By Andrea Dunham <email@example.com>
Summary: While investigating a fire at LexCorp Chemical, Lois and Clark stumble upon a plot by Lex Luthor to manufacture synthetic Kryptonite. An incapacitated Clark tries to talk Lois out of continuing the investigation on her own.
While I've been reading all of the wonderful stories on the fanfic list I've noticed one thing, although a lot of us write about dating and revelations and some more day-to-day reporting stories, there are very few stories about Lois and Clark post-revelation (excepting a few which deal with Lois' pregnancy or are fairly comical). This sort of surprises me because that is what we're asking the actual writers to come up with…realistic post-revelation relationship stories. Well, I decided that if that's what we want to see then it would be a good idea to write it down. After all, if they can do it, we can do it! Or maybe THEY'LL see that if WE can do it, THEY can do it! Anyway. Here's my contribution to this line of stories and I hope that maybe it'll inspire some of you other people to write in your ideas.
Please send any comments/criticism to me, Andrea Dunham, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lois heard her alarm ringing through the fog of sleep which covered her and she groaned, rolled over, and flung out one arm to silence it. She hit it on the first try, practice made perfect. After blinking a few times she felt more awake and more prepared to face the day, but she still yawned as she walked into the bathroom.
It had been a long night. Clark had been forced to run out in the middle of their date to attend to a fire at the LexCorp Chemical Plant and they had a rule about such things. The rule was that if he had to run out he would return as soon as possible and they would try to pick up where they had left off. Sometimes it meant waiting up for him until the wee hours, and some times it meant just seeing each other for a quick goodnight kiss, but it was better than them abandoning all hope of being together. When Clark had returned, the two of them had talked about the fire for a few minutes and then finished watching the movie they'd rented.
After a quick shower Lois dressed and decided that breakfast just wasn't in the cards for her that morning. She took a brief final look at her hair and then ran out the door, briefcase in one hand, pocketbook in the other.
When she arrived at the Daily Planet she immediately saw that Clark wasn't at his desk. She thought it somewhat unusual considering that he usually beat her to work…superspeed had certain advantages. As she sat down though she realized that he had been there earlier. Sitting in the middle of her desk was a bowl of strawberries, peaches, and several kinds of melon all covered in cream, and next to it was a croissant and a note. She picked it up and read it.
"Dear Lois-- You were probably pretty tired this morning so I didn't think you'd have time for breakfast at home. Hope you enjoy. I had to run off but I'll be back soon. Love, Clark"
Her face broke into a wide smile. That Clark! He was always thinking of her. She ran her finger over the last two words. Love. He loved her. Just seeing it written sent a thrill through her. She knew that she loved him more than she had ever thought humanly possible. She didn't know how it had possibly taken her two years to realize her true feelings. Then again she did know. A lot of it had had to do with Superman, and then when she had discovered, nearly three months after declaring her feelings for Clark and Clark alone, that he was also Superman, it had sent her into a tailspin. It hadn't lasted long though because by that time her feelings for Clark had already grown into a deep love, and she had quickly realized how much he had to love and trust her to let her in on his secret.
A myriad of pleasant memories from the past six months floated through her mind as she ate and read her mail. She didn't even notice Jimmy until he tapped her on the shoulder.
"Oh, hey, Jimmy. I'm sorry, I was just thinking."
"That's OK, Lois. Perry just wanted me to tell you that he wants to see you and Clark as soon as Clark comes in."
"Thanks, Jimmy. I'm sure he'll be here any minute," Lois said as she glanced at the elevator.
Jimmy trotted off to photo lab and Lois was about to go back to her mail when she saw the elevator doors open and Clark step out. She smiled up at him and he returned it with one of his own. Everyone in the office pretended not to notice, but they would have had to have been blind not to see the connection between Lois and Clark.
"Morning, Lois, "Clark said as he walked up to her. "How was breakfast?"
"Perfect. You think of everything," Lois answered.
"Well, not everything, but I try my best," Clark said with a grin.
"Perry wants to see us in his office ASAP," Lois said as she stood up.
