The Worst Kept Secret

By Renee Charles


Summary: After Lex Luthor has taken over the Daily Planet building and immobilized Perry, Jimmy, Lois and Clark with kryptonite chains, Clark decides it's time to come clean with Lois.

Author's note: This was a quickie, meant to take place before ATAI, of course.


It started out with what you could call an ordinary day in the life of Clark Kent. He had gotten to work on time, had his coffee, chatted with his girlfriend/partner, and gotten down to business. But somehow, in the midst of all these ordinary occurrences, he failed to see a small problem.

"Lois," he called to Lois Lane, the very same partner/girlfriend he had chatted to earlier, "Slow news day, how about going to check on what Bobby has found lately?"

Lois was only too happy to get up and away from her blank computer screen. She would never admit it, but even she, star reporter for the Daily Planet, was bored. She hopped up, grabbing both hers and Clark's jackets and heading for the elevator.

Clark had to hurry to catch up to her, and editor, Perry White, just shook his head. Kent had really gotten a handful falling in love with Lois, but he could tell she loved him back, and that must make it all the more rewarding. He chuckled, smiling. Perry still had this bad feeling about their reporting skills going down, but an overall feeling of pride seeing his two best reporters together romantically and happy.

Once in the elevator, Lois smiled. "Was this whole Bobby deal a clever plot to get me alone with you?"

Clark flashed his lopsided grin at Lois and chuckled. "What if it was?"

Lois fidgeted, and in a little girl voice, still smiling, said "I dunno, was it?"

Clark grinned. "You tell me."

They continued on like this until they got to the lobby, where Lois took Clark's hand, smiling bashfully up at him.

"Maybe not directly, but we are alone." Clark opened the door for her, and they got into his jeep, making small talk, where again both people neglected what they should have seen.

Before either one of them could even leave the car, a strange thing occurred, and Bobby was there without food. His face was pale, his eyes wide and frightened.

"Lois, Clark, there was a jail break."

Clark gasped. "Jail break? How and who?"

Bobby just shook his head. "Tear gas, and," he said, shooting a wary look at Lois, "Lex Luthor."

Lois' mouth dropped and she looked at Clark. "Just peachy, the last time he was free he decided to tell me I was still his and threaten to kill Superman!"

Clark blanched at the mention of his alter ego, but he shrugged it off. "Where was he headed?"

Bobby shook his head and shrugged. "Nobody knows, he left an cryptic note saying

'Those who I have served will now serve me. The ones who double-crossed me will be double-crossed.'

Really strange, but if I were you, Lois, I'd keep an eye out."

Lois crossed her arms. "I can take care of myself," she said, darkly, to which Clark looked at her warily.

"You can always stay with me," he said, half protectively, half hopefully.

Lois giggled like a young girl, "Why, Clark! I didn't know—" she cut off, seeing Bobby, and she blushed. "One word Bobby, and I'll personally hunt you down."

Bobby held his hands up on mock surrender and hopped out of the car.


Lois and Clark headed for the Daily Planet, once again neglecting an important fact. Nobody was walking in or out of the building.

The Planet was unusually quiet as Lois and Clark stepped off the elevator, hand in hand, oblivious to the fact that rumors fly in big news rooms. They sat at their desks, both giving a puzzled look to each other, shrugging. Clark looked into Perry's office, seeing Perry, although he looked uncomfortable, nothing seemed wrong.

Fifteen minutes later, the condition of the newsroom had not changed. Every reporter, every photographer, even the copy boy was sitting at a desk.

"What's going on?," Clark asked, directing his question to the entire newsroom.

"Wouldn't you like to know," a voice said. A sinister voice. A familiar voice.

"Lex?!?," said Lois startled.

"Yes, my love, it is I. Not only am I here, you're under my control. You want to know why nobody's moving? Because if they get up, I set off another bomb under Perry's chair!" He cackled. "Nobody worry. Perry is about to get out of his office." Lex stood. "Mr. Kent, Mr. White, whoever you are," he said, pointing to Jimmy, "and Lois. Come here," he directed. The four rose and met in the middle of the floor at the newsroom.

"The rest of you people, basement. And if you dare disobey me, there is a gas bomb that WILL go off with a flick of this switch.

My men are waiting in the elevator shaft and the stairwells to guide you."

Slowly, the other staff members at the Planet rose and headed toward the elevator or stairs in a manner that resembled a death march.

"Now, for you. I have special treatment," Lex said, eyes wide and pupils dilated. It was clear he was not operating with a full deck. He cackled wickedly, pulling out a long chain which appeared to have spaces for necks every so often. Worse yet, it glowed an odd shade of neon green.

