Send in the Clones

By T Ackerman ( ("Tee" on IRC)

Summary: While interviewing Lou Thore, a man whose startup computer company rocketed him to riches, Lois is struck with a sense of deja vu.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fanfic was inspired by a dream I had. I can't really remember the dream too well, but I know that it was awesome. The dream was only a springboard for my story. In fact, after writing it, I realized there were almost no similarities at all between the two. Enjoy, and feel free to send any tactful criticism you might have :)


"Morning, Lois," Clark mumbled through a kiss to Lois's cheek.

"Morning," Lois mumbled back. Then she turned over and buried her head back in the pillows.

Clark smiled mischievously. "Looooiiis," he sang as he gently ran the tip of his index finger back and forth over her bare shoulder. He started slowly pulling the covers off of her.

"Nooooo," moaned Lois pulling the covers back on and snuggling even tighter into a ball. "I'll get up when the alarm clock rings."

"Lois, the alarm clock *did* ring. Several times. Don't you remember? You've already hit the snooze button twice." When this failed to get Lois up, Clark took the corner of the blanket in his hand and cringed. "Lois, believe me, I hate to do this to you, but…"

Lois shrieked as the covers were pulled off of her. It pained Clark to inflict any suffering upon his beautiful wife, but it certainly did the job. Lois was fully awake. Furious, but fully awake.

"Clark Jerome Kent, that was *not* nice," declared Lois indignantly.

"Who ever said I was nice?" Clark teased playfully.

"Just about everyone. I'm married to the nicest man in the world. What other guy would fly to all ends of the world at any cry of distress?"

"What other guy *can* fly to all ends of the world?" Clark pointed out.

"Well, okay, you have a point there, but you're still the nicest man in the world. And you're all mine." Lois traced an imaginary S on Clark's bare chest and planted tiny kisses on it.

"I take it I'm forgiven?" Clark smiled.

"Hmmm-hmmmm. For now. It might not be so easy next time."

Clark shut his eyes and enjoyed Lois's kisses. "Well, if this is my punishment, I'll have to wake you up more often."

It was just a typical morning in the marriage of Clark and Lois Kent.


Lois and Clark walked into the newsroom together and made their way to their desks.

"Hey, guys," greeted Jimmy. "Great story you two did. Even though you're married, you still make a great reporting team. Thank goodness for that. Perry would be totally stressed out if he lost Lane and Kent." Lane was still Lois's professional name, and Lane and Kent was still the name that showed up as the by-line. Everyone agreed that even though Lois decided to take Clark's last name, it was the name "Lane" that helped define Lois's journalistic career. It wasn't something that could just be dropped. Besides, "Lane-Kent and Kent" sounded too much like the name of a stuffy old law firm.

Lois laughed at the thought of a stressed out Perry, which wasn't really a funny thing if you were the object upon which he poured out his stress. Then she noticed something on her desk.

"What's this?" she asked holding it up.

"Oh, that's some new software from X El computers. Isn't it great? They sent over some new stuff of theirs for *free*! Maybe they want a story to be done about them."

"That's possible," said Clark. "After all, it's one of the most successful companies in existence, and it became a success in virtually no time at all. This has to be the company that achieved such recognition and wealth in the shortest period of time."

Lois looked at the package again. On it was written, "Excel with X El." Maybe there *is* an interview in this, thought Lois. After all, the man who managed to build this company practically over night had to be a genius.


The owner of X El computers sat in his office with his feet resting on his perfectly polished mahogany glass-top desk. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. He leaned forward and rubbed a spot off the tip of one of his fine lizard skin boots.

The receptionist buzzed and announced, "Mr. Thore, you have a phone call."

Mr. Thore sighed and leaned back in his chair. "Who is it?" he asked, mildly annoyed.

"It's a reporter, Sir," the receptionist answered. "Ms. Lane from the Daily Planet. What would you like me to tell her?"

Thore's eyes widened and he put his feet back down on the floor heavily. He was deep in thought and nearly forgot the receptionist was waiting for his answer.

"Sir?" she began again. "Ms. Lane is on the phone—"

"Yes, Darla," Thore interrupted as he came back to himself. "I heard you. Tell her to leave a message."

"Yes Sir," the receptionist said.

Lois Lane. The time had come. And how very ironic that it was *she* who initiated it. Nothing would stop him this time, he thought. He would get what he wanted.

