By Mary Scibetta <Meg4076@aol.com>
Submitted October 1998
Summary: What would have happened if Clark hadn't gotten the job at the Daily Planet when he first came to Metropolis? This alternate beginning lands Clark on another Metropolis paper, making him and Lois bitter rivals for the top news stories. What will it take to get them to work together?
Leaning against the post on the front porch, he looked out on the waves of grass that blew in the distance. 'The only home that I've ever known,' he thought. He knew that he wasn't from Smallville, not even from Earth, but he had enjoyed growing up there, in the safe hands of Martha and Jonathan.
"You ready, son?" Jonathan put his hand on Clark's shoulder. Clark looked back behind him and smiled.
"I'm ready when you are." Clark walked down the porch steps and got into the truck. He didn't usually ride but he wanted to spend the time with his parents. He saw Martha put the last of his bags into the back and climb into the truck. They were off.
"Have you got a job offering yet?"
"No, mom, I'm hoping that when they see my work that they'll be banging down my door. Otherwise, this is going to be a short trip."
"Honey, you know the real reason you're going there is not for a paper. Besides, we are already proud of you." Martha turned around and smiled at her son, "You'll do well, I know."
"I know, and I'll always have you two." Knowing the day would be a long one, they rode the rest of the way in relative quiet.
"Here we are, Mr. Kent. Hope it is to your liking." The apartment manager opened the door to the apartment and handed Clark the keys. The Kents entered the apartment and walked down the steps. Empty. Bare.
"Let's start unloading, son," Jonathan told Clark as he walked around the main room. Martha had brought her cleaning supplies with her the first trip so she had already started cleaning. The beauty of this apartment was that the kitchen was fully equipped and the place had built-in shelves. Besides, Clark needed nothing fancy.
The three worked through the weekend moving in and getting settled. At night, they would talk about his new identity, Superman. Deep inside, Clark cringed every time he glanced at the ridiculous Superman outfit that he would have to wear, but he figured it was the price he paid for helping the Earth.
"I hate to see you both go." Clark hugged his parents and smiled.
"Son, you'll be fine — succeed at whatever you do. Come visit whenever you need to." Jonathan hugged his son again and walked out behind Martha. Clark stood in the doorway of his apartment alone for the first time.
"Lois, where is that article on the computer hacker job? You said that you would have it hours ago."
Lois ran across the newsroom into Perry's office and slammed the door. "I got new information right before I finished — I had to change it or it would have been wrong. Anyway, you could get some more runners out here. I've lost I don't know how many pairs of shoes this week." She handed him the article.
"This is good. Point well taken." Lois shook her head at the workaholic editor and left the office.
Lois sat at her desk, still fuming. "Who does he think he is?"
Jimmy walked by and put something on her desk. He patted her on the back and pointed at the elevator. "New recruit? Kind of old for a mail runner, huh?" Lois just waved at Jimmy and didn't look up.
"I'm looking for Perry White's office."
The statement didn't immediately register with Lois. She slowly became aware of the smell of aftershave, and she realized the man must be standing close by, and that he must have been addressing her. With pen in mouth, she pointed across the way from her.
"Thanks," he said back coldly.
Looking up finally, she thought, 'Good butt.'
Clark Kent entered Perry's office. "Mr. White, I'm Clark Kent and I have …"
"We have a runner and mail room openings — that's it."
"But I'm a reporter. I write — not run."
"Look son, that's nice but I have the reporters I want — trained to be what I want. Now, we can start you out lower but that's the best I can do."
"Thanks anyway …" Clark proceeded out the door. He looked at the lady he had talked to earlier. She flashed him an 'Aaww, too bad' look and he grimly smiled at her.
Lois watched the visitor go out the elevator and then out of the Planet below. Little did she know that they would meet again very soon.
Clark continued his quest with a quick walk to the smaller city paper. Maybe he shot too high for his first job. He walked into a small office with "Metropolis Herald" printed on the door. A lady in a short red dress sat at the large desk at the back of the room. Tentatively, he knocked on the door frame. The woman glanced up at him.
"Are you the editor?"
The lady stood up and walked over. She closed the door behind him. "Yes, Marilyn Jones, trying to keep this little paper afloat. Can I help you?"
Sitting down, he said, "I'm looking to write … serious news. I wrote for little papers back home. Here's a copy of some of my work …" Clark put the yellow envelope on the desk.
She barely even glanced at the envelope. "You're hired — if you will join me for dinner." She sat on the corner of her desk with her legs crossed seductively.
Clark was taken aback at being put through such a thing.
"I guess I could. When can I start?"
"Get out there now … goodness knows that we could use a real writer …" She pushed him toward the door. "Instead of these college ingrates!" she yelled past him out the door. She turned back to him and grabbed his collar. "Go cover the courthouse press conference. See you here — at seven."
Clark succeeded in locating the courthouse in short order; the press conference, though larger than those he had faced before, provided nothing unexpected and no story opportunities. It would take some time for him to become familiar with city politics. He returned to the Herald office.
Clark found an empty desk and settled in. He heard a cry for help and slipped out the door. The small office was easy to get away from. He went into the alley and flew off as Superman for the first time.