"Then I guess we'd better go see him."
Perry waved the two of them into his office before Clark could even knock.
"What's up, Chief?" Clark asked.
"A news story that I wouldn't want anyone but my crack reporting team to handle," Perry said as he motioned them into seats.
The two of them sat down and waited for Perry to begin.
"I'm sure you two heard about the fire at LexCorp Chemical, am I right?"
"We heard something about it," Lois answered. "Superman arrived before it had time to get too out of control."
"Yes, well this morning the arson squad went in to look the place over and they found some very interesting things."
"Like what, Chief?" Clark asked.
"Well, apparently the fire was started in one of the labs. Seems there was a small explosion when the men there were attempting to synthesize Kryptonite," Perry said grimly.
"Kryptonite? But that's impossible. No one even knows what it's base components are," Lois exclaimed.
"Yes, but be that as it may, they were trying. Does that fact ring any bells with you kids?"
"Luthor." Clark said with a hard edge in his voice.
"That's what I was thinking, yes."
"But I thought that he cut his losses after his prison break and escaped to Europe. I even heard that people reported seeing him in Germany," Lois said.
Clark heard the slight quiver in Lois' voice, glanced over at her. Her face was pale but her eyes flashed fire.
"That's what I thought too, Lois," Perry said, "but can you think of anyone else who would have the means and the motive to even attempt this?"
Lois shook her head.
"Neither can I. I want you two to find out what's going on. If anyone can, it's you. You might try the chemical plant, but apparently the lab was in a wing which had been shut down months ago. The administrators claim that they don't know what was going on there. Who knows, they could be lying."
"We'll check it out," Clark said as he rose to his feet.
"All right, just be careful. There's no love lost between Luthor and Superman I know, but I don't think that you two are on his favorite people list either," Perry said.
"We'll be careful, Perry," Lois said.
Clark opened the door for Lois and the two of them retreated to her desk.
"I can't believe Lex is back," Lois said as she sat down.
Clark looked down into her worried brown eyes. He hated to see her upset, and word of Luthor was one of the few things that could make her feel that way.
"Don't worry, Lois. We'll get him," Clark took her hand in his as he looked at her. "I won't let him hurt you."
His voice was strong, supporting, and Lois could hear the Superman part of him seeping in around the edges.
"Clark, it's not me I'm afraid for, it's you. What if Luthor has succeeded in making Kryptonite? He could, he could…kill you."
There was a catch in her voice as she spoke, and her eyes suddenly glistened with unshed tears. Clark thought that his heart was going to burst through his chest. He knew that Lois loved him, but seeing that love so clearly written on her face, hearing that she was more concerned for him than for herself, it sent a rush of emotions coursing through his body. It also made him want to protect her even more, and to keep her from worrying. He hated Luthor at that moment. He hated him for everything he had already done, and he hated him for what he continued to put them through.
"Don't worry, sweetness, I'll be careful."
"I suppose that we should get over to the plant," Lois said with a sigh. "The sooner we find out what's going on the better."
"Agreed," Clark said as he retrieved Lois' trench coat and helped her into it.
Clark knew that Lois wouldn't stop worrying, and neither would he, not until they knew exactly what Luthor was up to.
"You're telling us that you and the rest of the men here had no idea that anyone was using that wing of the plant?" Lois said incredulously.
Mr. Perkins had been polite enough, but Lois simply refused to believe that people could be experimenting in part of his plant without his knowing about it.
"Ms Lane, I wish I could tell you otherwise. Quite frankly it doesn't make me look very good, and it makes plant security look like something a two-year-old could elude."
"Well, Mr. Perkins, do you think that you could take us down to that wing now?" Clark asked.
"The arson squad hasn't given their final OK yet," Perkins said.
"Mr. Perkins, I'm sure that you wouldn't want the Planet to publish a story linking this entire fiasco to the ineptitude of the management, would you?" Lois said in a sweet but lethal voice. "Mr. Kent and I just want to see the extent of the damage. We won't touch a thing."