There was a knock at the door. "Come in!" Thore said loudly. A beautiful blond woman entered his office and neared the desk.

"Good morning, Lou," she said with a touch of nervousness in her voice.

"Good morning, Louise," returned Thore. He even smiled at Louise, his personal secretary. He didn't often smile at her. Usually all he granted her with was a nasty look.

"I heard Darla on my way in here," brought up Louise. "She said Lois was on the phone."

Thore's smile disappeared. "Yes, of course. Why are you telling me? You think I don't know that? Use your head, darling; I know it's rather difficult at times, but really, must you act so vacant?"

"I'm sorry Lou," apologized Louise. "I *have* been thinking. I've been very careful." She lowered her voice. "I even remembered to call you Lou."

Lou shook his head and sighed.

"I don't always remember to call you that, but I did this time. I did good, didn't I?"

"Yes, Louise," her boss agreed. "You did good. I'm very impressed with your work lately. And soon you'll be able to prove yourself even further."

Mr. Lou Thore put his feet back up on his desk. "This time, I will *not* lose. I will kill Superman— or Clark Kent— whatever you prefer to call him, and I will *finally* win." His lips turned up in a satisfied smile. "Lex Luthor is back."


It was noon when Lois's phone rang. "Daily Planet, Lois Lane speaking," she answered while rummaging through some papers on her desk.

"Ms. Lane," came the crisp voice at the other end of the line. "How lovely to have received a call from the most beautiful and talented of journalists. To what do I owe this honor and pleasure?"

"I'm sorry, I'm afraid I don't know who this is," Lois replied.

"Oh, forgive me. How foolish of me to skip a formal introduction. My name is Lou Thore from X El computers."

"Mr. Thore, thank you for returning my phone call," Lois said and stopped rustling her papers. "I'd like to do a short interview with you for the Daily Planet— at a time that's convenient for you of course."

"Ms Lane, any time spent on you would be convenient for me. By the way, did you receive the software I had sent over?"

"Yes, thank you, we appreciate it very much. You have some wonderful products. It's really amazing how much you've accomplished. And you're so new to the business world too! No one has ever heard of you, and suddenly you're the tenth richest man in the world."

"Ah yes, but we'll discuss that in the interview, won't we?" answered Lou Thore. "Speaking of which, when would you like to schedule that for?"

Lois flipped open her planner and saw she had some time the next day free. "How does 11:00 tomorrow morning sound?"

"That sounds wonderful. I'm looking forward to it. Good bye, Ms. Lane."

Lex hung up the phone and laughed silently. Oh, this was just too perfect.


11:00 the next day came, and Lois showed up at X El right on time. Clark was in Bermuda carrying out some Supermanly duties.

Lois was ushered into Lex's office by the receptionist. Lex was standing at the huge window looking out over Metropolis. Louise was sitting on the edge of the desk. When Lois entered, Lex turned to her, and Louise got up abruptly.

"Ms. Lane," he smiled charmingly holding out his hand. Lois shook it, mildly uncomfortable at the length of time the shake lasted.

"You have a beautiful building here, Mr. Thore," she said as she drew her hand back.

"Yes, it is quite beautiful, thank you. Well, shall we begin? Louise, would you please finish up what I asked you to do earlier?"

"But Lou," Louise tried to argue before she was cut off.

"Louise, please leave me alone for my interview. Now." Louise pouted a little and left. She kept her eyes on Lois as she walked out of the room.

Lex motioned for Lois to sit down. "My partner should be here soon. He's been…um…delayed," Lois explained.

"Your partner?" asked Lex. "I hadn't realized…" At this point, Clark rushed into the office.

"Sorry I'm late. I had to…uh…pick my clothes up from the cleaners." Lex stood perfectly still with his back to the two reporters. He hadn't prepared to speak with Clark. It wouldn't be easy to keep his hatred from showing. He turned back around and once again smiled. "Mr. Kent," he greeted. "Now, I really am rather eager to get started. I have a full day planned and unfortunately my time is limited."

As Lex spoke, Lois eyed him thoughtfully. He caught her doing it, and Lois realized that. "I'm sorry, Mr. Thore, it's just that you seem so…familiar."

"Familiar? I'm quite sure we've never met. I'd remember meeting someone as beautiful as you."