He flew by and saw the burning building. 'People first,' he thought as he X-rayed the building. Three people were trapped inside; he quickly flew in and pulled them out. When he got back to the ground and put out the fire, reporters were everywhere. He was on TV. Clark began to feel nervous — he did not know if his costume would be much of a disguise.
The members of the media were clamoring for his attention. "Who are you?"
That much he could answer; his parents had helped him pick a name that would fit with the S-shield he wore on his chest. "Call me — Superman. I have come here, to Metropolis, to help." Getting nervous about saying too much, he tried to excuse himself. But what he saw made him stop — that Lady, the beautiful, cold woman from the Daily Planet, was here. He hadn't been able to stop thinking about her.
"Excuse me, but you can't say any more than that?" The Planet reporter was right in the thick of the questioning. "Will you stay here or move on? Are you the only one like you? What powers do you have?" She kept pressing him.
'Who does this Lady think she is?' he thought.
"I really need to go now, miss. I have another obligation." Superman flew off, leaving her in his wind.
"Lois, did you get it?" Jimmy ran over after shooting pictures of Superman's departure.
"No, nothing — he's Superman — that's it." They rode back to the Planet where she wrote up what she could for the paper. 'Pathetic little story — need to get an interview,' she thought as she readied herself to leave for the day.
"Ms. Jones, I got an exclusive with Superman. The Planet doesn't even have it." Clark handed her the piece that he had written on the fire. He felt bad for the Lady there but really wanted to impress his boss.
"Its Marilyn, and this is good. I'll read it right now and turn it in to be printed into tomorrow's edition."
She quickly scanned through the article, made a few annotations, and dropped it off with the printers. "Shall we be going?" she asked Clark. Clark went and got his coat, thinking of it as a business dinner.
Instead, Marilyn had them booked at a fancy restaurant where the tables were each at least ten feet apart from the others.
"So, Clark how did you get this story on Superman?"
"Sort of knew him from before …"
"Well, Perry White will be knocking on our door tomorrow. What will you tell him?"
"I'm staying with you — he did everything but slam the door in my face. And that woman reporter — she was real smug." Clark felt that adding that would impress Marilyn but he really wanted to get to know that Lady from the Daily Planet.
"Well, I'm glad you're staying with me. It will help the paper a lot."
They continued to talk about the paper through dinner. Clark walked Marilyn home.
"Clark, you're a nice guy. You know, I've never really dated a nice man before. Do you want to come up for a night cap?"
Clark looked at her and then at his watch. "Better not … It's real late," he said, hoping he didn't look too anxious to get away. He had heard a crash on the far side of town and was wanting to get to it as quickly as possible.
"I'll see you tomorrow then." Marilyn went inside.
Clark went into the alley and arrived at the accident scene as Superman seconds later. He pulled the door off the car and pulled out the person who was trapped inside. He could tell the person would be all right, and emergency crews were arriving on the scene by then. Superman started to take off when he heard, "Wait!" Superman looked down at the street where the Lady, tiny to his eyes from his vantage point, stood in a blue dress. He floated back down.
"Superman. We need to talk. I'm Lois Lane from the Daily Planet. I've been waiting for an interview from you. Could you spare a few moments?"
"I have some time — where did you want to go?"
"Where?" Lois looked puzzled.
"How about your place?" He picked her up and followed her directions to her apartment.
They landed softly in front of her building. "Why did you want to come here?"
"I thought you would want to come home. You didn't disagree." He smiled at her as she opened her door. She smelled so good, but why did she have to be so coarse to him?
"Come in, you want something to …?" She stopped, wondering if he even needed to eat or drink.
"Water would be fine." He walked into the kitchen behind her. She poured some in a glass and turned around right into him. Blushing, she apologized. Superman just smiled. "Could you open the window, just in case — you know?" He went to sit down.
Lois caught herself staring at him. "Oh yeah — sure — have a seat — you're already sitting. So what can you tell me about yourself?" They sat and talked for several hours, minus some interruptions. Even during his duties, he never got her out of his mind. Lois, too, thought about how wonderful he was. Superman was with her — how good could it get?
Returning after one such interruption, he said, "I really need to get going, Lois. This has been nice. I'd like to do this again." He touched her face.
"Me too — anytime." Lois started to melt. Later, she couldn't remember much about what happened after that, but she would swear he kissed her.
"Perry!" Lois ran into his office and saw him with the paper's owner. "I got the interview."
"So did someone else." Perry threw the Herald at her.
Superman's My Name, the headline blazed.
"It's that kid — came in yesterday. Now he's working for that little paper giving them big headlines. Lois, I want you to track him. Find out how he got it before us. I don't want this to happen AGAIN!" Perry yelled at her. He shook his head.
"How is this my fault?! YOU turned him down."
"Just find him and his source! GO!"
Lois ran back to her desk, picked up her stuff, and walked out the door. "Blasted traffic — Perry — this stupid reporter — what's he got anyway?"
She pulled up in front of the Herald and stormed inside.
Marilyn was near the entranceway. "Lois Lane, what an honor."
"Outta my way — where's the reporter that took my story?"
