The Greatest Lesson

By Sammi Burleigh <>

Rated PG

Submitted July 1999

Summary: What if Lois hadn't known Clark's secret when Tempus kidnapped her to the alternate universe? Would she have been able to figure out the secret on her own, or would she have wound up stranded in the alternate universe without the aid of a Superman? This rewrite of the episode "Tempus, Anyone" gives us a glimpse of what might have happened.

In Tempus Fugitive, Tempus took great pleasure in telling Lois that Clark is Superman. I thought about what could have happened if he had the same bad timing in Tempus Anyone? and this story came out. Lois is still in the dark about Clark's dual identity and she's still dating Scardino (boo, hiss). I guess this could replace Whine, Whine, Whine. I'm sorry about the dialogue errors. I don't have Tempus Anyone? on tape and I was relying on memory. I want to thank Karen Ward for editing this for me.

<> are thoughts ** are words, phrases, and/or sentences with emphasis


Lois Lane was walking down the street to the Daily Planet along with Clark Kent, her partner, best friend, confidante, and sort-of boyfriend.

"Clark," she began, "can you come over tonight. I think we need to talk."

Clark nodded. "Okay. What do you want to talk about?" He was nervous, but it didn't show. What if she broke up with him for DEA Agent Daniel "Call me Dan" Scardino - or worse what if she broke up with him for Superman? She still didn't realize that he was Superman. Clark shuddered involuntarily, dreading the day she would find out, yet hoping for it at the same time.

Lois noticed his shudder. "Our relationship." <Why is he afraid of this?> she mused.

<Yep. She's gonna break up with me.> Clark thought unhappily. "Lois - I think you're right. I want to say that…" He stopped talking.

An alarm was sounding at the bank. He groaned inwardly. His second *job* was always interrupting his conversations with her.

"Lois, I am *really* sorry. I've got to … go get … a … " Clark struggled to think of a believable excuse. Not being able to, he ran off, tugging at his tie.

Lois sighed unhappily. She didn't want Dan, but he was around when she needed him and he didn't run out every time she tried to talk to him, unlike some people. She wanted Clark; she *loved* Clark. He was wonderful, but he ran off whenever she tried to talk to him about their relationship. She heard something in the alley she had just passed.

"Hi, Lois. Remember me?" a man with wavy, longish brown hair asked her.

She didn't like this man and was instinctively afraid of him. There was a maliciously evil glint in his eyes that even his glasses couldn't disguise. She shook her head at his previous question, perplexed.

He took off the glasses. "How 'bout now?" He chuckled. "Private joke. Aw, Lois, after all we meant to each other?" He pulled out a gun, aimed it at her, and gestured to the alley. She walked in and he followed. Inside was a strange machine. She had never seen anything like it before, but it was still strangely familiar.

He continued talking to her as if they knew each other. "I suppose time travel can be a real brain drain. Step into the time machine or be carried, it makes no difference to me."

"It's always something," she said as she stepped in the machine. The man pushed some buttons and pulled a lever. The machine began to make noise and quickly disappeared into the interdimensional vortex.

Lois was suddenly dropped from the vortex. She stumbled and tried to regain her balance. As Lois looked around, she could hear the man's maniacal laughter. She was in a graveyard. Lois walked around for a moment and then gasped in horror She was staring at a headstone with the dates 1967-1993 and her name was on it! Someone tapped her shoulder.

"Miss Lane?" A short elderly man wearing an old-fashioned suit and a derby hat asked. "I'm Herbert George Wells. Actually we've met before, but I doubt if you'd remember."

Lois, looking exasperated, launched into what Clark called her babble mode. "You're the second person to say that to me. Did I miss something? *Herbert George*? As in *H.G. Wells*? Ohmygod, I'm *dead*. That's why I'm standing here, looking at my grave, talking to a dead writer."

Mr. Wells smiled. He was well accustomed to Lois' babbling. "No, no Miss Lane. I assure you that you are very much alive and so am I. Shall we sit?" He led Lois to a bench in the cemetery.

He started his story. "As I speak, you will begin to remember, as if a dream recalled. Now close your eyes and let the memories come.

"We met on an extraordinary adventure. Before I was this elderly gentleman you see before you, I was a time traveler. Using my time machine, I went to the future, seeking Utopia. But instead I found Tempus, a violent psychotic with a bitter hatred of Superman. He went to the past and tried to kill Clark Kent as a baby, but you stopped him."

Lois opened her eyes. "You're H.G. Wells. I *know* you. But you're …" She trailed off, trying to be delicate, despite her legendary lack of tact.

Wells finished her thought. "Older. Yes, seventeen years older. The me you met was from 1899; the me you see before you is from 1916."

Lois didn't seem to hear him. Lost in thought, she remembered all the times that Clark had run out on her. The panicked expression hadn't been from fear of committing to her; it had been because he was worried about some disaster. Everything made perfect sense as she recalled the lame excuses, odd comments, and bits of information that one persona knew that only the other should - and could - know.