Lois smiled modestly. "No, I don't think we *have* met. It's not your appearance that looks familiar. It's very strange; I just feel like I've spoken to you before. Your mannerisms, the way you speak…it's all very strange. I can't quite picture whom it is you remind me of."

"Well," laughed Lex easily. "I hope you figure it out. I'd love to know the name of the person who is so much like me. He must be a wonderful individual. Now, we have an interview to conduct?"


Louise walked down the hall in a huff. It wasn't fair that she couldn't stay for the interview! So what if she was created in a lab and started out as nothing more than a clone? This all involved her just as much as it involved Lex-Lou, that is. She really had to get used to thinking of him as that and calling him that.

At first she thought she was only missing being in the room when Lois was there, but as she left, she was shocked to see Clark rushing toward the room. For a second she was expecting him to recognize her. Of course, he didn't. He rushed right past her without so much as a second glance. Now *this* was really unfair! She couldn't believe that Clark was right there in the room and she couldn't be there.

So here she was on her way down to the hidden room under the X El building. On her way to help Lex destroy Superman.

Louise pushed open the heavy door when she got to the room. It was dim and void of furniture other than a couple of tables and chairs. In the corner was a safe to which only Lex had the combination and the key to the heavy chains that were wrapped around it for extra measure.

Louise looked around the room glumly. She focused on the safe. She knew what was in it, and it didn't make her happy.

"I hate him so much!" she thought vehemently about Lex. "I know I'm supposed to feel grateful to him or something, but I don't. I just hate him." The way he toyed with her emotions was cruel and unforgivable. She couldn't forget the despair she felt when she thought she'd be dying within two days. The only thing that got her through that pain was helping Clark to save Lois. It was something for her to concentrate on. It was the one good thing she'd get to do with her miserable life, if you could even call it a life.

When she saw Lex aiming that horrible weapon at Clark, she found herself charging at him before she could even think. And then came the agony of being hit with it herself. But she had done good. That's what mattered. Clark's deep eyes staring down at her numbed her. Then she had blacked out.

The next thing she remembered was waking up and finding herself covered with rocks and dirt. Miraculously, the tunnel hadn't completely collapsed, and though she was scratched up and unbelievably weak, she wasn't crushed to death. She saw Lex lying next to her, still unconscious. Then she noticed a movement from the corner of her eye. She moved her head slightly and squinted to see through her blurry vision.

In the corner of the underground tunnel was a brown haired figure picking through the debris. She was about to summon up all her strength to call for help when she saw the other figure.

Encased in a translucent case was a blond woman. She was just standing there, unmoving. Next to her was an empty case. The man was now standing in front of the woman. Then he spoke:

"Oh Lois, this was supposed to be you. We could have been so happy. I really do love you, you know. I swear, I will get you back. No one will know who I am. Look at me! A new body and a new life. They think I'm dead, no doubt. But how wrong they are. Lex Luthor lives!"

At this point Louise blacked out again. When she opened her eyes again, she was all alone. Well, not completely alone. The blond woman was there too. She was just as still as before. With a shudder Louise had realized that the body was alive but had no mind, no soul.

There was a sudden noise at the entrance to the room. Asabi ran in and started searching for something. Finally, he held something up triumphantly. "Ah!" he exclaimed. Louise let out a faint moan, hoping to be heard. Asabi spun around and dashed toward her.

"You are alive!!" he gasped. "I came back to get my turban. It was my great grandfather's and my grandfather's after that and… I thought you were dead!"

"Yeah," Louise said. "Lex, didn't even bother checking. Please help me! I'm begging you! I know I'm going to die in around two days anyway, but I don't want it to be here! Please don't leave me down here where I'll be cold and hungry. Please!"

Without hesitation, Asabi scooped Louise up in his arms and made his way out of the tunnel.

For the next two days Louise stayed with Asabi expecting to die at any minute. She was in bad condition from being shot with whatever that awful weapon was. She thought that maybe it was best she was a B Class clone. She'd be able to just die and be put out of her misery.

But she didn't die. And after two weeks of recovering and gaining more and more strength back, she realized what happened.

The bastard had lied to her. She wasn't a B Class clone at all. For all she knew, no such thing existed. She was very much alive and she had a gut feeling that she wasn't in any immediate danger of death. She had a chance at a life. And she was scared. She had to start living! But not in this body.