"Oh, Clark, he's back there; he's working — like others of us should," she said, shooting a look at Lois.
Lois didn't care what looks she got. She headed over to Clark's desk. Picking up his new name plate, she sneered, "Clark Kent — more like story stealer."
Not looking up, he said, "Had it first, but you can print your date with Superman in the Planet tomorrow." He kept typing with a smile on his face.
"How did you know that?"
"Let's just say — he confides in me." Looking at her and standing, he said, "I understand that the Herald got more readership today. Hmm. Ms. Lane, don't you have to work or something?" He passed her on his way toward the door.
"Wait," she said, stepping in front of him. "Just tell me how you met him."
"Ms. Lane, I have a job to do." Clark left the building. Lois tried to follow him, but he just disappeared. She walked back and got into her car.
Lois called Jimmy on the phone. She was going to figure this guy out. "Jimmy, I need you to meet me around the corner from the Herald office."
"Lois, there's a chemical fire in Industrial Park — we should get down there and see if Superman is there." 'Blasted,' she thought. 'He already knew about it while I was blowing my top; he's going to get another story.' "Meet you there, Jimmy."
Lois squealed into the reporter area for the chemical plant.
"I'm looking for Clark Kent; have you seen him?" Everyone answered no. Did no one read the papers this morning? Just then Superman came back out of the plant with another round of survivors.
Jimmy stepped up beside Lois. "Lois, I got some great pictures. Whoever that is really a savior for Metropolis."
"He's been around the world," she told Jimmy, not really paying attention to what she said.
"What? Lois, how do you know?"
"I interviewed him last night, but someone else already had the story. What's the story here?"
"Nothing much — just an explosion. No one was hurt, with Superman here." Lois was listening in on the fire department's explanation while Jimmy babbled on.
'OK, Clark Kent, where are you?' Lois thought. Just then cameras started clicking as Superman flew overhead, waved, and took off.
"Boo. Get the story this time?" Clark had no paper, pen, nothing.
Lois was furious. "I was looking for you. You just got here?"
"Nope, got in the gates before the cops got here. Great exclusive …" He smiled at her with his hands in his pockets.
Clark turned to walk off when Lois ran up in front of him. "You have this thing for cutting me off?"
"I just want to know how you do it. You waltz into town and suddenly take over. Look, this is MY territory, so if you don't want to be buried, you better go back to your little country paper — that's where I hear you came from, anyway." Clark just stood there and continued to smile at her. He really liked this woman. He just wished inside that he could find the way to be sincere to her, but she just had a way of pushing him.
"Got to go, but I'm sure we'll see each other again." He couldn't get the courage to say any more. He heard Lois 'Hmmph' at his walking away. He was wearing her down.
Clark kept walking away from the explosion, but out of the corner of his eye he watched Lois drive away. He hoped that someday that he could actually be in the seat next to her. Close to the factory, Clark caught a cab for home; he decided that he could write the article faster than Lois regardless of his superpowers. Besides, he had the inside scoop.
He arrived at his apartment and turned on the radio. He lay down on the couch, picturing Lois there in front of him, and fell asleep.
"I stop and I stare too much … Afraid that I care too much … And I hardly dare to touch … For fear that the spell may be broken …"
"Hello?" Clark answered the phone tiredly.
"Clark, how are you doing?"
"Mom, I'm fine. Just resting."
"Are you tired? Honey, what's wrong?"
"I'm fine, mom. I've just had a lot on my mind. I think I've met someone, but I don't think she likes me much."
Clark went and got a drink in the kitchen. "She and I are rivals for the newspapers, and she's upset that I can get the story before her. I don't know how I can impress her when we're competing. Besides, she's got a thing for Superman."
"So, she does like you, then?"
"Well, I'd like her to like me as Clark, not as Superman."
"Oh, I see. Well, I think you are making a good decision by waiting for her as Clark. Honey, she's going to have to decide for herself what she wants. You can't force her. As much as your father and I would like you to find someone, you need to remember to be patient in matters of the heart."
"I know that. I can just hope. Well, I hate to cut you off but I need to write a story before the night's over. I love you, mom. Tell dad 'hi' for me."
"OK, honey, you take care."
Clark hung up the phone and stood in front of the mirror. He took his glasses off and then put them back on and sighed. "Oh, Lois," he sighed again and then got ready to return to work.
Over the next several weeks, the readership of the Herald began to soar as the Daily Planet was slowly starting to hurt. Clark Kent was becoming a focus of interest among the newspaper and television reporters of Metropolis as they tried to pinpoint how he got his stories. At the Planet, Lois and Perry watched the latest report on the morning show.
"Lois, what are we going to do?" Perry walked around his office with his hands on his head.
"Perry, I have really tried to figure how he has beaten me to every single story. He knows Superman like no one else. Actually, though, I don't really see him at the disaster sites ever. Then again, I barely get there before Superman has left, too."
"I have a thought."
"Shoot. I would be willing to do anything."
"I want to hire this kid and I want you to offer him the job."
Lois started to walk out of the office and waved off Perry. "Anything but that."
Perry walked out behind her. "Lois, if not that, then you better figure a way to get the story. I refuse to become the second best paper in town."