Clark eyed his partner. He had to hand it to her, she was ruthless when she saw something she wanted.
"Wel-l. I suppose it would be all right. Here, follow me."
He stood and Lois and Clark quickly followed suit and went with him through the maze of corridors leading to the south wing of the plant. There was a large metal door separating the south wing from the rest of the plant and Perkins took out a large key ring and inserted one of the keys into the lock.
"This door is triple reinforced. It's what prevented the fire from spreading to the rest of the building," he said as he opened the door.
Lois and Clark could see that he was telling the truth. On the other side of the door was nothing but the charred remains of laboratory equipment and even the back side of the door was blackened.
"We'll just take a little look around," Clark said.
He quickly scanned the area with his x-ray vision, unfortunately finding nothing in the way of a paper trail but ashes. He turned and spotted something under a table in the corner. Focusing in on it he saw that it was a computer disk. He didn't have much hope of it being readable but he nudged Lois nevertheless. She followed his glance and spotted the disk.
"Oh, shoot," she said as she subtly pulled one of her earrings out and let it drop to the floor. "That's always happening,"
She went to pick it up but "accidentally" kicked it into the corner.
"Ms Lane, you really shouldn't be poking around that much," Perkins said nervously.
"I'll get it for you, Lois," Clark offered.
He went to the corner and, with superspeed, snatched up the disk before Perkins saw it, and then retrieved the earring. He was about to straighten up when suddenly he was struck by and intense pain in his head and a feeling of dizziness and nausea. He knew of only one thing that could make him feel that way.
Lois saw Clark nearly fall over and ran to his side.
"Clark, are you OK?" she asked frantically.
Clark knew that he had to calm both her and Mr. Perkins. "I'm fine Lois. I guess I should have had something for breakfast after all."
Lois immediately knew that she had to pull herself together before Perkins got suspicious.
"He has low blood sugar," she said as she glanced at Perkins.
"Well why don't we get him back to my office and get him something to drink," he offered.
"That's a good idea," Lois said as she put her arm around Clark's waist.
Ten minutes later she and Clark were on their way out the gates of LexCorp Chemical with more proof than they had wanted to find.
"Are you all right now, Clark?" Lois asked as she looked over at him nervously.
"I'm still pretty out of it, Lois. I didn't see the Kryptonite anywhere though, and it had to have been a large amount to make me this sick so fast."
"Those aren't exactly encouraging words," Lois said.
"I'm sorry, Lois."
"Well, I'll just have to go back and find out where that Kryptonite is hidden. Maybe it was under the floor, or in the wall or something," she said. She was about to spout off another stream of possibilities when Clark interrupted.
"Lois, you are not going back there alone."
"Clark Kent, I can't believe you just spoke to me that way. You should know better than to try to give me orders."
"Lois, I'm not ordering you, well, I guess I am, but it's for your own good. What if whoever was experimenting there decides to come back, perhaps for this?" he said as he held up the disk.
"Well, I'm pretty tough you know," Lois said with a grin as she tried to lighten the mood.
"I know you are, but you're not invulnerable."
"And neither are you," Lois said as she looked at him. "You can't go back in there, and we can't exactly go to the police with this. I can just hear us, um, Inspector Henderson, we know that there's still Kryptonite in that lab because, well, you see, Clark here is really Superman and he got sick when he was in the lab'. Yeah, that would go over really well. We need real proof."
"Maybe this disk…"
"Even if the disk tells us something, we still have to get that Kryptonite. You're right when you said that whoever was working there could come back, and they could take the Kryptonite and use it against you."
Clark looked at Lois and saw the determination on her face. He knew that there was no way he was going to be able to stop her. All he could do was buy a little time.
"Well let's find out what's on the disk first, OK?"
Lois knew how much he worried about her and she nodded her head. "OK."
She pulled up to Clark's apartment building and got out of the jeep. Clark steadied himself on the door as he stood up, and Lois quickly went around to help him.
"I'll be OK, Lois," he said.
"Don't be ridiculous, Clark. You're still sick."