She couldn't walk around looking exactly like Lois Lane. She'd be recognized as Lois, and eventually people would catch on to the fact that there were two of them. Asabi was willing to teach her how to go into another body. Just one problem: she needed a body to go into.

The logical choice was to use the one that Lex had taken for Lois. But after Asabi rescued Louise, Lex had apparently come back to take the body, because it was no longer there, and in its place was a note. The note read: "Asabi: I knew you'd be back for the body. I was hiding near the entrance to the tunnel and I saw you leaving with Lois's clone. I left after you were gone, and I took the body with me. After the police and coroner finished with their business of pronouncing me dead, I came back to leave this note. I have an offer to make. I'm willing to allow the clone to take over this beautiful body. She will then, of course, work for me, and be indebted to me for an infinite amount of time." The note ended with a date, time, and location. The clone would be there. She didn't care what the cost was.

When she finally met with Lex, he was just as cruel and taunting as usual. But finally the moment came when the body was hers. It felt odd at first, but after a while she got used to it. (Being a blond wasn't too bad either.)

Immediately after the body switch was made, Lex insisted on getting to work. A name was picked for the clone—Louise. It seemed the most fitting. It sounded sort of like Lois, which Louise liked. She still partially identified herself as "Lois's clone."

Louise became Lex's full time personal secretary. He started creating his computer company, and in no time at all it was well on its way. With his keen business sense and extensive experience, he knew all the right moves to make. Next came investing in various stocks, which paid off immensely. Lex was back in business.

Then came what Louise was dreading. Revenge. Before long, a secret room was built under the X El building for Lex to carry out his plots and schemes in. The safe that contained Kryptonite was kept in there, along with some high-tech equipment. Louise helped Lex acquire all of it. She served as a go-between and representative for him. What else could she do? He could make or break her. And he *would* break her if he wanted to.


After months of planning and working, the time had finally come. It seemed that Lex was ready to put his plans into action. The plan was quite simple really. Just weaken Clark, kill him, and enjoy a life of bliss with Lois. A cinch.

Lex was upstairs with Lois and Clark at that very minute. Louise knew that he wouldn't do anything though. He'd wait till everything was perfectly planned out and he had the upper hand. Meanwhile, Louise had to stay downstairs and wait it all out. "Oh Lex," she thought. "One day I'll get back at you, you'll see. I'm more than a clone—I'm more of a person than you'll ever be."

At that moment, Lex entered the room. He walked over to the safe and began opening it. "Louise," he began, "tonight is the night. It will be quick and it will be simple. I wasted so much time in all my other efforts. Dabbling around with all those high tech devices and weapons wasn't what I should have been doing. Let it never be said that Lex Luthor can't admit he was wrong! I was going about this in entirely the wrong way. Spending far too much money, and frankly, trying too hard. All I really have to do is expose him to the Kryptonite. That will render him vulnerable to any way I choose to kill him, be it a dose of lethal poison, or simply a shot through the head."

Louise turned away from Lex so as not to let him see the horror on her face. The thought of Clark suffering made her cringe. For his beautiful body to be ravaged by a bullet was unthinkable.

Lex seemed to read her thoughts. "Oh, but I'm not planning on shooting him. Too much blood, and always the possibility of being connected to it. No, I'm thinking of something more along the lines of drowning. You know, neat, quick, quiet— and the body is instantly disposed of! Yes, I do believe that's what I'll do." Lex reached into the safe and drew out the glowing green rock. "Louise, I'd like for you to call Mr. Kent," Lex ordered.

"What should I say?" Louise asked.

"Exactly what I tell you to," replied Lex. "I have it all written out here. Now, I have another appointment upstairs. Make the call this evening. Practice first if you have to. Be convincing."

Lex left Louis alone in the room. As the door shut behind him, Louise spun around to look at the safe again. She took out her cellular and began to dial.


"Viola!," Clark announced as he set the steaming plate of pasta primavera down in front of Lois.

"Oh that smells heavenly!" exclaimed Lois as she inhaled deeply.

"Not as good as you do," returned Clark. He leaned down and smelled Lois's hair. Then he smelled her neck. "Hmmmm, good," he murmured as he focused his attention on making sure that every bit of her neck received one of his carefully placed kisses.

Lois let her head fall back. "Clark, where I come from, dessert usually comes *after* the meal," she pretended to argue.

"Well," Clark reasoned, "The food is too hot for you to eat, and I wouldn't want you to burn your tongue."