"Lois!" Jimmy called out just then. "There was a bomb threat down at the courthouse."
"You better get going, sweetheart!" Perry ordered.
"On my way," Lois yelled as she ran out the door.
A few minutes later, she arrived at the courthouse where Superman was X-raying the building walls. He found nothing. Lois could see him looking up in a strange way and then he flew off. Seconds later, the crowd was forced to the ground by a blast in the sky. When everyone recovered, they could see Superman coming around the side of the building with two men.
"Officers, if you would please …" The police officers took both men and put them into cars as Superman started answering questions.
"Superman, how are you enjoying your time in Metropolis?"
Superman crossed his arms in front of his chest. "I have honestly not had time to experience the city. I work most of the time."
"Superman, do you have a place of residence?"
"That is a bit personal, but I do have a place that I do stay when I am not busy. Excuse me, but I need to be going now."
The crowd still pushed for questions, but he prepared to take off anyway. He spotted Lois as he was flying away. He could see her following him with her eyes, but in a way that was different from the others'. Superman turned away and flew off.
That night, he sat quietly at the top of Lois's apartment building and waited for her to get home. He had to leave to help with a train wreck in Europe but returned in time to see her getting out of her car. Not wanting to be seen, he flew in behind the building and watched to see if she would open the window. She had left it open before but he had never taken the opportunity to visit — perhaps because he was nervous, perhaps because it wasn't right. Either way, he had decided tonight was going to be different.
He pushed the window just slightly to peek in and then knocked. "Lois?"
"Superman!" She turned around to face the man of her dreams, who almost glowed with the help of the light outside the window. He still had the stance he had at the interview, but he quickly loosened up when Lois smiled. "I didn't expect you tonight; that is, I haven't expected you since you never have come since that night."
She could see his mind wander. "That night, I remember. Speaking of that night —"
Lois walked up to him and kissed him before she realized what she had done.
"I'm so sorry … I didn't mean …" She backed up but saw him move toward her.
"That's more than all right." Superman took Lois in his arms and kissed her deeply as he lifted her off the ground. He could tell she was almost unconscious. He almost had to giggle at her standing in the middle of the room with her arms still outstretched.
"What happened? What am I doing?" She woke up.
"You fazed out; I kissed you."
"Oh yeah," she said, still sounding a bit dazed. She walked into the kitchen. "You want anything?"
"No, thank you. I just really wanted to see you tonight. I saw you at the bomb threat and …" Lois had already made it back to the couch and was kissing him again. Pushing her away, he said, "I haven't come by that often because I'm uncertain where you think this is going for us."
Turning to face him, Lois acted nervous. "I just thought that we could … you know … I was hoping … but you probably think that I'm … this is stupid."
Superman took her hand. "Lois, this is not stupid. I am very attracted to you, Lois, but I want you to keep your options open."
Lois looked at him, puzzled. "Are you pushing me away?"
"No, Lois … yes … I just don't want you to be hurt, that's all." Superman got up and walked toward the window. "I have to go." Lois ran over and kissed him again but he pulled away before she could really touch his lips. Again, he was gone.
"Lois, how is that story on the bomb yesterday coming?" Perry was still worried about his paper slowly going down the tubes.
"Perry, I have an amazing scoop on the story and I saw Superman again last night."
Perry raised an eyebrow at Lois. "Business or pleasure?" Lois just smiled as she laid her story down on the desk and walked out of the room. He could swear that he saw her skipping just a little. But when she got to her desk, she nearly let out a scream.
"Lois Lane, how are you today?" Clark Kent sat in her chair, grinning at her.
"What are YOU doing in HERE?" She slapped a folder down on her desk but he wouldn't budge; he just smiled.
"Just wondered if you would want to go to lunch and discuss a story that I'm working on. I promise to share the byline with you." He kept smiling at her whimsically.
"I would not give you the pleasure of sharing my name on anything. And I don't need lunch."
He still sat in her chair and just shook his head. 'Liar, your stomach's in knots,' he thought. He got up and started to walk off.
Lois pointed at the elevator, "Just leave." She began to sit down but missed the chair and fell. Clark walked back and helped her up. Lois tried to fight his help but didn't succeed.
"Kids play games when they like each other …" Clark whispered to her, sneaking a peek at her appointment book before he walked out to the elevator. It appeared that Lois had dinner plans tonight.
When he got back to the Herald, he decided to ask Marilyn to dinner that night. He would take her to the restaurant where Lois would be. He would use any excuse he could to be near Lois.
He leaned into her office, "Want to goto dinner tonight?"
"Sure, Clark, what's the occasion?"
"A break … that's all." He walked back to his desk to call for reservations.
"Yes, this is Clark Kent. I need a reservation for tonight. Do you have a time around 8:00? Super. Thank you." He leaned over his desk.
"Marilyn, how about eight?"
"Great …" They both continued to work until around eight.
"How did you decide on this place, Clark?"
He removed her coat at the check. "Just heard it was a good place. I know it's a bit expensive, but you know my editor has been paying me pretty well these last few weeks. I couldn't imagine why." He smiled at Marilyn and she smiled back. She knew down inside that he just was being nice to her and he had other intentions, but she was going to at least enjoy the dinner.
