Summary: Lois and Superman learn the meaning of sexual tension when they are trapped in a collapsed mine shaft with Jimmy Olsen and injured miners. Superman has to slowly chisel away at the walls, while bracing the ceiling, in order to prevent a complete collapse. Meanwhile, Perry wonders why Clark Kent, Lois' fiance, has been missing for days.
I'm dedicating this story to my pal Vixen who unintentionally reminded me that there is such a thing as GOOD sexual tension.
It was the third day after the cave-in at the Ordway mine. Lois, Clark, Jimmy and forty or so miners were trapped hundreds of feet below daylight. Lois and Jimmy had been sent to cover the official opening of tunnel number twelve. Normally such a mundane story would not have interested Lois Lane, however the fact that the tunnel was to be named Superman and the fact that Superman himself would be there to dedicate the opening of this tunnel was more than enough to compensate Lois for her time. Lois was not really interested in Superman per se, though a year ago she would have been. She was interested in the man who wore the costume, her fiance, Clark Kent.
Clark had been as super as his reputation. He kept the cave-in from becoming more of a disaster than it already was. Thanks to his efforts no one was killed and only a half dozen of the miners were seriously injured. He had been working the past three days on digging an escape tunnel. He had to work slowly lest he cause the rest of the tunnel to collapse, and every step of the way his makeshift escape tunnel had to be braced. It was painstaking and frustrating, but the miners were thankful for his efforts.
Clark sat on the cave floor next to Lois. He had to wait for the miners to brace his most recent section of tunnel. He had offered to put the bracing in too, but the miners preferred having something to do to keep their minds off of their predicament, and so Clark would periodically leave them to their task. "I see Jimmy's finally getting some sleep."
"Yes," Lois smiled. "He's been pretty tough. I'm proud of him." She picked up a basket and a thermos. "Would you like a sandwich, or something to drink, Superman?"
"No thank you, Lois." Clark said, and then dropped his voice to a whisper. "If you only knew how much I want to hold you right now."
Lois smiled. "Well, if you don't want anything to eat, then at least let me fix the loose end of your cape. I swear I'll go crazy without anything to do."
Clark felt a little confused. "Okay, Lois…thank you."
Lois rose up onto her knees. She placed her arms around Clark's neck and pretended to adjust the spot where his cape tucked into his neck piece. She glanced quickly around the tunnel. The miners working on the bracing were paying no attention, and the injured miners and Jimmy Olsen were asleep. She brushed her lips across his ear, "I love you, Clark."
This seemed to be too much for Clark. He took Lois' hand and helped her to her feet. "Come on," he whispered and then walked with her to a small alcove in the tunnel. The alcove was completely black. The miners had the lights concentrated on the escape tunnel, so there wasn't even ambient light to illuminate the alcove. Once the couple had completely blended into the darkness, Clark wrapped himself around Lois. He could not have kept his hands still even if he'd been shackled in Kryptonite. After a brief clumsy attempt, his mouth found hers. He closed his eyes. Though Lois tasted of soot, coffee and stale sandwiches, Clark found that he could not get enough of the taste.
"Superman?" A voice called in the distance.
"Not now," Clark moaned.
"Shhh," Lois whispered. "You'd better go out first. It wouldn't look too good if we both came out together."
"All right," he whispered, gave her another quick kiss and exited the alcove.
Lois waited a few moments and then left the alcove and walked into the small privy which had escaped the cave-in's assault. She lighted a small candle on the sink and then turned red with embarrassment. It looked as if she were wearing a pink and black print blouse. Pink was the color of the blouse, but the black was comprised of Superman sized hand prints. "Oh, God!" She said and reached for a towel, but found none. There was no water either, but then using water would have succeeded only in turning her blouse grey, and given her bonus points for a wet t-shirt contest.
As Clark continued to tunnel, his hearing picked up a strange, rhythmic sound. He stopped digging. "Something wrong, Superman?"
"I'm picking up a sound from somewhere."
"Could somebody from the outside be headed this way?"
"I'm checking," Clark said as he swept a wide swatch of the tunnel with his x-ray vision. He soon settled on the source of the noise. Lois had removed her blouse and was repeatedly slapping the garment against her thigh in an effort to remove the telltale hand prints.
"Is it good news, Superman?"
Clark smiled absently. "Yes."