"No, of course not," replied Lois.

"And I know how restless you can get," Clark continued. "It's not like you to just sit here doing nothing while waiting for it to cool off. There's so much that can be done in these few minutes."

"Mmmmm-hmmmm," Lois agreed. She offered no objections when Clark started placing his kisses lower. Clark effortlessly lifted Lois from her chair and brought her over to the couch. "We should definitely make the best of every minute we have alone," Lois breathed heavily.

The phone rang. "…because we may be interrupted at any minute," Lois finished with a sigh. She sat up and straightened her twisted clothes as Clark answered the phone.

After listening for a minute, Clark's expression became intense. "Who did you say this is?" he asked.


Lois and Clark sat in the park waiting. The woman had told them to meet her there.

There was a noise behind them. They stood up and spun around. Louise walked toward them.

"Hello, Louise," Clark greeted her.

"Mr. Kent, Ms. Lane," Louise nodded and said loudly as one does when speaking not for the benefit of those they are talking to, but for someone nearby whom they know is listening.

Lois glanced at Clark. "Louise, you said you had information for us."

Before Louise answered, Clark heard a yell with his superhearing. "Help! Superman!" came the call.

Clark's hand instinctively went up to loosen his tie. "I just remembered something very important I have to do. Lois, why don't you talk to Louise until I get back." Clark was about to turn and leave when he paused. After a second thought he leaned forward and gave Lois a brief, yet lingering kiss on the lips. He looked into her eyes for a moment and then ran to a dark shadowy place where he could take to flight without being noticed.


No more than 10 seconds after Clark ran off, a man grabbed Lois from behind. She didn't have a chance to scream. The chloroformed cloth was over her face in a flash. She immediately began to black out. She saw the leaves swirling above. She saw Louise looking scared. She saw the face of the man that held her looking down at her. She saw his mean and tough looking face with a scar across the cheek. She saw the trees swirling above her. And then she saw…nothing.


Clark landed on the bridge, where the call had come from. He looked around and saw no one.

Suddenly there was the sound of clapping. "Bravo, Superman!" called the figure stepping out of the shadows. "Your timing, as usual, was impeccable. But of course, that was to be expected." Lex stopped. With a gleam in his eye, he pulled out the box he was holding behind him. Opening it, he continued speaking.

"Superman— or should I say Clark— I'm almost sorry to have to end this now. I do so enjoy the anticipation and everything that comes a long with the chase. I've always lived by a personal rule that goes as such: ' There's no such thing as too much of a good thing.' I'm sure you've heard of it. But, as I'm sure you've also heard, being that you are so very educated, there is also something that says, 'There is an exception to every rule.' And I've found the exception to my rule. Though scheming against you and carrying out those schemes is ever so much fun, there is only so much of it I can do before the end must come. And I'd say now is as good a time to end it as any, wouldn't you?"

With that, Lex lifted the huge chunk of glowing green rock out of its box. Clark, who had been showing the signs of being near Kryptonite throughout Lex's whole speech, now doubled over. He held his stomach and clenched his jaw. "Why are you doing this!?" He asked.

Lex's face was serious now. So rarely did it exhibit such a ruthless, almost animalistic sneer. All of the charm, poise, and elegance that Lex usually maintained so well disintegrated, exposing the underlying cruelty.

"Why?!" He shouted angrily. "You ask me why I'm doing this!? You, who has everything a man could want, ask ME why I'm doing this??" Lex stopped and regained his composure. He broke into a cold smile. "I apologize for losing myself. Of course you don't know why I'm doing this." Now Lex was standing over Clark who was on the ground. Lex kneeled down and looked at Clark's face. "You just assumed that you had Lois back for good. You assumed that I died in the tunnel and you were free of me forever. I must tell you, when I found out about Lois's amnesia, I was rather amused. You finally had her back, and she had no idea who you were!

"You know," continued Lex, "I was seriously considering forcing my soul into Dr. Deter's body when I saw how easy it would be for him to get Lois to fall in love with him. I can do that—force someone out of their body so that I can take it— with ease. I don't even need the smoke and all that mumbo-jumbo Asabi taught me to make it easier. But I decided against it. I knew that eventually Lois would get her memory back, and she'd go running back to you. No, that wouldn't work at all. I needed a stronger assurance that I'd get what I want. And this is it. Lex Luthor vs. Superman finally ends, and quite obviously, *I* am the victor."