Clark took a step back. Immediately, he could feel the effects. He started sweating.

"This is so Superman can't save you!," Lex cried gleefully. "You all double-crossed me, writing horrid articles about my fall. Most of all, Lois, you cheated on my memory with - with - a country hack!"

"There was no memory, you were a ruthless crook. I wasn't in love with you to begin with," Lois spat, cringing when he cuffed the chain around her neck.

One by one he chained Perry, Jimmy, Lois, and finally Clark.

Clark reached out for Lois's hand. He swallowed, the kryptonite chain links were beginning to severely weaken him.

"Scared so easily, Mr. Kent?" Lex gloated triumphantly, "You were right about ruthless, Lois, I wouldn't be scared in his predicament."

"Never, Luthor!," Clark whispered, groaning. Lois looked at him worriedly. He looked like somebody with an awful case of appendicitis, hunched over, breathing shallow.

"Clark," she whispered, "are you all right? Are you sick?"

The look that he gave her stopped her cold.

"Lois," he began, "I have the worst timing ever, but I have to tell you something."

She stared at him, the word 'timing' ringing in her ears. All those times he ran away, all those times he left her. He had called it bad timing. Timing for what?

"I haven't been honest with you," he whispered, in great pain. "There were reasons for me running off all the time."

Lois nodded. "I knew there must be, you would leave, I would be upset, but then for awhile, Superman would show up.." Lois stared at him again. Superman would show up? When Clark left her Superman would show up..

"But I didn't want Superman, Clark, I wanted you. I wanted somebody real, three dimensional. A whole person. So I turned to Dan, too."

A look of greater pain, emotional pain, crossed Clark's face. "I know, baby, I know."

Lois smiled shyly at his calling her 'baby'. "But Clark, I picked you and yet you still weren't honest with me."

Clark lowered his head. "I know. And I must tell you now before I get truly sick." He coughed weakly, and Lois narrowed her eyes.

She hadn't really ever seen Superman and Clark together, had she? A better question, why isn't Superman at least nearby? Why is Clark, who is as healthy as a horse, suddenly sick with those kryptonite chains? A light went off in her head. "This is the worst kept secret, Clark, the kind that truly hurts. All those excuses, all that running off. You knew I loved you, you knew I wouldn't run. Why didn't you tell me ? Did you not trust me enough?"

"No," Clark said weakly, but not weak enough not to look her in the eye with his deep brown eyes. "I didn't know you loved me for me, I thought you loved my creation. So I kept it quiet, so I could have you as him when I didn't stand a chance as me. I loved you that much, I still love you."

"You took advantage of my disillusion, Clark. If you would have told me—"

"You would have gotten closer to me just because I am—"

"That might have been true then, but not now. Because," Lois started, *say it girl*, "I love you, Clark."

They stared at each other for an unknown amount of time, even the kryptonite didn't affect Clark totally.

A cruel voice broke into the couple's moment. "Ain't that sweet," Lex crooned sarcastically, "Lovebirds at their time of death."

Clark flashed him a look that could kill, but in truth, he was growing weaker.

Lois sensed that, and when Lex turned, she knew she had to act NOW to get him out of that chain. She yanked a bobby pin out of her hair and began working frantically at the lock, and it gave after what seemed like an eternity. A loud pop filled the room.

Lex spun around, and Lois covered the lock. "Lex, you were right," Lois said quickly, "I did love you, and if you ever had, or even have, feelings for me, please. Let us go."

A gasp came from Jimmy, but he covered it up with a yawn.

"Never, too many times I've dreamt of this moment, too many times—"

Clark cut him off by stepping out of the lock. "Too many times plotting, going insane," he said seriously, and picked him up by the shirt lapels. He almost couldn't because of the kryptonite poisoning, but he held him well.

"I will press this button and blow up the building from the basement," Lex said calmly, reaching for his control pad.

But Clark was too quick, and he grabbed the remote before Lex.

Perry and Jimmy and Lois stood as one and called the police.


Minutes later, they arrived and took Lex. Lois fell back into Clark's arms.

"What were you two talking about over there?," Jimmy asked, when the commotion had finally died down.

Lois flashed Clark a secret smile. "Oh, nothing, Jimmy, just planning."

"Planning, huh, CK." Jimmy said, sarcastically. "I bet you were telling Lois you love her."

Clark looked at him with wide eyes. "How did you know?"

Perry chuckled from behind him. "I didn't become Chief of a major metropolitan newspaper because I can yodel!"