She helped him up to his apartment and ushered him into the bedroom.
"Let me get you a cool cloth for your head," she said as she went into the bathroom.
"Thanks, Lois," Clark said as he slipped out of his shoes and took his tie off.
"Clark, you look horrible," Lois said in a nervous voice. "Does it usually last this long? I don't remember it lasting this long before."
"It varies. In Smallville with Trask I didn't get my powers back for almost a day and a half."
"Here, let me help you," Lois said as she pulled down the sheets and fluffed up his pillows.
He slid between the sheets and Lois put the cloth on his forehead. She kissed him gently and his hands went instinctively around her waist.
"Clark," she said as she lay her head on his chest, "I don't want to leave you."
"I'll be fine," he reassured her, stroking her silky hair.
"Clark," she hesitated.
"What, Lois?" he said expectantly.
"Clark, I'm scared. I'm scared that Luthor will come between us again, that I'll lose you, that we'll lose each other. Please don't make me go. I want us to be together for as long as we can."
Clark looked down and saw the concern in Lois' eyes. He kissed her and held her tightly.
"Don't you worry. We'll be together for a very long time." He paused, "You'd better hurry and get in bed. We both have to be at work in the morning."
Lois hastily changed into one of Clark's t-shirts and climbed into bed next to him.
"How are you feeling?" she asked as she draped an arm across his chest.
"I'm feeling better, Lois."
"Good," she responded. She kissed his shoulder. "I love you."
"I love you too."
Lois slept fitfully that night, and kept waking to check on Clark. She would lay her hand on his chest to feel his heartbeat and reassure herself that he was right and that the two of them had a long future ahead of them. When the sun finally crept up above the horizon of skyscrapers she was almost glad. Being awake meant work, and work meant not being able to lie around and think morbid thoughts. She quickly and carefully crawled out of bed without waking Clark and slipped into the bathroom.
When she emerged with a towel wrapped around herself he was sitting up in bed. He gazed at her appreciatively.
"Well, if going to bed sick means waking up to this I might learn not to mind it so much," he said with a chuckle.
Lois gave him a quick peck on the cheek but it was clear that he was feeling better when he grabbed her and sat her down on his lap for a long luxurious kiss. Lois managed to extricate herself after several highly pleasurable minutes.
"Much more of that and you'll make us both late," she laughed.
"You seem to forget that I can shower in under a minute," Clark said, and so saying he dashed into the bathroom and dashed back out again before Lois could even put her skirt on.
"You really are feeling better," she said with approval.
"Yes, and I am now more in a position to tell you that I absolutely refuse to let you go back to that chemical plant."
Lois had disappeared back into the bathroom to finish dressing, but she heard Clark loud and clear.
"Clark, we've been over all this. You can't order me to neglect my job just because it involves a little danger."
"Lois, I would hardly call sneaking into a restricted area a requirement of the average journalist."
"Well there you have it, I am no average journalist."
"Clark, I know that you're only saying all this because you love me. I love you too, and that's why I have to go back. I will be careful and I will not take any foolish chances."
"This whole idea is a foolish chance," Clark said.
"Well, no more foolish than usual then. Happy?"
Lois went back into the bedroom and found Clark sitting, fully dressed, on his newly remade bed. The look on his face was not one which she enjoyed seeing.
"I'm really sorry, Clark. Try to understand. You know that my job didn't change when I found out you're Superman. My job involves chances and I can't expect someone to come rescue me or take the chances for me…even if that person is the strongest, bravest, best man on the planet." she touched his cheek gently. "I took care of myself before you even came to Metropolis and I was very good at it. Believe me, Clark, I'll be OK."
"Let's not talk about it any more right now," Clark said as he gathered up his briefcase. "Let's just concentrate on finding out what's on the disk, and then we can talk about your trip to LexCorp. I may not be able to go with you, but I intend to know exactly what your plans are."
"Fair enough," Lois said, and with that she stood on her toes and kissed him on the cheek.
At the Planet office Perry was eagerly awaiting a progress report from his favorite reporters. Jimmy Olsen was just as eagerly awaiting his chance to show Perry his newest pictures.
