. God, it hurts so much.
In that instant, I realize I've lost my hero and my best friend. My eyes fill with tears as I mourn their passing. I feel like my heart is breaking.
My heart literally stops beating at her look of recognition. Her eyes widen as she looks me straight in the eye. I cringe inwardly as I can feel the gears turning, working her way through all the evidence. And it is damning.
I've left plenty of clues since I first became Superman. Frankly, it's a miracle Lois hadn't figured it out before now. I've known since the moment I laid eyes on her that she's the most brilliant woman I'd ever met. It's almost a relief to know I won't need to stay ahead of her anymore. Almost.
There's still the little problem of dealing with her anger. Anyone who knows Lois Lane knows that she doesn't like secrets. That's what makes her the best investigative reporter I've ever met. Figuring out I'd been keeping a secret of this magnitude from her and pretending to be two people would be hard for her to forgive.
I consider trying to dissemble, to fool her into overlooking my secret again, but looking at the steel in her eyes and the firm set of her jaw tells me it'd only make things worse. I sigh and reach up to remove my glasses, setting them out of the way. I nod in acknowledgment of her discovery with a simple jerk of my head.
Her look softens just a little and a feeling of hope springs up in my chest. I'm sure it will take some time for her to forgive me, but I still have hopes she will. Eventually.
I sigh again. Wishful thinking, Kent. Maybe when pigs fly. I figure a little judicious groveling would go a long way to improve my chances and I open my mouth to start pleading my case, but the dejected slump of her shoulders tells me it's going to require so much more than that. Anger I can deal with; mad, hot Lois Lane can be a handful, but defeated Lois leaves me stunned. Hurt is so much worse.
She's had so much pain in her life, inflicted by those she trusts and loves, that my heart breaks with hers, especially knowing that I'm the cause. I'm horrified to see a tear escape her wounded eyes to track miserably down her cheek.
Even as the tears start to run down my face, my mind continues its relentless march. I start connecting memories that before had no relevance to each other, but now provide additional evidence to Clark's crime: hearing the maid coming in the honeymoon suite, hiding behind a plant in Carpenter's office, his amnesia after destroying Nightfall, Superman's globe and catching me after Trask threw me out of that plane.
Trask! Oh my god. Kryptonite really does exist. Clark's allergies and the paper cut proved to me that I really had almost lost him that day at the farm.
My breath hitches as I remember him saying Mr. Makeup had shot at me. I didn't believe him and told him to go away, even as Superman, but he'd stayed. He probably stayed all night and in the end, had saved my life again.
How many times had Clark tried to be there for me only to be rebuffed? He'd return as Superman, sometimes in the nick of time, to rescue me in spite of my claims that I could take care of myself.
I watch Clark's face fall when he sees my tears and he bows his head in shame. It occurs to me that he's not embarrassed that I figured him out -- his easy acknowledgment was proof of that -- but he's ashamed. Why? My thoughts go back to my initial speculation about his secret and his lies. Why not just tell me?
I understand that he only lies to keep his powers a secret and I can tell he hates it. It doesn't really matter how he feels about lying; he *has* to in order to have a life, just like he pretended to be two people in order to protect me. I pushed him away as Clark, but welcomed him as Superman. No wonder he perpetuated the deception. The lie wasn't that he cared, it was necessary because I wouldn't let him care about me as himself.
I want to reach out, to pull Lois into my arms and embrace her until the pain goes away. I want to comfort her, but cannot. Not when I put the anguish there, so visible in her gaze.
I killed her hero. I can see that in her eyes. She's lost her best friend and I've killed her hero all for my own selfish desires. An unrealistic wish to be normal, to have a normal job, friends, a wife, somehow took precedence over her. I clench my hand into a fist and bow my head in ineffectual, impotent shame.
I can't take back the hurt I've caused, can't earn back her trust with even the most sincere words. I can try; I will try. I won't give up to the end of my days, doing everything in my power to earn back her friendship and build that trust.
If it'll fix the damage I've caused, I'll even give up my life as Clark to be the superhero she wants me to be.