Another miner grabbed his arm. "Rescuers?"
Clark blinked. "Uh, no, sorry."
"But you said it was good news."
"Here's the good news," Clark said and began to head back to the end of the escape tunnel. He gave the wall one last punch and daylight began to filter through. The men's cheers echoed all the way to the far wall, and bounced back to the escape tunnel. Clark cleared an exit large enough for the men and wide enough to accommodate stretchers for the injured.
Jimmy, awakened by the uproar, was snapping photos of the finishing touches on the exit. "We're talking front page, Superman," Jimmy beamed. Clark patted Jimmy's back. "I don't doubt it," he said, and walked back to the injured men and began placing them on makeshift stretchers which had been constructed of tarps and bracing material. He signaled several miners to man the stretchers. As they began shuttling their comrades to the exit, Lois emerged from the privy. "Thank, God," she sighed. "Good work, Cl..Superman."
"I'm just glad I was here, Lois." He looked at her longingly. "I'll have to fly ahead of the miners and find a rescue team that can meet them half way."
He winked, and vanished from the tunnel.
Clark was relieved to discover that he hadn't far to fly to find help. A huge crowd of family, onlookers, rescuers and reporters had massed at the entrance to Ordway mine. The cheering from the crowd upon spotting Superman was more than a match for the cheering that had issued from the tunnel just moments ago. Clark knew better than to land. He would have been mobbed. He floated a few feet above the crowd as cameras flashed and mini-cams rolled. Several reporters surged forward. "Did everyone survive, Superman?"
"Thankfully, yes, but there are six injured men who need immediate attention."
"How far, Superman?"
"Just a few hundred yards around the Eastern slope."
Rescue teams began hurrying in the indicated direction and were followed closely by the reporters. Clark spotted Perry White and felt it was now safe to land. "Are you all right, Mr. White?"
"I won't lie, Superman. I've been better. This has been the longest three days of my life."
"Don't worry, Lois and Jimmy are fine."
"I somehow knew they would be, I mean with you there to protect them, but—" Perry loosened his tie. "Clark Kent never arrived at Charterville, and nobody's seen him."
Clark swallowed nervously. He'd forgotten that he had been assigned to cover Charterville's bicentennial celebration. He had planned to make his little dedication as Superman at the mine and then head out to Charterville as Clark, but…things happened. "I'll look for him, Mr. White. I believe Lois told me that Clark had to rent a car for the trip so that Lois would not be without transportation while he was gone." Clark drifted back up into the sky. "I'm sure it's probably nothing more than car trouble, Mr. White."
"Lord, I hope that's all it is."
Not five minutes after Superman had departed, Perry felt a tap on his shoulder. "Are they really safe, Perry?"
Perry started. "Kent? Clark!" He laughed, and embraced the young reporter. "They're really safe," he said, and held Clark out at arms length. "Well, son, by the looks of you, I'd say Superman was right."
"He said you probably had car trouble, and by the amount of grease and oil you're wearing," he laughed, "I imagine the car is all but empty."
"I guess so, Perry," he said weakly. At that moment, the rescuers and the miners rounded the corner of the slope. Perry saw Clark's eyes light up as he spotted Lois. He smiled at the young reporter, and moved out of the way. The couple ran to each other and hugged. Jimmy trotted toward Perry. He seemed to be a ball of energy constrained only by blue jeans and flannel. "I got some great shots, chief!"
"That's fine, Jimmy," Perry said absently. "We'll make a photo journalist out of you yet."
"Yet!" The young man protested. "But I have—" Jimmy cut himself off as he noticed the chief's attention riveted elsewhere. Jimmy looked in the direction of Perry's fascination, and swallowed hard. "Great shades of Elvis," he whispered.
Perry shook his head. "I know those two are in love, and engaged, but holy Hannah!"
Jimmy, still mesmerized, nodded. "They say it's the mild mannered guys that turn into tigers."
"Come on, Jimmy," Perry sighed, and dropped a heavy arm on the young man's shoulders. "Let's get back to the Planet. I'm startin' to feel like I'm peeking through a keyhole at a motel that rents by the hour."
Lois and Clark came up for air as Jimmy and Perry departed. Lois snuggled against Clark's shoulder. "If I had to keep my hands off you for one more hour—"
"I know," he said breathlessly. "Come on!" He took her hand and ran with her to the now vacated Eastern slope. Once out of sight of the others, Clark changed into Superman, and took Lois in her arms, and darted up into the sky.