"This way please …" The waiter led the couple to a table that was only a few yards away from Clark's target.
'Bingo,' Clark thought. He pulled out all the stops, seating Marilyn and then himself. Lois couldn't keep from watching him talk to Marilyn during dinner.
"Lois? Honey, what's wrong?" Lois looked down and her date was touching her hand.
"Nothing, just thinking. This man came in today and made me upset."
"Lois, I see you looking over there. You've been watching them since they walked in the door. Tell me what's wrong."
Looking back at her date, she said, "That man over there is ruining my life. The Herald reporter. He is going to be the end of me. Whatever I do I can't beat him."
"Lois, I think it's more than that." She shot her date a glance and pulled her hand away from him.
"Are you suggesting that I have some kind of attraction to HIM?! Look, he's just some punk kid in a man's body that's a sorry excuse for a reporter. I have no attraction to him!"
"Lois, sit down please …" Lois looked around and saw that she was indeed standing and screaming. She glanced over at Clark, who waved a few fingers at her and started talking to Marilyn again.
"I want to go," she whispered. Respecting her wishes, her date rose out of his chair, laid some money on the table, and escorted Lois out of the restaurant.
The remainder of the evening Clark and Marilyn sat and talked happily. Clark walked her home and then walked by Lois's place before having to take off for a Superman duty.
That weekend was turning out to be a slow weekend for both a reporter and a superhero. Clark lay on his couch and watched his tiny TV while chowing down on leftover pizza. He was glad that he got to sit and do nothing for a change.
"Clark Kent, this is Lois Lane." Clark sat up and listened. "I thought maybe you could join me for dinner tonight where I could apologize for my actions to you."
"I don't think you have to apologize to me but your date was pretty red."
"I already talked to him but I think that we should get to know each other. Actually, I thought we could talk about working together on a story."
"Well, where, then?"
"How about we meet at Anthony's tonight around 9:00?"
"I'm game, Ms. Lane."
"Call me Lois. See you there, Clark." They both hung up the phone and Clark sat there looking toward his closet.
'What to wear? What is she up to?' he wondered.
In her own apartment nearby, Lois sat on her couch almost laughing.
"I'm supposed to meet Lois Lane here." The waiter pointed over in the direction of a beautiful woman sitting alone, seated comfortably. "Thank you." Clark headed in Lois's direction, but then a man walked up to her table and sat down.
Clark turned around and hoped that she wouldn't see him leaving the restaurant as quickly as he had arrived. He didn't feel like taking off as Superman then. He felt like he had been cut down in more than one way. He sat down on a park bench almost directly across from city hall. 'Damn it Lois, if you only knew — then you would love me.' Then he thought again and figured that she would like him for the wrong reasons. He decided that he would get what he could from her. "Help Superman …" he heard, and he took off.
One small light still burned in the back corner of the living room; someone on the couch just turned over and the papers covering her scattered on the floor but were quickly put back into order. The woman stirred.
"It's all right Lois; go back to sleep."
Lois sat up and rubbed her eyes. "Superman, I thought I was dreaming."
Superman rubbed her hair, letting it slide through his fingers. "You're not. I came by to check on you. I was hoping that you would feel like flying with me; I could use your company tonight."
"I'd love to." She got up and went into her bedroom. "What should I wear?"
"Whatever … it's warm tonight," he told her; at the same time he thought about the dress she had had on the first time.
'Wear the blue dress' he thought. Lois got a strange sensation at the same time. She turned on a CD.
Lois returned a few minutes later in the blue dress that he had hoped for. She looked at him strangely wondering if he had put the thought of wearing the dress in her head.
"Do you like this?"
"Lois, you look stunning — almost too good to take with me."
"I can change if you …" Superman walked over and covered her mouth with a few fingers. He kissed her forehead.
"Shall we be going?" He picked her up and headed to the balcony. "Where do you want to go?"
"I … I … don't know …"
"I have a place …" They took off.
"I'll take you to the highest mountain Do the dance on the deep blue sea And we won't need a map believe me Let my body do the moving Let my hands do the soothing Let me show you the world in my eyes"
Superman and Lois landed lightly in a grassy area surrounded by trees. "Where are we?" Lois asked. She looked over at Superman and then around again. He took her hand and started walking.
"I come here when I need to think. Tonight has been one of those nights." Lois could see he looked sad. She had never considered that a superhero could have feelings like he had. Then again, she had never known a superhero at all.
"Tell me." She put her free hand on his arm and she could feel his muscles tense up.
"There's someone that I care about, but she doesn't care for me that much. I have never been in love before, but I think this sick feeling is a sure sign of it."
Lois felt her heart sink knowing that she loved him and he wanted someone else. "What can I do?"
Superman sat down on tree stump close to the woods and put Lois on his knee. "How do I tell her how I feel? She needs to know the truth, even though it pains me."
"You just have to tell her. I don't see how anyone could turn you away." Lois looked away from him and softly told herself, "I wouldn't turn away; I'm in love with you." Clark's heart sank.
"So, Lois, is there anyone in your life?"