As he spoke, Lex tied Clark's hands behind his back, and then tied his ankles together. Now, as Lex finished speaking, he hung a heavy chain around Clark's neck. Attached to the chain was a big piece of the rock radiating its dreadful green glow.

Clark was lying still with his eyes closed. Lex dragged his body to the railing of the bridge. "So long, Mr. Kent!" he sang gleeful, and shoved him into the water. He knew the strong current would probably drag his body out for miles. Even if someone actually found it, it wouldn't be connected to Lex. No one even knew he was alive.

Lex stood staring at the water for a minute before looking at his watch. "Well, off to Lois!" he said, and turned away from the black waters below.


After an hour of being out cold, Lois began to stir. Her eyes finally opened, and she looked around to examine her surroundings. She found herself in a lavishly decorated room, lying on a huge bed with silk sheets. She looked down to find herself fully clothed in what she was wearing when she left for the park with Clark. "Oh thank G-d," she sighed.

"No need to," declared Lex, entering the room. "I already know how much you appreciate me."

Lois became aware of a beefy looking man standing in the corner. He was obviously there to prevent her from running. From the look of him, it seemed he wouldn't have to do much in order to discourage her from trying.

Lois watched Lex walk to the mini-bar at the far end of the room. With a flourish he poured himself a drink from the crystal decanter. Lois narrowed her eyes and examined his every motion. When Lex turned back to her, he saw her eyes were wide.

"Lex," she whispered. "That's who it is you reminded me so much of. Lex. You talk like him, you walk like him, you move like him. Now you've drugged me and brought me here. That's something that only a twisted, demented man like Lex would do. But you can't be him! You…you…you did what Asabi taught you! Of course! I was going to do it too. You actually took over the new body. My G-d…"

"Now Lois, don't take the Lord's name in vain. Oh, that's right, I don't believe in G-d. Go ahead and say whatever you'd like."

"Clark will save me, you know," Lois informed Lex.

"That is highly unlikely, and really, I'd appreciate if you refrained from mentioning that name. I suppose it's only common courtesy to inform you that Clark is dead."

"No," Lois whispered.

"I'm afraid so," Lex countered. "Well, no, that's a lie. I'm not upset about that in the least. I'm only upset that it causes you so much pain. But I can help you forget that pain. If you only open yourself to me, we could do so much!"

"You're sick," Lois choked out. "You kill the one man I've ever loved and you expect to be the one to make me happy? No one can do that, least of all you. Will you ever realize how much I despise you?"

Lex thought a moment. "No." he decided. "Lois, I love you so much. If only you could see that. I could make all your dreams come true."

"My only dream is of having a life with Clark."

"Don't say that!" shouted Lex. He grabbed Lois's arm and held her tight. "I am all you need!" he yelled.

Tears rolled down Lois's cheek. "You're hurting me," she cried. When Lex didn't let go, she repeated herself louder. "You're hurting me!" she screamed.

Suddenly the door flew open and there was a streak of red, yellow, and blue. Lex had no time to react before he was hoisted off the bed and held up in the air by…Superman??

"I believe Lois said you were hurting her," he said. "Don't you think it's a good idea not to get her upset? After all, you know I don't react well to that."

"That's impossible!" protested Lex, you're dead! I killed you!"

"I thought you were dead too, Luthor, but I was wrong. And apparently you were too."

"But I don't understand how you lived! The Kryptonite! The water! You should have—" Out of the corner of his eye, Lex noticed Louise standing in the doorway. "You," he whispered in anger. "What did you do?"

Louise smiled and leaned against the door post. "I called him, just like you said I should. I told him and Lois to meet me in the park, just like you said. Oh yeah, I also told him who we really are. He was shocked at first, and he didn't believe me, but I managed to convince him."

"But the Kryptonite…" Lex repeated.

"You mean that green rock you brought with you to kill him with? That looks very good, doesn't it? Looks so real. It's amazing what doctor Klein at STAR labs was able to come up with. I actually had him start working on that a month ago. I called him before I called Clark, and he brought it over himself. I'll bet that you didn't know what an expert safe-cracker that Dr. Klein is. He's really very good. Also a great locksmith. Had that padlocked chain off of the safe in no time at all. He's almost as good as James Bond when it comes to these things."