"Jimmy, unless those pictures are in better focus than last time don't even bother coming in here. Those photos of Prince Charles' visit to the Metropolis Polo Club were so fuzzy I thought that Elvis was alive and back to wearing all white."
"These came out much better, Chief. I took them of the LexCorp Chemical Plant after the fire. They wouldn't let me inside, but even from the outside the damage is pretty obvious. I know Lois and Clark are doing a story on the fire and I thought these could go along with it."
Perry took the pictures and flipped through them.
"These aren't too bad, Olsen. I'll think about it."
"Thanks, Chief," Jimmy said as his face widened into a smile. "Thanks a lot."
He quickly left the office before he could do anything to annoy his boss, and Perry smiled and shook his head. "That kid's gonna be all right," he said to himself.
Just then there was a knock at his door and he looked up to see Lois and Clark. He waved them in. "Just the people I was looking for. Any news?"
"Well Perry, I definitely think that there's a story here. We just need another day or so to flesh it out," Lois said.
"Flesh it out? What exactly do you have?"
"The plant manager didn't know anything, but he let us inside and we found this, "Clark said as he held up the disk. "We don't know if it's still readable, but we thought we'd take the chance."
"We also found out that there are traces of Kryptonite at the lab," Lois said.
"How did you find that out? Did Superman go with you?"
"No, but he flew by Clark's apartment last night when we were working and said that he sensed its presence when he was putting out the fire," Lois explained confidently.
"Well, in that case, I want the two of you to be extra careful. You can't count on Superman swooping down to rescue you if you get into trouble," Perry said.
"Don't worry, Chief, we're being very cautious," Clark said.
Perry looked into Clark's eyes and saw an unfamiliar hardness there. He knew in an instant that Clark would do anything in his power to keep Lois from danger. Then he looked at Lois and saw the same glint in her eye. She truly loved Clark. Perry reassured himself that between the two of them they'd manage to keep each other out of trouble.
"All right then, let me know what you come up with," Perry said.
"Will do, Chief," Clark said as he stood up.
Both he and Lois left Perry's office and headed for Clark's desk. Clark sat down and held the disk out.
"Ready?" he asked.
"Let's see what we can find," Lois answered.
Clark pushed the disk into his computer and quit back to DOS. He hoped that the disk was IBM but figured that if it had been used by a bunch of scientists it probably was. Still, he was relieved when a list of filenames appeared after his request for a directory. The more they could find out from the disk, the less chance there was that Lois would insist on going back to the chemical plant.
"What are all these filenames do you think?" Lois asked.
"I guess we'll have to try them all to find out," Clark answered.
One frustrating hour later the two reporters had little more than they had started out with. The disk had evidently been damaged in the fire and the files were mainly in pieces. In any event, they were all highly technical and didn't allude to Lex Luthor.
"Well this has been a dead-end," Lois said with irritation.
"We've still got a few more files, Lois."
"Well you let me know if one of them contains Lex's name in bold type," Lois said, "I'm getting some more coffee."
Clark typed in the next filename and was rewarded with a request for a password. He quickly typed in some possibilities and had cracked into the file by the time Lois returned.
"What's this?" she asked.
"It looks like a kind of diary…of Superman! It lists all my appearances for the past month and a half."
Lois paged through it. Parts of it were scrambled because of the damage, but the majority of it was clear.
"They've been monitoring you," she said in a hushed voice.
"Looks like it. At the end is the Metropolis Aqueduct."
"But you haven't been there," Lois said. "They must be planning something to lure you out there."
"There's something else," Clark said.
He paged back to the beginning of the document. There at the top of the page was a header, Lex Luthor Enterprises'.
"You wanted it in bold type. I don't think you'll get much better than this."
Lois quickly covered her mouth and contained a gasp. She had known that Luthor had to be behind everything, but seeing his name there made everything so horribly real. Clark turned to her and reached out his hand to steady her.
"Lois," he said as he stood, "here, sit down."