"Clark Kent is Superman."

"Yes, he is."

Lois, not wanting to deal with her newly remembered knowledge at that moment, changed the subject.

"What's going on? Why am I here?"

"Like yourself, I was kidnapped and dropped here with no clue as to why," Wells said as they walked out of the cemetery and to a street corner.

"It's Metropolis." Lois commented as she watched the normal commotion of the city. Her reporter's instinct told her that something was wrong, although she couldn't figure out what the problem was.

"No, look more closely. Is it not more dirty than clean, more dark than light? A parallel Metropolis, a sister reality, coexisting with our own," Mr. Wells said, pointing out the differences.

He picked up a copy of the Daily Planet and showed it to her.

"*Charleton Heston* is *president*?" She asked incredulously and then looked around curiously. "Why are so many people carrying guns?"

"It's a different world. A thousand similarities and thousand things strikingly different. That and a certain someone is making fire arms attractive and affordable."

He pointed to a campaign poster that read 'Tempus for Mayor, Prepare for the Enemy.'

"So, in plain English, you're telling me that Ben Hur is president and I'm worm food. Why does this keep happening to me?" Lois said sarcastically. "Who is this enemy?"

"I haven't figured that out yet. Although it's probably some diabolical scheme of Tempus'." Wells answered

Lois sighed. "Mr. Wells, can we sit down? I'm so confused."

He nodded and led her to a bench on the sidewalk.

She took a nervous breath before she started. "Mr. Wells, I have so many questions, mostly about Clark. Since he isn't here, you're the only person who can answer them. Do you mind?"

Wells looked reluctant to answer. "My dear, it's best if *he* answers these questions."

"But this is driving me crazy. I need answers. I won't ask many." Tears flooded her eyes.

Wells, like any other man, couldn't stand the sight of her tears. He sighed and said, "I'll answer what I can."

"When is he planning on telling me. I remember why he didn't tell me, but I need to know when he will. He seemed pretty happy that I knew last time."

"Soon, my dear. It will be three or four weeks."

"We've been dating for a while. Doesn't he trust me?"

"If I remember correctly, he's frightened of your reaction. He does trust you, I assure you."

"How do we get home? Can you build another time machine?" Lois asked, anxious to get back to her reality and talk to Clark.

"No. We need to get Tempus' machine. His would have a different feature,

allowing him to travel between dimensions. Unless we find his, we're stuck here. To that end, I've begun to piece something together. It's still incomplete, but with a few more parts, this should lock onto the flux facilitator of Tempus' transport, assuming it even has one."

"Well, even if you do get that thing to work, we still won't be able to get back. Not without superhelp anyway. And if things are different, but the same, maybe there's a Clark Kent here. And if there's a Clark, then …" Lois said as she started to walk faster.

Wells interrupted and finished her thought. "Then maybe there is a Superman. Precisely what I was thinking, my dear."

As they walked, Lois noticed another campaign poster. "Well, at least everything isn't bad in this world." The new poster read 'Perry White for Mayor.'

"There may even be some hope," Wells added, looking at the poster.

By that time, they were across the street from the Daily Planet. Lois sighed when she saw the cafe that she and Clark went every morning for coffee. She wondered if she would ever see him again. Then she saw him. A man with black hair, olive skin, and glasses. Clark Kent.

"Clark, Clark! Over here!" She yelled and started to cross the street. Wells pulled her back as a van came speeding across the street. A man was leaning out the window, holding a gun.

"Drive by!" someone shouted. A store owner pulled out a gun and shot at the van.

Clark Kent ran into a nearby alley to hide. Lois and Wells watched as he pulled down his glasses. Using his heat vision, Clark popped the van's tires.

Lois smiled wryly. "Come on. If he's anything like my Clark, he'll be back inside, making some lame excuse."

"Yes, quite." They walked inside the Planet. "Miss Lane, we *must* be careful here. We don't know what's different in this world."

"I'm *always* careful," Lois replied.

<You are *never* careful.> Wells thought, but wisely kept his mouth shut.

They walked out of the elevator. The newsroom was much like the one in the other dimension. People were talking on the phone, researching and writing. Perry White was shouting at everybody.

Lois smiled and whispered to Wells, "The closer we get to the lion's den, the more familiar things get."

Perry was waving his campaign poster around. "Who turned me into a pretty boy? This isn't my hair, this isn't my suit, this isn't my tie!" he shouted.

Jimmy Olsen walked up behind him. The Jimmy Olsen of the parallel universe was wearing an expensive suit instead of jeans. He had the same good nature and sense of humor, but it was twinged with a touch of arrogance.

"I did. My paper has a lot on the line in this campaign and polls show that your popularity is dropping."

"Oh, Mr. Olsen. This … this isn't me. I'm just an older word stringer from Memphis. I don't know who this is, but it isn't me."

Jimmy smiled. "It's a better you, all right? You want to win don't you?"