"I'm dating someone right now, but he doesn't really do anything for me. He and I used to think we were made for each other but lately we've been growing apart. He thinks that there's someone else. He thinks that I have something for some writer I know, but he's crazy. I really am not in love with anyone, really …"
"Lois, you can calm down. I didn't ask you to defend yourself. I just asked you about yourself." She sat back down with him and apologized.
"Maybe we should be going — its getting late." He picked her up and they were off to her place again. He dropped her off at her place and kissed her goodnight. "Lois, thank you for tonight. I have a lot to think about."
"I hope you figure it all out."
The Metropolis Awards a few weeks later were a smash with not one glitch. Clark Kent walked away with enough awards for four hands while Lois Lane only had one. Perry sat at the table with the staff of the Planet and tried desperately to hide. He decided to make his move while Clark was gone from his table for a few minutes.
"Marilyn Jones, I'm Perr —"
"Perry White, what a surprise that you came over here from the head table. Sit down."
"Where's Clark Kent?"
"He had to goto the bathroom but will be back in a while."
"I have a proposition for you, Marilyn. How about I make a bid on your Clark Kent?"
"What, you think that I'm going to sell out to you? Perry, I thought that you were an honest newspaper man."
"Marilyn, for years you were a small newspaper, almost obsolete, and suddenly you have taken on a big venture without any change in workers or hours."
"Honestly, Perry, I have been thinking about another job offer of my own. Since the paper has been doing so well, I got a offer up in Albany as an associate editor. I really want to take it but it would leave my kids high and dry."
"Can we work something out?"
"Maybe, Perry; give me a call tomorrow. Clark's coming." Perry walked off before Clark could spot that he had been there. Clark sensed something was different about Marilyn but didn't pry for details.
A few days later, Perry showed up at the Herald with Jimmy and some papers. Clark was out on a story; Lois was covering the same one.
"Marilyn, are you sure you want to do this?"
"I'm positive … long as my employees are taken care off." She started looking over the papers that Perry had brought her to read. "This all looks good to me, and … Clark?"
"He will be taken care of …" Perry winked across the desk at Marilyn. Perry then showed Marilyn the copy of the paper already made up for tomorrow assuming nothing disastrous would occur that night. Two head shots graced the front page. The headline read,
Daily Planet Buys Out Herald
Under the main headline, it said,
Your New Investigative Team — Lane and Kent
"Lois, just give me the benefit of the doubt — I will tell you what I know. Look, you know if you write what you know on this story that I'll outdo you again." Clark tried hard not to mention the night at the Awards, or the night they were supposed to have dinner that still burned in his mind. Running up to her as she got in her car, he said, "Just at least give me a ride back into town." He did a half skip as Lois pointed reluctantly to the opposite side of the Jeep.
Driving back into town, she said, "OK, Clark, let 'er rip. I want you to tell me everything that you know."
"Not until you tell me why you played such a nasty trick on me that night when you asked me out."
"You tell ME why you snuck in, looked at my appointment book, and showed up at the same place to eat the other night?" Clark could see this was going nowhere fast, so he decided to be quiet. Just then, Lois's phone rang.
"Clark, could you get …" Clark already had it in hand and she grabbed it away like a child.
"Hello? OK, slow down, Jimmy."
"Perry wants you back here at the Planet to share in some great news. If you can find Clark Kent, tell him to come by too."
"What? OK, I hear you but can you tell me why this is … Jimmy? Damn." Lois turned the phone off and threw it in the back of the Jeep. "They want both of us at the Planet soon," she told Clark. I don't know why." Clark could swear that Lois pressed down on the gas pedal harder. After a few minutes they arrived at the Planet building.
"Come on …" Lois got out of the Jeep and stared walking toward the elevator. They rode up on separate sides the elevator and arrived at the newsroom floor. When the doors opened, a bunch of new faces looked toward the elevator and Lois looked stunned. She saw Perry running up to her.
"Lois, I have some great news." He gave her a copy of the spread for the next day.
Lois saw Clark had walked off to see Marilyn. "What is she doing here?" Lois looked down at the paper cover and then looked at Clark. He was looking at a banner that was hung above their heads. He turned and looked at Lois. Both of them went into shock, with their mouths open.
"Lois, what do you think? This is cool, huh? The best two reporters are now working together."
Lois shoved the paper back into Jimmy's hands and walked down the stairs. She headed right for Clark and turned redder with every step. "Come with me." She took him by the arm and led him to a conference room. She slammed the door behind them and looked right at him. Clark, still stunned by the news, was completely shocked. "YOU DID THIS!" Lois yelled.
"Lois, I promise you that I have no idea what's going on. Marilyn told me she quit her job. What did you hear?"
He tried to act calm, hoping that it would help Lois calm down, but he knew that was far-fetched.
"WE'RE PARTNERS NOW, YOU HALF-WIT!! ARE YOU HAPPY? GOT YOUR WISH?"
"Lois, I have no idea …" Perry walked in.