She allowed herself to fall into the chair.
"Can I get you anything?" Clark asked. He felt suddenly helpless.
"No, Clark," she smiled weakly. "I'm sorry, I'm fine. I guess I was still hoping that he wouldn't be involved."
"Lois, the fact that he's involved only means that we'll be able to put him back behind bars where he belongs," Clark said with assurance.
"You're right Clark. It also means that I *have* to get back into that plant before Luthor's goons do. He wants to hurt you, Clark, and I'm not going to let that happen."
"All right, Lois. I know there's no way for me to stop you."
"Good, I'm glad we're in agreement."
By the time Lois had gathered all of the things that she thought she would need, and all the things that Clark insisted that she take, it was nearly dark.
"Lois," Clark said as she pulled her jeep to a stop outside the chemical plant gates, "I still think that I should just go to the Aqueduct, maybe catch Luthor there."
"Oh, right. What happens if he is there? Do you think he'd show up without Kryptonite?"
"Well then we could send the police."
"We still don't even have any hard evidence."
"Then what do you call the computer disk?"
"Oh that," Lois said in exasperation. "That's not good enough."
Clark rolled his eyes.
"Don't roll your eyes at me, Clark. You think I don't know when you do it, but I do. Look, you're right, there are other things we could do at this point, but none of the others involve retrieving the Kryptonite before it can be used against you, and at this point that's all I care about."
"Just be careful."
"I will. Anyway, I'll be in constant contact," Lois said as she patted the two-way radio clipped to her belt. "Now you just have to get me inside."
The two of them got out of the jeep and Clark quickly spun into costume. He held out his arms to Lois and she wrapped her arms around his neck. Once over the fence, Clark flew to the back of the south wing. He intended to break a Lois-sized hole in the wall and seal it when she returned.
"Where do you think I should go in?" Lois asked as she scanned the blank concrete wall. The fire had worked its way up, towards the more flammable roof and left the walls nearly untouched. Clark gazed through the wall with his x-ray vision and soon saw that he wouldn't have to be breaking through any walls after all.
"There's a tunnel entrance, Lois," he said.
"What? Where?" she demanded.
"I can see where it comes up inside the lab. I'll follow it out."
Lois watched as Clark walked farther and farther away from the building.
"This tunnel must go on for a very long way," he finally said.
"That must be why Mr. Perkins never suspected anything. He never saw anything," Lois said. "But how am I going to get in?"
"I'll handle that," Clark said and in a moment he had spun down through the earth and into the tunnel. "Jump, Lois, I'll catch you," he called up.
Lois looked into the pitch black hole, held her breath and then jumped. She landed softly in Clark's arms and he set her on her feet and retrieved the flashlight from her backpack.
"The entrance should be about twenty feet forward and straight up," he said.
"OK. You know the rules. I'll keep my radio on the whole time and I'll tell you what I find, but if I find Kryptonite you have to promise me that you'll fly far far away from here so that I'll have time to get it out and put it somewhere safe," Lois said in her best I'm-in-charge voice.
"All right then, get outta here."
Clark turned to leave, but then he felt Lois pull on his arm and when he turned back around she flung her arms around him and hugged him as hard as she could.
"Love you," she whispered.
"Love you too," he said as he kissed the top of her head.
She released him and in a blur of blue and red he was gone.
Lois turned and shone her flashlight up ahead of her. She was feeling slightly more timid without her best friend around, but no less determined. It only took her a minute to find the secret entrance. She climbed the ladder leading to it and then pushed away the panel which was actually one of the floor tiles in the lab.
"I'm inside, "she said into her radio.
"OK, let me know what you find."
She realized that she was in a different lab and went down the hall to the one in which Clark had begun to feel sick.
"It doesn't look like anyone's been here since we were," Lois said, looking at the ash strewn floor for stray footprints.
She walked over to the corner and began tapping on the floor and wall. She took out her pocketknife and pried up the floor tile. Inside, the small hole was drenched with the sickly green glow of Kryptonite. It was an enormous rock and Lois thought that it weighed at least ten pounds.