Lois, who had been watching and listening to the exchange in disbelief, spoke in amazement. "Oh my god."

Perry turned to see who had spoken. Disbelief was evident on his face as he said, "Great shades of Elvis! Lois, honey, is that you?"

Lois, looking very astonished, tried to smile. "Yes, it's me."

"Honey, *what happened*? I must have sent an army of people to the Congo looking for you," Perry asked.

Jimmy joined in. "Lois Lane? I thought you were lost on assignment in the Congo. What happened?"

Lois was thinking about what had happened in 1993 in her world. <The Congo? Oh, the gunrunning story.> She thought, realizing what Perry and Jimmy were talking about.

"The gunrunning story … in the Congo … three years ago. Oh, right, I was. Well, I'm fine. I'm back, obviously." Lois struggled for something else to say. "Perry, Mr. Olsen, I want you to meet a good friend of mine. This is Mr. Wells. He … runs a mission." Wells looked up, surprised by the story Lois had made up.

Perry was skeptical. "You were in a *mission* for three years?"

"I was sick"

Jimmy didn't believe her story either. "Too sick to make a phone call?"

Lois, for once didn't know what to say. Wells broke into the conversation suddenly, surprising all three. "Comatose! Quite remarkable actually. Just came out of it yesterday. First thing she said was 'Herbie, get me to the Planet.' Of course I didn't know *which* planet." He chuckled at his own story, thinking that it was nearly as bad as Lois'. Perry seemed satisfied. That sounded like the Lois he knew.

Clark Kent walked into the newsroom and headed for his desk. Lois saw him and ran toward him. "Clark!" She hugged him.

Clark was shocked. "Excuse me, but do I know you?"

Wells answered for Lois who was too stunned to speak. "Lois Lane, and still a bit feverish I'm afraid. Aren't you my dear?"

Lois still seemed to be in a fog. In this dimension Clark didn't know her, much less love her. Perry and Jimmy had already gone to the editor's office. Wells gently led Lois to the same room.

She couldn't resist taking a look back at him. An attractive blonde was hanging onto his arm. Lois recognized her as Lana Lang, Clark's high school girlfriend. Lois watched as he walked Lana to the elevator and kissed her good-bye. <Disgusting.> She thought jealously.

Lois turned to Wells. "He doesn't know me."

"This is obviously one of a series of dreadful shocks for you my dear. The Lois Lane of this universe must have died in the Congo before Clark Kent ever came to Metropolis," Wells said sympathetically.

"Well, he's the only one who can get us back to our world. We've got to get him to help us. But first I need a reason to team up with him." She dragged Wells to Perry's office.

"Lois, if you want your old job back, you've got it. That is if it's okay with Mr. Olsen," Perry said when they entered his office.

Jimmy smiled. "If everything White says about you is true, Ms. Lane, then I'm lucky to have you."

"Good, because I want to dive right into an expose. On Tempus," Lois said, getting down to business.

Perry turned to Jimmy with a grin. "See, I told you she's the best."

"And since I've been out of touch for a while, I think I should work with a partner."

"*You*? A *partner*? Are you kidding? Lois, honey, you don't need a partner. You never have." Perry clearly thought she was joking.

"I'm not kidding, Perry. This is too big for me to work on alone. I *need* a partner."

"What has Tempus done? Why is this so big? He seems like a good man and such a darn nice guy." Jimmy asked. Then he quickly added, "I'm not saying that I want him to win though."

"Tempus *is not* a good man! He's a violent psychotic! He's a nihilistic sociopath! He's a *killer*! He's dirt, he's filth, he's *pocket lint*! He's pocket lint in the pockets of *lawyers*! And he *is not* a *darn nice guy*!" Lois cried vehemently, remembering the last time she had dealt with Tempus. He had nearly killed her, Wells, and Clark.

Perry, surprised by the hate in her voice quickly agreed to let her work with a partner. "Okay, take Kent."

Lois smiled. "Fine."

"Kent, get in here." Perry bellowed.

Clark rolled his eyes at Perry's roar. "Coming, chief." He walked over to the office. Perry closed the door when Clark had entered. Clark saw that Lois and Wells were in the room and he eyed them warily. Lois' satisfied smile and the machine Mr. Wells was working on unnerved him.

Perry started with introductions, unaware of what had happened between the two reporters earlier. "Lois Lane, Clark Kent." He turned to Clark. "Clark, Lois is starting on a big expose. It's on Tempus. I want you to work with her."

"Can someone else do it?"


"What about Myerson?"

"He's busy."



"Perry, I can't."

"Do it anyway."

Perry walked out of his office with Jimmy. Lois looked over at Wells, as though she was silently asking him a question. He nodded and they left the room. Clark followed.

"So, you want to do an expose on Tempus?" Clark asked Lois.

"Yes, but first I want to talk about us," she answered. She was walking towards the conference room.

"What us?"

"Well, about you actually."