My mind races faster and faster through the events of the past year, fitting his comments and his actions into this new reality. I think again of his absolute belief in magic and in the possibility that Alan Morris could really be invisible. Clark's conviction -- that there is such a thing as an invisible man -- hits me with such physical force that I gasp. He's right. I realize that my inability to see all of him wasn't just because of his deception. I didn't see him, couldn't see him when I didn't want to even look.
I wanted the fantasy of Superman, a perfect person who could do no wrong, make no mistakes and would never hurt me. I fell in love with him, with his kindness, his dedication to truth and justice. I wanted Superman's love, practically demanded it from the beginning. I declared it in my actions and in my words, right there in front of all of my colleagues that he was mine. I thought I wanted romantic love, or maybe a courtly love. Either way, I realize that I never expected to risk my heart.
But if I'm honest, I always knew it would never be real. I knew he couldn't give me the fantasy, but I forced him to persist, to live the lie.
I don't want that, now that I know the truth. I see his remorse and then a sad determination in his face and realize he'd do anything for me, even if it hurts him. I can tell that he's about to say or do something so noble, so self-less and so lunk-headed in a misguided attempt to give me what he thinks I want. Clark's mouth opens, but before he can confirm my suspicions, I reach up to place my fingers over his lips. Whatever his plan is, it's not what I want. Not truly.
My best friend and my fantasy are the same man and they both care for me. Maybe even love me, unconditionally, and in spite of my efforts to keep him at a distance. My fingers wisp over his face -- exposed and vulnerable -- learning his new truth. I've never known anyone like that before and in that instant, I know I'll never meet anyone else who will love me more than the one complete man in front of me.
The euphoria I feel at that thought pulls a smile of pure joy from deep inside, surfacing from where it lay buried under long years of disappointment and pain.
Her fingers on my lips tingle, an electric current of hope at the understanding her eyes now convey. Somehow she knew and rejected my plans of self-sacrifice. I hold my breath as she searches my eyes, her fingers exploring my face.
Please. Please let her find it -- whatever she needs to know, to understand, to believe. There is no deception between us now and I let all the love I feel show. My eyes adore her as I place my hand over hers, worshipping her with my touch. My heart fills to bursting loving her.
Her smile, unreserved in pure joy steals my breath away. Somehow, some way, she's found a way to forgive me. I don't intend to waste this second chance. I inch forward, allowing her time to pull away, but she surprises me by closing the distance herself.
My eyes slide shut as the slight pressure of her lips caress mine. The kiss is short and light yet devastating. As she pulls away, the sharp sting of tears behind my eyelids contrasts sharply with the warm feeling evoked by the whisper of her breath on my lips. I feel a sense of belonging suffuse my entire being. I want so much to feel this for the rest of my life. I don't want to push her, but the pull to experience that feeling again is too strong. I give in and kiss her again.
Oh my god, he's going to kiss me. It's real this time, not a cover, not a goodbye, not drug induced lust, but a kiss of honest affection -- of love. There's no deception now, just pure understanding and acceptance. I know I've never had that before. My entire life has been filled with people expecting something in return for their affection. I can't wait to experience my first real kiss.
He takes his time, giving me a chance to reject it. When pigs fly! Impatient, I lean in and kiss him instead. At the touch of his lips, my eyes slip shut, a sense of complete rightness invading my soul.
My mind is whirling, screaming at me that we could have had this *months* ago if I hadn't been so stubborn, but I shove the recriminations away. My mind finally falls blissfully silent, allowing me to focus instead on the sensation his kiss evokes.
He shifts his mouth against mine, opening just a little to refasten again. I seize the opportunity to pull at his bottom lip, suckling it as my fingers slide back into this hair. He moans his approval and my stomach flips over. The intoxicating smell of his breath sends a warmth racing through me as my heart pumps harder. The insane need to taste him hits me full force. My fingers tangle in his hair and tighten in anticipation as I pull him back to me.