"Clark, I have it here in my hands. It's huge! I don't know where Luthor got it, I thought that there were only a few small pieces in existence."
"OK, Lois, now hurry up and get out of there. I've lowered a ladder into the hole."
"A ladder?" she was about to ask where he had gotten a ladder from, but then she heard voices.
"Mr. Luthor, the rock should be right in here." came a whiny voice.
"Well it had better be, doctor. Thanks to your ineptitude all records of the experiments were burned. We need that rock to duplicate the procedure and make more," Luthor said.
"Mr. Luthor, don't you think we've made enough? That rock could kill ten Supermen."
"I don't care! I want more. I want to be sure."
Lois had all that she could do to remain motionless. She knew that Clark was hearing everything and that he must be going crazy with worry. She had to think. Luthor was in the lab! She had to do something! What she did was suddenly spring up from the corner and swing her backpack around to slam into Luthor's head. She then kicked him viciously and punched the doctor in the stomach before running out amid curses. She had removed the panel and was starting down the ladder when Luthor finally caught up to her and grabbed her by the arm.
"Lois, Lois, Lois, where do you think you're going to?"
"Get your damn hands off!" she screamed as she jerked her arm.
Luthor was in the better position, however, and he quickly grabbed her other arm and hauled her back up the ladder.
"And what have we here," he taunted her as he took the rock out of her backpack. "No, no, dear, I think I'll be keeping this."
Lois couldn't even feel fear, all she could feel was hatred. She wanted to kill him.
"You're only fooling yourself, Lex. Superman isn't going to fall for any of your pathetic tricks." Lois managed to sneer.
Lex kept his cool composure.
"Oh, I think he'll show up to try saving you. Or have you two had a lover's quarrel?" he replied. "And while we wait, why don't the two of us go through with that honeymoon we never got to go on?" he stroked one hand along Lois' cheek and she flinched.
"Of course I'd planned on something a little grander, but you've always been a rather direct person anyway. Doctor, you may leave us now."
As the doctor left the room Lois felt her hands begin to shake involuntarily. She prayed that Clark wasn't listening. She couldn't bear it if he heard. She even began to wish that Lex would just kill her. The thought of dying was a horrible one, but to be raped first, and to die knowing that Clark would be the one to ultimately find her…it was too much for her to even comprehend. She struggled as Lex pulled her into his tight embrace and then she heard the doctor's shouts and a moment later Clark sped into the lab.
"No!" Lois screamed. "Get out of here! You promised!" she cried.
"Let her go, Luthor!" Clark demanded.
"Or what?" Luthor replied as he held out the Kryptonite.
Lois writhed in Luthor's arms and elbowed him in the stomach. Luthor backhanded her and sent her reeling to the floor as he advanced on Superman.
Clark's rage increased. If it took his last ounce of energy he would stop Luthor. As Luthor came closer he anticipated the onset of Kryptonite poisoning, but there was nothing. He picked the shocked Luthor up over his head and was about to hurl him head first through the wall when he heard Lois' voice.
"No! He's not worth it," she cried.
Clark stopped, almost scared by what he had been about to do. He put Luthor down and tied him to a chair using a piece of metal debris.
"The Kryptonite," Luthor babbled, "you should be dead."
Lois was almost as surprised as Luthor. She picked up the rock and stared at it. She couldn't understand it. Clark, too, looked at the rock.
"It looks as though your experiment was a failure," he said.
"Experiment?" Lois questioned. "Yes. This rock is synthetic Kryptonite, however the molecular structure was too fragile. It is no longer true Kryptonite, it's just worthless glass."
Luthor began shouting obscenities and threats, but Clark simply picked Lois up and flew out of the lab. He didn't put her down until they were out of LexCorp plant grounds and beside her jeep once again. He quickly changed clothes and held the door for her as she climbed into the driver's seat.
"Clark, I think that we should probably stick around and wait for the police," Lois said.
"Why, Lois, I'm almost surprised to hear you say that! Following the rules isn't usually your style."