They walked into the conference room. Wells closed the door, sat down at the table, and began fiddling with the flux facilitator tracker.

"How many people know that you're from another planet? That you can leap tall buildings in a single bound? That you can bend steel in you're bare hands? That you came here in a space ship as a tiny baby?"

"Hey, keep your voice down," Clark hissed. "Are you guys from the government?"

"*Certainly not*, my boy," Wells answered emphatically, as though he was offended by the question.

"How do you know all this?"

Lois answered, "You'd better sit down, Clark. This is a *very* long and *very* confusing story. I am Lois Lane. This is H.G. Wells."

"The writer?" Clark asked. "What is going on. Both of you are dead."

"You're right, in a way. In this universe Lois Lane and H.G.Wells *are* dead."

"*This* universe? There's *another* universe?"

"Yes. Mr. Wells and I are from an alternate universe. We were kidnapped by Tempus and brought here. Tempus is the most evil man I have ever met. Before I answer your question about how I know about your powers, I need you to answer a question. Are you Superman?"

"Superman? Who's Superman?"

Lois and Wells looked at each other in panic. "You're not Superman?" they said simultaneously.

"You aren't Superman? You have to be Superman." Lois started to babble again.

"Miss Lane, I told you, things are *different* in this world. Apparently, there *is* no Superman here," Wells tried to explain to Lois.

"Why not? He has the powers."

Clark interrupted, irritated. "*What is Superman*?" he asked again.

Lois turned to Clark and explained while Wells worked on the tracking device. "In our world, Clark Kent is Superman. He maintains two identities so that he can lead a normal life and still use his superpowers to help people. He once told me that Superman is what he can do and Clark is who he is."

"I'm following so far, but how does he keep two identities and how many people know about this? How is Tempus connected to the other universe?"

"Very few people know. With the exception of about five people, everyone believes that Clark and Superman are two different people. Clark wears normal clothes and a pair of glasses to hide his face. Superman wears blue tights, red boots and a cape, and an S on his chest. Superman slicks his hair back and doesn't wear glasses."

"Tempus is connected to my universe, because he is *from* my universe. Mr. Wells is a time traveler, as well as a writer. He used his time machine to go to the future. He was looking for Utopia, but he found Tempus. Tempus hijacked the time machine and went back in time to kill my Clark as a baby. Clark and I also went back and saved his life. Mr. Wells took Tempus to an asylum in 1866 Smallville and left him. Somehow, Tempus escaped and built another time machine, which is how he got here. He went back to our universe and, as I said, kidnapped us We need your help to capture Tempus and get back to our reality."

They walked out of the conference room and headed to Clark's desk. "I'm sorry, but I'm having trouble believing all this."

Lois smiled satirically and began to tick of the stranger points of her explanations. "What? That he's really H.G. Wells? Or we're from a parallel universe? Or that Tempus is evil?"

"No. That this *other* me flies around in tights."

Lois laughed. "Well, your mother made them."

"My mom?"

"Yeah, Martha Kent."

"But the Kents died when I was ten."

Lois turned to him, a shocked expression on her face. "Oh, Clark, I'm sorry."

"It's okay. It was a long time ago. Really, I'm fine," he hastened to say after noticing her questioning expression.

"Are you?"

At that moment, Wells ran out of the conference room yelling, "Eureka! Lois, the tracking device! It's functional. It's locked onto Tempus' transport!"

Lois turned back to Clark. "Please help us get back," she pleaded.

Wells chimed in. "Yes, help us rid your world of Tempus, before he destroys it."

"Okay, I'll help. We'll meet here tomorrow morning. I'm late for dinner with my fiance. Don't do *anything* without me," Clark said as he hurried out of the newsroom.

Seeing the stricken look on Lois' face, Wells tried to distract her. "What do we do now?"

"Well, we aren't going to sit around and twiddle our thumbs until he decides to come back. We'll use the tracking device to find which building Tempus has hidden the interdimensional transport in."

"But he said to wait for him."

"Some things never change, no matter which universe. He *always* says that, and I *never* listen."

Lois hauled him into the elevator. They left the Daily Planet and started to follow the signals of the tracker to the transport. Finally, they neared the time machine.

"Just turned here and …" Wells started to say. A car pulled up and stopped in front of them. Two thugs jumped out and grabbed Lois and Mr. Wells. Tempus stepped out of the back seat.

"You know you really shouldn't walk around unarmed. My stores are offering a great deal on a twelve clip automatic - twenty four rounds with every purchase."

"Do whatever you wish to me Tempus, but I implore you, spare the girl." Wells cried.

"Oh, god, Herb. *Who* writes your dialogue?"

The thugs pushed Wells into the car and started to do the same to Lois.

"You really *are* galactically stupid, Tempus. You won't get away with this."