I attack him, throwing my whole body into it. I feel him fall back against the seat, overwhelmed by my onslaught and I feel suddenly nervous about being so aggressive. I pause, unsure about what he wants, but before I can back off, he's there with me, pulling me close and kissing me harder. I feast on his lips, trying to sate the hunger I feel for him until the need for oxygen finally forces me to break away.
I barely gulp in one drought of air before he attacks my neck, his hot insistent kisses causing my breath to catch in my throat. I close my eyes and moan as his tongue strokes the juncture of my jaw, causing my racing pulse to skitter, before thundering loudly in my own ears as he kisses me again.
All I can hear is the beautiful pounding beats of our hearts in sync. They complement each other and create in the combination a third implied rhythm; the sound of belonging, a silent sharing of secrets, of soul mates meeting and lives entwining. In these few short moments, our hearts and minds have linked, creating a new reality filled with harmonic beauty.
She possessively captures my mouth and the liquid fire running through my veins gathers in my belly. Unable to help myself, I vocalize my approval and a second later, find myself falling backwards when Lois wraps herself around me. Lois is always a spitfire, especially in an investigation, and the fact that she's directing that considerable energy toward me is astounding. She's completely focused on kissing me as hard and as long as she can. Never one to squander a good opportunity, I kiss her back the way I've wanted to, dreamt of since we first met.
Perry isn't the only one to value initiative. I drink her in until she gasps for air and still I kiss her, wandering instead along her alabaster skin, memorizing the way her breath hitches when I kiss her pulse point. She makes a sexy sound deep in the back of her throat that spurs me on. We kiss again and I'm lost to the sensations, the sounds, smell, taste and sight of Lois.
My Lois, now. For some reason, she's forgiven me my deception and gifted me her acceptance, her trust and love. Our kisses soften and lengthen as the roaring flame of passion burns down into the warm coals of abiding love. We pull away from each other, but I don't let her go far, placing my hand gently on her cheek as I stare into her eyes again. Unable to resist, I kiss her once again and then rest my forehead against hers. I close my eyes and savor the moment, focusing again on the rhythm of our hearts entwined.
That's when I hear it; the ticking of a bomb.
I feel the change in his kiss and immediately respond, allowing the wave of his unconditional love to wash through me. His eyes are bright as he looks at me and his final kiss is so full of promise, I want to weep. He rests his head against mine and his sigh of contentment causes my heart to fill again. This is what I've always wanted, my secret desire to be loved and accepted and cherished.
I open my eyes and glance at the clock, amazed at how much time has passed. Chagrined, I realize that we've completely messed up our stake out. Clark tenses and I wonder if he's realized it, too. Or maybe he's heard something. I look at him and see the pole-axed expression that always precedes a lame excuse and swift departure.
Excited, I look out the windshield and scan the area. Seeing no one, I pull my bag from the floor and jump out of the jeep as Clark does the same on the other side. I rush around to stand in front of my jeep, Clark close behind.
I watch him stare intently at the building. His eyes widen a fraction and then he reaches up to tug on his tie. He notices me watching, my enthralled expression catching his attention and he smirks. Stepping back, he spins until Superman magically appears in his place. I know I'm gaping, but I can't help it. That was so cool!
"Stay here," he commands before flying off in a gust of wind.
I shake my head in irritation. Our silent conversation in the jeep had drastically changed both of our lives and the first words he utters are to order me away from the story? Not in this lifetime. I see him blur out the front of the building and up into the sky; the concussive boom that follows testifies that he had saved me again.
I decide to circle to the rear of the building, both to watch for the perpetrators and to get the evidence. Even Superman can't be everywhere, and his insistence that I stay put is irrational. I know that Clark wants to protect me because he cares, but did he really expect me to miss all the action? Does he really think that because I know his biggest secret that I'll stop being me?
Besides, I can take care of myself.
A/N: PWP set sometime after Fly Hard, but before BatP. Thanks to Kathy Brown for agreeing to beta (even while she's crazy busy with real life) and for being such a good friend. The characters do not belong to me, but the mistakes are all mine.