"Yes, well, neither is Lex, and I'll just be happier when I see him taken away in handcuffs."
"OK," Clark agreed. "I thought we could call them from your place, but if you'd rather, we can just use the cellular and wait here for them."
Lois nodded and Clark picked up the phone from the glove compartment. It was several hours before they managed to explain everything to Inspector Henderson and the other members of the Metropolis police force. It was a tale made more complicated by having to edit in Superman's entrances and exits, however they managed to assure everyone that the Kryptonite' really was harmless and that Superman had flown off quite healthy.
By the time they arrived at Lois apartment they were both exhausted.
"I think it's a little late for a movie," Lois said, "even "Lethal Weapon"."
"I think you're right, Lois."
Clark leaned over to give Lois a goodnight kiss, but she pulled him into the apartment.
"Of course I wouldn't have minded if you'd accidentally fallen asleep on the couch."
"Oh you wouldn't have, eh?" Clark said with a glint in his eye.
"Please stay, Clark. It felt so right last night, but I was so worried I couldn't even enjoy it."
"Lois, you know that I'll do anything to make you happy," Clark said.
This time when he leaned to kiss her she didn't stop him and he picked her up effortlessly and took her into the bedroom. Lois slept peacefully that night, snuggled next to Clark with his arm around her shoulders. When she woke the next morning she could almost believe that nothing could possibly hurt the two of them, but then she remembered Lex and rushed into the shower, eager to get to work and write the story that she hoped would help seal his fate.
"You've got a lot of energy this morning," Clark commented as she sped past him and into her closet in search of an outfit that would inspire her.
"Well, Lex trying to kill you — Superman, isn't exactly a story that you get handed every day," she said.
"Lucky thing!" Clark joked.
"I'll say," Lois agreed as she emerged from the closet, suit in hand, but her expression was anything but jovial.
"Lois, what's the matter?" Clark asked.
"I don't know! I can't explain it myself, but I just feel, oh, uncomfortable I guess."
"Uncomfortable?" Clark was confused.
"I guess uncomfortable isn't the right word," Lois said as she sat down on the bed. "It's just that I don't want anything to happen to you — Clark, but even if it isn't Lex, it does seem as though someone's always trying to kill you — Superman. It makes me so worried sometimes and there's no one that I can really talk to about it. Nobody knows that if I lost Clark or Superman I'd really be losing both. Usually I don't think about it myself, I just believe that you're invulnerable, but something like this makes me realize that you're not, and that I really could lose you."
Lois had been talking so quickly that even Clark had a hard time keeping up with her, but now that she had stopped he sat down next to her and pulled her head onto his shoulder.
"Lois, I know it must be really hard for you, keeping my secret and all, worrying that every two-bit crackpot is going to try to see if they can beat the great Superman. It's not right that you have even a second's extra worry because of me. But Lois, you know what I've learned over the years?"
"That it's pointless to wonder what's going to happen down the road. I don't know if I'll ever die, Lois, but I know that someday you will, and so will my parents and all the other people close to me. That's why it's so important to just appreciate what we have, right here and now, and try to make sure that we make our future as happy as we possibly can. We don't know what life has to offer us, but we can try to make sure that we receive it together."
Clark fell silent and Lois looked up into his deep brown eyes.
"You've thought about it a lot, haven't you?" she asked.
"Well, I suppose I have. When I first started getting my powers and realized the potential, it scared me, just the thought of outliving everyone. Immortality can be pretty lonely. Once I started concentrating on the present everything seemed much more manageable. I may not know what's going to happen tomorrow, but I know what I have today, and I know how happy I am."
"I'm happy too."
Clark looked down at her and brushed her hair back from her face.
"I'm glad, and you know what? Tonight I'm taking you home for dinner. I think it's time you started spending more time with my parents. You can talk to them about everything and I'm sure that will make you feel better or at least not so isolated."
"I think you're right Clark, but somehow I don't feel so bad anymore. Even if I couldn't talk to anyone, it wouldn't matter because I'd still have you, and I'd be the luckiest woman on the planet."