Tempus looked at her malevolently. "With what? Becoming mayor of Metropolis by murdering Perry White? Because someone might stop me? Big? Brawny? Looks good in blue? Gee, if only I lived in a world with no Superman. Oh, wait a minute; I do!" He laughed the same maniacal laugh that Lois had heard in the graveyard and shoved her into the car. Lois and Wells were blindfolded until the car reached, Tempus' hideout.

"Take the old man and tie him up. You know where. Major Domo, you know what to do with Miss Spunky over here. Do it!" Tempus ordered.

Lois and Wells were separated. Lois was taken to a small room where her hands were tied behind her back. She was then led, still blindfolded, into and elevator and taken to the seventeenth floor.

"Step up and then down," Major Domo instructed her. Lois decided to listen to him, since he had a gun.

She was outside. Lois tried to take a step forward, only to realize that she was on a ledge. She inched sideways, feeling for an open window.

She babbled to herself, "Okay, I'm high up, my hands are tied, I can't see, and the ledge is falling apart. Oh, this isn't good."

The ledge fell and Lois slipped. She was plummeting toward the ground. "Help! Clark, help!" she screamed.

At the last possible second, Clark soared down from the sky, caught her, and untied the blindfold and ropes binding her hands. When Lois looked up at him, she saw a very familiar expression on his face. It was the same expression that her Clark used when she jumped in before checking the water level, right after he told her not to.

"What happened?" He asked.

"The ledge broke apart and I fell."

"I realized that. I meant who did it?"

"Tempus. Who'd you think did it? Elvis Presley?" she replied sarcastically.

He ignored the sarcasm. "Let's call the police."

"Well that's one way to handle it." She started uncertainly.

"What's the other way? Or do I want to know?"

"Tempus has a good reputation here, right?" He nodded. "So the police won't believe us. And from what I've seen so far, I doubt they'd care, so we'll handle this ourselves. Come on."

She finished her somewhat incoherent response and pulled him in the direction of a ski shop she remembered from her universe. She bought a blue ski suit. The next stop was a shoe store, where Lois bought a pair of boots. The last place they went was a fabric store. She bought several yards of red fabric, red dye, and thread. When she was finished, Lois dragged a bemused and worried Clark back to his apartment.

They walked into the apartment and Lois slammed the door. "Let's get started."

"Doing what?"

"We've got to stop Tempus. He chose this universe to take over, because there's no Superman. So *we* are going to create Superman."

"Is that why you bought the ski suit?" he asked dryly.

"It's not a ski suit. Well, it is, but it's so much more than that. It's a symbol, you're making yourself into a beacon."

"Are you always like this?"

"Sorry. I'm a little high-strung."

"Lady, you're a Stradivarius," he said under his breath. Then he said more loudly, "Is this Superman really so important? I mean a guy flying around in a ridiculous suit doesn't make much of an icon."

He was more confused than anything else at that point, so Lois pulled her wallet out of her purse.

"Here. Maybe this will give you some idea of what I'm talking about." She handed him a picture of Superman.

"See, *this*," he said, pointing at the picture, "is what I'm afraid of." He flipped through the other pictures and stopped at a photo of her Clark with his parents.

"They're alive?" She nodded. "Does he … spend much time with them?" Lois nodded again. He turned to the next picture, a photo of Lois and her Clark, smiling with their arms around each other. "Is this us?"

"It's me and him."

"Are we …" He trailed off, not knowing how to phrase his question.

She blushed. "It's complicated. I've been dating him and another guy, Dan Scardino. Actually, Clark hasn't told me that he's Superman yet, and he keeps running off to save the world when I talk about our relationship. It hurt me, not knowing why he runs off, so I went out with Dan to get back at Clark. Mr. Wells says that Clark and I will get married. Now I might never see him again." She was about to cry.

"Don't worry, you'll get back to your world. I want to help you, but I don't want this." He gestured toward the picture of Superman. "I don't want to be a hero."

"Oh really? Then why did you stop the van? Why did you save me?" she countered.

"I try to help when I can, but one man can't really make a difference."

"I know things are different; I know *you're* different, but powers or no powers, one man *can* change *any* world."

Clark sighed. She had won and he knew it. "His mom made this for him? Can you sew as well as she can?"

"I think I can manage. Do you have a sewing machine?"

He nodded. "It was Mom's."

"I'll start on the suit. You need to boil some water and put the boots and dye in it. Where's the S?"

"What S?" he asked, momentarily puzzled.

"The emblem on the suit."

He thought for a minute before realizing what she was talking about. "It's in the trunk in my bedroom, in a manila envelope."

"Fine. Get to work. We've got to get Superman created and established before the debate."

"What's going to happen at the debate?"

"Tempus is going to kill Perry. Now hurry. We have a lot to do and very little time to do it." she ordered.

He obeyed.


The suit was simple to make, even for a novice seamstress like Lois. She walked over to Clark and handed him the suit. "Here, try this on." He took the suit and picked up the now red boots and walked into his bedroom to change.