Lex was seething. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply for a long moment. His body seemed to relax as if he were finally giving in. Then he opened his eyes and darted them around the room fearfully like a deer caught in the headlights.

People in dead-end situations like this will often do desperate things that perhaps aren't the brightest of ideas. This was one of those situations, and here was one of those people. He made a dash for door, knocking over a large vase in the process.

As he ran, he pulled out a gun and shot aimlessly. Clark was about to stop him when Louise pulled out a gun of her own, and shot Lex in the chest. He dropped to the ground and clutched his wound. Louise lowered her gun and looked at Lois and Clark. "It…it was self defense," she whispered. "He was shooting and coming at me."

"It's okay," Clark assured her. "I won't let anything happen to you. The police will see he had a gun and that he shot it. You won't be in any trouble.

The big man who had been watching over Lois was now inching his way toward the door. "Oh no you don't!" said Clark as he took hold of him. "You're not going anywhere. You're an accessory to kidnapping. The police are on their way, and you can be sure you'll be convicted and do your time in prison."

As if on cue, the police ran into the room. They did their best to gather all the information, but there were things that they didn't know. Lois, Clark, and Louise found it best to simply not tell who the dead Lou Thore really was. That would only lead to confusion and disbelief. The police had just enough information to do what they had to do. That's the way it would stay.


Lois and Clark walked home slowly, savoring the brisk night air and the company of each other. "Is Louise going to be okay?" asked Lois.

"I think so," answered Clark. "She's smart. She can do anything she puts her mind to."

"Yeah, I guess you're right."

They were silent for a few minutes. Then Clark laughed.

"What?" Lois asked curiously. "Did something funny just happened that I missed, because I'm still kind of woozy from that chloroform you know…"

"I was just thinking that maybe you should have become an actress instead of a journalist. I was standing outside listening in and looking through the door to see what was going on inside with you and Lex. I was ready to come in as soon as he started doing anything to you. And I must say, your acting skills are wonderful! From the "revelation" of his true identity to the grief and tears at the news of my "death," you were spectacular!

"Yeah, I was pretty terrific, wasn't I," Lois grinned. "It wasn't easy. I was so scared that I wouldn't be convincing enough. If Lex would have realized that I actually knew he was going to kidnap me, and that I knew he was Lex, who knows what he would have done."

"He wouldn't have done anything, Lois," Clark pointed out. "Because I was standing right outside and wouldn't have let him. But that wasn't necessary because you were amazing! Really, you should get an Oscar or something."

Lois laughed. "I'll settle for that pasta primavera that I never got to eat. I'll have to pop that in the microwave."

"Hmmmmm," thought Clark out loud. "The microwave. You'll want to get the cheese all melty and hot again, so it'll take around two minutes to reheat."

"But I won't be able to eat it right away, because as you pointed out earlier, I have to let it cool off. That'll take a few minutes— minimum of five."

"Wow, so we're dealing with at least seven minutes in which we have nothing to do," clarified Clark. "We can't let that time go to waste. What can we do with it?"

"I can think of a few things I'd like to do," said Lois seductively.

"Is that so?" Clark asked.

"Uh-huh. One in particular." Lois stopped walking, and Clark did too. They wrapped their arms around each other and connected in a deep kiss. Lois pulled away and smiled. "Come on. My pasta primavera is waiting. And so is that desert. I'm willing to have it before the main course if you are."

"I think I can be daring enough for that," Clark happily ascertained. "Let's go."


The police car drove to the station with Lex's accessory to kidnapping sitting in the back seat. He smiled. He might have to sit out a little time in jail, but that wouldn't be too bad. He'd be back soon enough. After all, you can't keep Lex Luthor down for long.


Authors post-note: Okay, now some people read this and were massively confused. So I want to clear up a couple of things. If you are wondering how Lois knew that Louise was the clone, and that Lou was Lex, it's because Clark told her in between getting the phone call from Louise and going with Lois to the park. Now, if you're confused about when exactly Lex switched bodies with the body guard guy, it's when he closed his eyes and breathed deeply. The reason he got all panicky when he opened his eyes again is because that was now the guard in that body. How would YOU feel if you suddenly found yourself in another body and had no idea how you got there? And finally, I'd like to say that if you found this whole plot utterly ridiculous and completely stupid, you can only blame me partially. I got the body stealing idea from Anne Rice's book, "Tale of the Body Thief." <g>