"So, what do you think, Clark? Happy to be on our team?" Perry took Clark out of the room and showed him his new desk, conveniently located across from Lois's. He then showed Clark the headline. Clark sat down in his new chair and stared blankly at the copy. "Looks like our country boy is a bit stunned. Clark, I know that you probably have some bad feelings toward me still hunkered down inside but I hope that you will forgive me and dive right into working on our team. We are truly proud to have you with us." Clark still sat blankly while Lois stood in the doorway of the conference room, fuming about the apology that Perry had just given him.
"Clark, I got another job offer and this was the best way for all of the employees. I hope you understand." Clark looked at Marilyn with a puzzled look.
"Did you push for this?" He held up the copy of the paper.
"I asked for you to be taken care of; I had no idea what he had planned. But I think you and Lois will work out fine. Besides, this way maybe you can finally get that date you've been wanting with her for so long." Marilyn just smiled and kissed him on the cheek. "I have to go." She started to walk off, and Clark wanted to stop her, but he let her go. He knew that he was home now.
Perry cleared his throat. "Now, I know that this is a big day for all of us, but we still have a paper to turn out. So, we all need to get back to work. I need my head reporters in my office in five minutes." Perry pointed at Lois and Clark and walked into his office.
Lois walked back and sat down at her desk. She flopped her head in her arms and Clark could hear her badmouthing him under her breath. He got up and walked into Perry's office.
"Mr. White, I don't think this is going to work out. She and I have been at each other's throats for a long time now and we can't give that up. I think that's what makes both of us great writers. Look at Lois."
"This is a business decision. I am in the business of selling papers. I feel that this was the best decision for you as a writer and for me as an editor."
Lois walked in, having composed herself. "OK, what is the first assignment?"
"Lois and Clark, I want you both to cover the voter tampering that was suspected in last week's election. I want to know who's involved and who should really have the judge's spot. I know this is not a huge story right now, but the big story is having both of you on the same paper."
They both nodded their heads and left his office. They went and sat at their desks; Clark fumbled through the drawers, looking to see what supplies he had, while Lois sat and watched him. He looked over at her and she quickly looked down. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him get up.
"Should we be going?" he asked.
"What? Oh, sure; let's go." Lois started to get her things when Clark gave her a funny look.
"I have to go …" He just walked off.
A few minutes later, Clark returned to the office and saw Lois fuming again.
"CAN WE GO NOW??" Clark looked at Lois and shrugged. They walked up, got into the elevator, and took off for the city hall. While in the car, Clark could hear another emergency but had no choice but to remain with Lois. He started seeing the benefits of being at the other paper: no co-workers haggling him to stick around.
"We're here. You go check out the public records office; I'm going to try to push the mayor for answers. Meet back here in an hour." Lois was definitely not any fun when she was working.
"OK." He looked at her walking off. 'I can't believe I'm attracted so much to her, yet she ticks me off with every word she speaks. An hour; time to go to work,' Clark thought and took off as Superman.
"Where have you been — I said an hour." Lois was sitting on the steps in an almost unladylike fashion.
"I got sidetracked." She got up and passed him as she went down the steps. He turned around and tried to catch up.
"You just better have something good." They returned to the office and told Perry about what information they were able to dig up.
"Clark, this is incredible. How do you get this stuff? I haven't seen research like this since Lois first started."
He looked at Lois, "Lois, your interview does give the stats some substance but most of this has been already said. OK, put it together and I'll have it out in tomorrow's paper." He handed their research back to them and continued on with his work as they walked out. They didn't look at each other; they just went to their respective corners like fighters in a boxing match.
They continued this for weeks, shared bylines but no words.
Clark passed Lois's desk and sat her coffee cup down; he had learned her idiosyncrasies and decided to at least be civil. He also looked over her shoulder and read an article that she was looking at. Just then he heard a cry for help, so he turned and left.
"Lois, where's Clark?"
"I don't know, Perry."
"Get down to the airport; we have a hostage situation. I want full coverage. I'll send Clark when I see him." Lois was already out the door before Perry finished his sentence. She arrived at the hostage crisis moments before Superman did. As did all the media, she watched intently as he scanned the plane.
'Two men; no guns on people directly. I can handle this.' With that thought, Superman crashed through the top of the plane and came out seconds later with two men, scared out of their wits. He set them down in front of the police and returned to rescue the passengers.
"Superman, it's Lois Lane …" He flew down to her, but he was scared to say anything, knowing that he was still hurt inside.
"Lois, I have to go."
"Lois." He touched her shoulder and then flew off again. She stood there, numb, while the other reporters were getting the story from the passengers. She woke from her trance and figured she needed to get a story too.
"Perry, I got it. I had an interview with the pilot of the plane."
"Great Lois, set it on my desk. I'll put it with Clark's piece."
"Clark's piece?! He wasn't even there!"
Perry turned around to Lois. "Yes, he got the story — the reason for the hijacking in the first place. It's very impressive — you should read the copy that he put on your desk." Lois walked out of Perry's office and sat at her desk. Clark wasn't at his desk, again.
She pulled out his piece from under several other things and begin to read. Little did she know that Clark was watching her from around the corner. He could see the lines around her eyes crinkle up as her face became drawn.
**RIP** She tore up the article and tossed it into the trash. At that, Clark left.
"Today on Ruthie — Men Who Can Move Things With Their Minds …" the TV went on. Clark sat rubbing down his red boots and laughing at the ridiculous TV.