Lois picked up the phone and dialed the Daily Planet. "Let me speak to Mr. Olsen," she said when the receptionist answered the phone.

"Mr. Olsen, this is Lois Lane. You need to cancel the debate tomorrow, Perry *cannot* debate Tempus."

"If we cancel the debate, Perry will look like a coward. You don't want that, do you?"

"No, I don't want Perry to look like a coward, but Tempus said that he would *kill* Perry."

"The police will be there, Lois. Do you think we need more security?"

"Yes, Jimmy, I mean Mr. Olsen, I think extra security would be a good idea. I'm working on that angle myself."

"Good. I'll see you tomorrow, Lois. And don't worry; everything will be fine." He hung up.

Lois heard a rustling. It was Clark.

"How does it fit?"

"It's a little tight."

"Well, let me see."

He walked out, wearing the Superman suit. Even though she knew about Clark's dual identity, Lois was still surprised about how much he looked like Superman. Despite what she had said earlier, Lois was still having trouble merging Clark and Superman in her mind and heart.

"Superman. Always there just in the nick of time," she whispered so quietly that even he couldn't hear her.

The alternate Clark had the same feeling of embarrassment and self-consciousness that Lois' Clark had felt when he first put on the suit. He took her startled expression and whisper in the wrong way. "I knew it. I look stupid."

"No, no. You look great. And you'll do a great job, I'm sure. But you're not, so let's get you comfortable."

"How do we do that?"

"By going out and catching some bad guys." He sighed and shook his head, but scooped her up and flew off.

Using his superhearing, Clark found a police officer in trouble. He flew down to help. There, a policeman and a criminal were holding guns, aimed at each other. Clark walked slowly toward the criminal, who shot at him. The bullets bounced off him. Clark took the gun from the man and handed it to the police officer.

The policeman was visibly shocked. He was, after all, seeing a man who was invulnerable and could fly. He said slowly, "Thanks. Uh, who are you?"

"Superman," Lois whispered only loudly enough for Clark to hear her.

"Superman," Clark repeated loudly.

"Cool name. Thanks, Superman." The officer handcuffed the man and left for the police department.

"That went … well," Clark said, surprised.

Lois laughed. "People in danger appreciate help. Believe me, I know. Let's finish helping this city. Superman's reputation needs to be established by the debate." He scooped her up and flew to the next emergency.


Tempus walked into the TV studio confidently. <Everything's going according to plan.> Major Domo had locked H.G. Wells into a closet on the set of the debate. <No doubt Lois has already put *this* Clark Kent into the tights.>

He strolled onto the stage and took his place at the podium. Perry White and James Olsen were already there. The audience was seated. The cameras started to roll.

Perry White spoke to the crowd first. Hi, ya'll. I'm Perry White. You all know that I stand for truth, justice, and the American way, but what I want to know is what Mr. Tempus stands for." He turned slightly to face Tempus. "Mr. Tempus, your whole campaign is based on the enemy. Prepare for the enemy. What I want to know is - who is this enemy?"

Tempus was expecting this question and had practiced what to say. "I had not, as of yet, had enough information to prove this, but now I do. The enemy is very real. The enemy is a horde of invading aliens!"

The listeners burst into laughter. "Aliens? You're nuttier than squirrel heaven!" Perry stated, trying to control his own laughter.

Tempus' aide rolled a TV and VCR onto the set, just as Clark, clothed as Superman, and Lois, flew onto the set.

Tempus continued as if he had not been interrupted. "Masquerading as Clark Kent of the Daily Planet, he's been among us for years, hiding and planning," The video showed Clark saving Lois. "Aided and abetted by Lois Lane, Perry White, and James Olsen."

"You've got a lot of explaining to do, Mr. Tempus," Clark said sternly.

"I think you're the one who owes this planet an explanation, invader!" Tempus replied.

Major Domo had released H.G. Wells, who hurried on the stage, carrying a bomb and looking harassed. "Be careful, Superman. He's got a bomb!" Wells warned.

<So predictable.> Tempus was well prepared to twist the statement. "Did he say a bomb? The alien's got a bomb!" People started to run to the exit. Tempus proceeded to talk. "Be aware," he said to the crowd, "there is one man who will stand up to the alien."

Tempus picked up a box and opened it. Clark wasn't concerned; he was invulnerable, but Lois knew better. She lunged at Tempus, yelling, "No!" She was held back by some of Tempus' men. Clark collapsed in pain.

"Stop. You're killing him!" Lois cried.

Tempus resumed his oration. "I am holding the alien at bay with the only substance known to weaken him."

"Alien or not, this man has rights. I'm calling the police," Jimmy stated as he dialed a number on his cellular phone.

"Sure, hide behind the law, but the people know who will protect them," Tempus returned sarcastically.

Wells walked up behind Tempus and tapped him on the shoulder. "Yes, quite. Tempus, the bomb … it's functional," he said, panicked.