The couple landed quietly under the cover of darkness outside the door of Clark's apartment. He maneuvered Lois up against the door, pressing himself against her. A swift breeze made his cape flutter. The sudden flash of red seemed to intensify the hunger in his eyes. "Would you like to know what I'm going to do the minute I get you through that door?"
Before Lois could answer, the door in question opened, nearly dropping Lois and Clark on the floor. Clark, regaining his balance, looked up. "Mom? Dad?"
"Hi, honey!" His mother beamed. "We were so worried about the cave-in." She embraced Clark, and then Lois. She looked at Lois and shook her head. "It must have been awful."
Lois cast a longing glance at Clark, and then smiled at Martha. "I knew I'd be all right with Clark there. For now," she shrugged, "I'd better go home and get a shower."
"I could use a shower too." Clark sighed. The phone rang, and his father answered. "It's Perry White, son."
"When it rains it pours," Clark said softly, but Martha did overhear her son. She sized up the situation rather quickly, and whispered to Jonathan while Clark spoke to Perry. The moment Clark hung up the phone, Martha smiled. "Honey, now that your dad and I know you two are all right, we wanted to go out to dinner, and do some shopping. We'll probably be gone for hours." She raised her eyebrows at Jonathan.
"Hmm?" he asked, a bit slow on the uptake, and then smiled. "Yeah, that's right, son. You know how your mom is. A tote bag and credit card is like a license to kill."
"Well, I think you might like dinner at the ball tonight better." Clark said, without the slightest hint of a smile or joy.
"What ball, Clark?" Lois asked.
"The one the mine is holding in Superman's honor. It seems he's expected to put in an appearance." Clark rubbed the back of his neck. "They want to thank him, and this impromptu soiree starts in less than an hour."
Lois rushed over and gave Clark a soft kiss on the cheek. "I'll hurry home and get showered and dressed, and explain that Clark was too exhausted from his 'ordeal' to make the party."
Clark nodded, but looked miserable. "Thanks. I'll shower and put on a fresh costume." He kissed her tenderly, and then sighed softly as she ran out the door.
The ball seemed to go on for hours. Clark had to pose endlessly with the miners, their families, and even with a three- legged dog who was sort of a mascot to the miners. Lois had curled up on a large chair, and was sleeping quietly. Clark, feeling rather exhausted himself, and therefore not as careful, floated a bit off the floor while gazing at her. It seemed to Clark that her strapless evening gown defied gravity, and the clingy material hugged every curve of her body. As a rye grin began to spread across his face, his father noticed.
Jonathan tugged on his son's cape. "Clark."
"Yes, Dad?" Clark said airily.
"Huh?" Clark asked, but then noticed, and quickly landed back on the floor. Clark set his jaw. "Enough is enough!"
Clark stepped up to a microphone that had been used earlier for an endless round of speeches. "Ladies and gentlemen! I want to thank all of you for the great honor you bestowed upon me tonight. I'm just glad I was there, and able to help. I have to leave now, but I won't ever forget this night…believe me!"
A man dressed in khaki stepped into the diner adjoining the ugly pink stucco desert motel. The woman behind the counter looked up at him expectantly. "Well?"
"You got, me." The man shook his head and dropped a small fold of bills on the counter. "I took the club sandwiches and pitcher of tea to their room. I knocked on the door, and heard the woman giggle, and then the man sounded kind of grumpy, and asked what I wanted, so I told him I was bringin' their order."
The woman looked dreamily, "Lord, that boy was handsome!"
The man smiled, "I didn't really notice him…now that woman in the slinky black dress—"
"Never mind that." She scolded playfully, and took a swipe at him with the counter rag. "Did you get another look at them? I mean no car brought 'em here, and they hardly seem like the hitchhiker type."
"Nope. He told me to leave the tray outside the door, and then he shot the money out from under." The man thought a moment, and pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket. "And this came through with the money."
The woman frowned, "What is all this supposed to mean."
"Well," the man sighed. "I can read English, and a little Spanish, so I reckon as how the other phrases say the same thing, only in a different languages."
The woman whistled, "Good lord! There must be over three hundred of them!"
"So," she shrugged, handing the paper back. "What do they say?"
The man winked. "Do not disturb."