He looked up at the door and gasped. "Just a minute." He raced around the apartment, cleaning up all the suits and boots that were out. He opened the door.
"Lois, what are …"
She pushed past him and into his place. "OK! THIS IS IT!!" She threw her purse at Clark. He put his arms up, trying to keep from being hit in the face.
"What?" He followed her down the steps.
"Look — I don't know where in the hell you get your information, but we are now — not that I want to be — a TEAM. That usually means that we share information and don't go around impressing bosses behind each other's back."
"Lois, I just finished up early and decided to come home."
"I want to know how you got the story. I was there and you weren't."
"I just have sources — that's it. I can't tell you." He realized that he and Lois were now yelling at each other. She was turning red in every part of her body. "Lois, I'm sorry." He tried to act calm and lower his voice.
"DON'T TELL ME YOU'RE SORRY!!!!" Lois lunged at him and started beating on his chest in a panic. "I have always been the best and I don't understand what's happening. I HATE YOU CLARK KENT — YOU HEAR ME — I HATE YOU!!!!!!"
Clark grabbed both her wrists in his hands where she couldn't hit him anymore. It didn't hurt; it was just becoming annoying. She kept repeating it over and over. "I HATE YOU! I HATE CLARK — I HATE YOU!"
He had had enough. He took a step back from her and caught both of her hands with one of his, hoping to stop the flailing. He covered her mouth with the fingers of his other hand in an effort to quiet her yells — she bit him. He acted like it hurt, and he pointed at her. "CLARK KENT! I HATE …" She trailed off, suddenly recognizing the intensity in his eyes for what it was, passion, not anger.
They stood there staring at each other, breathing hard. Clark didn't hesitate. He locked his lips on hers and kissed her hard. Lois started to fight him for a moment, but then he felt her loosen up. Believing that her anger had subsided, he released her from both his kiss and his grip.
"What was that for?"
"You are the worst … worst … UURGHH!" Lois started to pick up her stuff and sat down in the middle of the floor.
"Lois? I'm sorry about that, Lois, but ever since I first saw you I …"
She turned and looked at him sitting on the floor next to her, "Clark, I really am not the bad person you think I am. You just … your work just … Clark, are you listening to me?" She looked up at him.
"Lois, I have to go." He got up and started for the door.
"NO! Not this time. Take me with you."
"Lois, this isn't the time."
He shrugged, took her hand and her car keys. How he hated to drive!
"Where are we going?"
"Got a tip and I don't want to lose it."
Lois just looked at Clark as he climbed into the driver's side of her Jeep, and she shook her head. 'So this is how your world works, Clark Kent,' she thought.
"Where are we?" She turned and looked at him. He was leading her by the hand.
"Shhh. Stay here." He wanted to lose her somewhere safe so he could 'change'.
"Quietly, then …" He took her hand and led her around a corner. Not being able to look over his glasses caused great problems in seeing what was ahead, but he couldn't hear anything.
Lois let go of Clark's hand and he turned around. "Lois?"
He turned around and saw why she had let go of his hand.
"Come on …" a dark voice growled. Clark joined Lois in being held at gunpoint. "Let's go, you two." The gunman led them into a steel warehouse where two other men were.
"Clark, would this be a good time for Superman?"
"I don't think he would get here before they could shoot us." He saw Lois shake her head in agreement. The men had tied Lois up and were starting to tie up Clark. Clark flipped the man approaching him.
"CLARK …" Lois closed her eyes as the man next to her turned the gun on him.
"Hey, come on … this isn't the way … tell us what you want," Clark said.
"I want this woman —" he grabbed Lois "— and I want you out of the picture … you're too dangerous to the mayor's plan. Say goodbye, Lois … I forgot, you don't like him anyway." The man shot at Clark, and Clark fell.
"Clark!!" The man dropped Lois on the ground as sirens started up around the warehouse. The man took off and Lois crawled over to him.
"Are you OK? Clark?"
"Lois, I'm fine."
"But you were hit … look." She looked down at his shirt where there was definitely a hole through the back and front.
"Let me just get you free." He started to untie her as the police came to assist. "We're OK, did you get all three of the men?"
"Yes, Mr. Kent. What was going on here?"
Clark helped Lois up. "Something about the mayor. I think it has something to do with the story that we wrote." The police officer nodded and walked off to look around the site. Lois and Clark stood there alone.
"Clark, I'm sorry about all this. I just tend to barge in sometimes, and I have a problem with jealousy when my work isn't the center of attention. I just really feel stupid about this whole situation." Clark took her and hugged her without saying anything. He could feel her playing with hole in his shirt.
"Let's go, Lois." Clark drove her home, where they wrote up the story about their adventure. Lois couldn't quit apologizing nor asking why Superman wouldn't show up for something like that. Clark just reminded her that they had handled it well enough without him.
"I'll see you at work tomorrow, Lois. I have to go." Clark got up to let himself out.
"Wait." Lois ran up and kissed him goodnight, to his surprise. "Thank you, Clark Kent. I don't hate you. Actually, I …" He just kissed her, because he didn't want to know what she was going to say.