Tempus dropped the Kryptonite and bolted towards the door, along with everyone else in the room. Lois ran to the Kryptonite and threw it away from Clark. Wells ran to intercept Tempus.

"You can't just leave them here with the bomb!" he shouted at Tempus.

"Just watch me."

"Normally, I abhor this type of behavior, but you leave one little choice," Wells said as he punched Tempus in the stomach. He dashed to the stage and handed the bomb to Clark, who swallowed it. He fell to the ground, not breathing.

"No," Lois cried softly.

A moment later Clark coughed and started to breathe again.

"Are you quite all right, Superman?" Wells asked.

"I'm fine, I think. What was that stuff?"

Lois answered, "Kryptonite. It came from the same planet as you. It's fatal if you're exposed to it for too long. Do you still have your powers?"

"No, the bomb took the last of my strength. Will the powers come back?"

"They always do."

Jimmy decided to interrupt. "Superman? Sort of a nickname, Kent?" he teased.

Clark smiled wanly, but didn't answer.

"Why didn't you tell us about yourself, Clark?" Perry asked softly.

Before Clark could reply, Tempus moaned, "I think I'm going to be sick. Don't start with the sappy stuff again."

"What are we going to do with him, Mr. Wells?" Lois asked.

"I'll take him back to our universe and let the police arrest him for bank robbery. Mr. Kent, will you please help me deliver Mr. Tempus to the interdimensional transport?"

Clark picked up Tempus and walked out the door.

"When I return, my dear, I'll take you back to you're rightful place and time," Wells said to Lois before leaving.


Wells dropped Tempus off and arrived back in the parallel universe. Perry was in front of the Daily Planet making his acceptance speech.

Lois smiled disbelievingly as Perry ended his speech. There were some aspects of this world that were too strange to comprehend.

"I want to thank ya'll for making me mayor of Metropolis. And now with great pleasure, I present my close friend and our former president, but you all know him better as the King!"

"Thank you. Thank you very much," Elvis said as he stepped up the microphone.

Lois turned to Clark, who was standing next to her.

"I'm sorry the secret identity thing didn't work out."

"It's okay. I can't believe that you thought a pair of glasses would keep people from recognizing me. It's kind of ridiculous."

Lois smiled wanly, thinking of her own blindness. "Don't get me started"

They stood in silence for a moment. Clark cleared his throat.

"Do you have to go back?"


"Please stay. I don't know if I can be this without you. And I … think I …" He trailed off, but Lois knew what he was saying.

"So does he."

"Does he know what he has?"

"He will."

Wells motioned that it was time to leave. Lois kissed Clark on the cheek and walked into the alley where the time machine was hidden. Wells stayed behind to say a few final words to Clark.

"I must say, my boy, I envy you."

"Me? Why?"

Wells gestured outside where a crowd was waiting. "With every eye upon you, every breath held in anticipation, you hold in your hands a world waiting to be shaped."

"I'm just not sure that I can …"

"That you can take on such great responsibility? What do you think Shakespeare meant when he wrote, 'In apprehension how like a god?' It's not that gods are anxious about their responsibilities. But with such great weight comes great understanding. Trust that, Clark, and trust that you've found your true destiny. And in you, a once hopeless world has found its future. Good luck to you."

Lois was sitting in the transport when Wells approached.

"I didn't want to ask Clark this. How does Lana feel about him being Superman?"

"Lana told him that it was either her or Superman."

"It's so sad that he's the strongest man in the world, but he's so lonely."

"One of life's greatest lessons is that love can be so fair to some and so cruel to others. Even those who would be gods."

Wells started the time machine and, after speeding through the interdimensional vortex, landed in the same alley that Lois had been kidnapped from. She hopped out of the transport.

"Miss Lane, I feel I should warn you ahead of time."

"Warn me about what?"

"I'm afraid a younger me will be stopping by on your wedding night to reverse a terrible curse that was cast upon your souls and your love many centuries ago. It will kill you and Mr. Kent should you um … well … that is to say … ah … consummate your marriage. Everything will turn out right though, don't worry."

"Thanks for the warning … I think. I'll see you later."

Lois ran out of the alley and to the Daily Planet.


Lois stepped off the elevator and into the newsroom. She looked at Clark's desk, but he wasn't there. <He's probably still on that rescue.> As she walked to her desk, Lois noticed that Dan was there waiting for her.

Perry walked over to her desk when he realized that Lois had arrived.

"Where's Kent?" he demanded.

"Probably ran away from you again," Scardino smirked.

Lois glared at him before answering Perry. "He and I were going to interview Heather Price for our story and I got a really bad headache. Clark went to the interview by himself. Today's the only day she was available to talk."

They had interviewed Heather Price the day before and come up with a dead end. But what Perry didn't know wouldn't hurt Clark.

Clark strolled into the newsroom, adjusting his tie. He headed for Lois' desk, fully expecting her to not be speaking to him.


"Hi, Clark. How'd the interview go?" Scardino asked, not believing Lois' excuse.

Lois saved him again by quickly saying, "I told them that you went to interview Price alone, because of my headache."

Clark eyed her suspiciously, but answered, "Thanks. It was a dead end."

"Well you two keep trying," Perry ordered as he walked back to his office. He didn't believe Lois' story about where Clark was for a second. He knew that she had figured out Clark's secret and was covering for him. Perry also knew that Clark didn't think that she knew. Perry walked into his office and closed the door, wishing that he could see the fireworks when they finally talked things out.

Clark looked at Scardino and back at Lois. "Do you need some time alone?"

"No, Dan was just leaving."

Clark didn't hear; he was listening to a radio broadcast. Lois noticed. <Clark's been busy today.>

"Clark, I left some notes for the story in my car. Will you go get them for me?"

She had walked to work and Clark knew it, but it was a good excuse to leave the office.

"Sure, Lois."

After Clark left to attend to the emergency, Lois decided to tell Scardino that she was in love with Clark, but she didn't want to do it in the middle of the newsroom.

"Dan, can you come over around five-thirty? We need to talk."

"I'll be there." He left and Lois started working on the story.

By the time Clark walked back in, she had finished the story and sent it to Perry. He went to her desk.

Lois smiled at him. "Clark, I've finished the story. If Perry will give us the afternoon off. Can we talk now?"


Perry read the story, accepted it, and, knowing that they needed to get everything out in the open, told them they could take the afternoon off. He just hoped they'd be speaking to each other the next day.

They walked to the elevator together.

"What do you want to talk about?" Clark inquired.

"Let's go to your apartment first. It might take a while."

They stepped off the elevator, walked out of the Planet, and hailed a taxi.

"Where to?" the driver asked.

"344 Clinton Street."

Neither spoke during the ride, but instead thought about the conversation to come.

<I didn't think I'd be so nervous. I *know* this will work out. H.G. Wells *said* that it will work out.>

<Lois is acting strange today. And she covered for my absences twice. What if she's figured it out? I'm in big trouble.>

The driver interrupted their thoughts when he stopped at Clark's apartment. Clark paid the driver and walked to the door with Lois. He unlocked the door and stood aside to let her go in. He followed and closed the door.

Lois looked at the clock. It was two o'clock.

"I'm meeting Dan at my apartment at five-thirty."

Clark winced. <I knew it. She's going to break up with me.>

"I'm going to tell him that I can't see him anymore."

Clark was speechless from shock.

Lois continued in a rush "I was only dating him to make you mad. I never understood why you kept running out on me, and it hurt. Clark, I love you."

Clark finally tried to speak. "Lois … I don't believe it. I was sure that you were going to break up with me. I love you too. So much."

Lois smiled with relief. Despite what Wells had said, she had still been uncertain of Clark's feelings for her.

"Lois, about my running off. There is a good reason for that."

<He's going to tell me.>

"What is it?"

"I leave … because I … have to … I mean I'm … or rather he's …"

<Wells was right. He *is* scared.>

"You're Superman."

"What!? How … how did you know?"

"Do you remember when H.G. Wells took us back in time to stop Tempus from killing you as a baby?"


"Well, Tempus kidnapped me today, after you left on that first rescue and took me to a parallel universe. When I saw Mr. Wells, I remembered everything."

"How mad are you?"

"I'm not mad."

"Are you the real Lois Lane?"

"I got mad at you last time I found out. I'm over it."

"Will wonders never cease?"

"Very funny, farmboy. I'm leaving."


"Like I said, I have to meet Dan."

"To break up with him?"



"I'll see you later."

She kissed him hard and left.


Scardino was waiting at her door when she got home.

"You wanted to talk?"

She nodded, unlocked the door, and let him in.

"We can't keep seeing each other."

"What!? Why?"

"It won't work out. I'm not in love with you."

"I suppose you love Kent."


"Lois, how can you be so blind? Kent doesn't care about you. If he did he wouldn't leave you so much."

"Clark loves me and I love him."

"You're a fool then. Kent is using you."

"Dan get out of here and don't ever come back."

"You'll be sorry," he said as he left, slamming the door behind him.

A few minutes later, Lois heard a knock on her window. She opened it and Clark floated in.

"How'd it go?"

"He didn't take it well. How could I have ever dated him? That pompous, arrogant, son of a -"

Clark interrupted. "Lois, relax. He gone and he won't come back. You won't have to put up with him again," he said, pulling her into his arms.

She relaxed and kissed him. "He better not."

"He won't."

Clark kissed her deeply.


Outside Lois' apartment, H.G. Wells looked at his pocket watch and smiled.

"They have finally learned the greatest lesson."

He turned and walk away.


Disclaimer: All characters belong to the person(s) who created and/or own them. Some of the dialogue belongs to the writers of the episodes Tempus Anyone?, We Have a Lot to Talk About, Meet John Doe, Lois and Clarks, Forget Me Not, Supermann, Tempus Fugitive