By Carolyn B. Schnall <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted November 1999
Summary: Lois spends a quiet evening with Judy, the psychic whom she and Clark have befriended and who knows Clark's secret. Of course, an evening with Lois Lane can never truly be uneventful.
Lois, Clark, Perry and Jimmy all belong to DC Comics, Dec. 3rd Productions, TNT, etc. All the others are mine. No infringement on their rights is intended.
Several FoLCs have expressed their appreciation of a female character like Judy to be a friend to L&C. At the risk of this sounding like a Mary Sue story, I take their positive feedback as inspiration and offer this third story in what has become a series. Although it would not hurt to read Parts I and II, I tried to make Part III stand alone. I'm sure FoLCs will let me know if I have succeeded:)
Big thanks to my big brother Neil; whose editing assistance has been uniquely invaluable and to Ritz.
As Lois Lane drove to the Metropolis University campus, she thought back on the last few weeks. She remembered the morning on which Judith Stone had first entered the newsroom of the Daily Planet. Judith had told Clark Kent, Lois' boyfriend, that she, Judith, knew that Clark Kent was Superman. At first, Lois hadn't understood what was going on or that Judy was psychic. Lois was barely speaking to Clark at the time due to his having withdrawn from her personal life.
Later, Lois had arrived in Judy's office on the Met U. campus just after Clark had been exposed to a mutated form of Kryptonite. Lois had suspected that Judy had caused Clark harm until Judy had set Lois straight. Judy had explained that she had been assisting Clark in his investigation of the mutated Kryptonite, which was the result of research conducted by a Met. U. faculty member who turned out to be disreputable.
Three weeks later, after her triumphant campus concert singing debut, Judy had been severely beaten by the same, now dismissed faculty member. Clark had tried to bring the man to justice, risking another exposure to the deadly Kryptonite. Judy's psychic abilities had come to Clark's rescue yet again. She had alerted her brother David and her boyfriend Jeremy Ross to come to Superman's aid.
The following week, David and Jeremy as well as Lois and Clark escorted Judy home from the hospital. Lois had volunteered to stay with Judy for a couple of days to help her with meals and other living activities. Some of the simplest things had proved challenging to one who had survived being beaten nearly to death, the broken bones and the resultant surgery.
Judy had been determined to go back to work as soon as possible. So, two weeks later, Judy had returned to her position as Policy Officer at Met. U. She began on a half-time basis but recently she had returned full-time once again. Tonight, in an effort to express her gratitude, Judy was treating Lois to dinner.
Judy was waiting outside the building where her office was located. Lois picked her up and, as she climbed into the Jeep, Judy gave her directions to another building on campus where the Faculty Club was located.
"I'm so glad you could make it," Judy said as she strapped in. "I wanted to treat you because you were really terrific when I came home from the hospital."
"You don't have to treat me," Lois answered, slightly abashed.
"Oh yes, I do," Judy said brightly. Lois glanced at her grin before parking the Jeep. They piled out and strolled the half block to the club entrance.
"I know you didn't look for or expect any special treatment when you helped me but you even stayed in my place for two days. Buying you dinner is the least I could do," Judy pointed out.
"Okay, buy me dinner, then." They laughed briefly as they smoothed their hair against the refreshing evening breeze.
As they approached the glass doors of the entrance to the club, Lois noticed their reflection as they walked together. She towered over Judy. Judy was like a miniature person in comparison to herself. Lois thought it interesting that she had never noticed before how tiny Judy was, except when Judy was in the hospital, which didn't seem to count. The rest of the time, Judy's large personality seemed to make her the same size as everyone else.
Their reservation was honored and they were shown to a table, given menus and brought cocktails.
"Did you bring a bathing suit?"
"Yes, it's in the Jeep," Lois answered, not sure she would really swim with Judy after their meal. Judy had suggested that they use the new pool facility after their meal as an extra bonus. Judy promised a campus tour in between to allow the meal to be digested.
"Good!" Judy exclaimed. "The salmon steak here is excellent and the salad buffet is terrific."
After they had ordered, Judy pointed out the various paintings hanging on the wood paneling around the quiet, carpeted, and plushly upholstered room. As they rose to choose from the salad buffet, Judy drew Lois' attention to some of the more interesting items in a display case. These included the first microscope owned by the university and a first edition of a doctoral thesis, which had garnered the Nobel Peace Prize. Lois couldn't help but admire Judy's effortlessly continuous yet interesting small talk. Lois would not have expected to be interested in half the items Judy pointed out. Despite her black and blue appearance and her slight limp, Judy seemed none the worse for wear and displayed a great deal of enthusiasm for everything she spoke of. Lois thought this trait seemed familiar.
"I can tell you are feeling better," Lois remarked when they returned to their seats with heaping salads.
"Really? What makes you think so?" Judy wondered.
"You were so quiet when I stayed with you. You were in pain and you seemed depressed. I didn't think that was usual for you."
"You're right," Judy said with a slightly embarrassed chuckle. "I was really down and when you weren't looking, I was crying a lot."
"You were?" Lois was stunned. "You never looked like it to me!"
"Well, my eyes don't stay red for long and one of them was covered up then anyway."
"Wow," Lois exclaimed. "What brought you out of it? What did the trick?"
"It was a combination of all the attention I got from David, Jeremy, you and Clark, andů Superman, of course." Judy had dropped her voice at the last part.
"He does get around," Lois remarked sardonically.
"But he always comes back to you," Judy stated, looking straight into Lois' eyes. "He is completely mad for you."
Lois squirmed a little, not quite comfortable with the idea, not completely used to discussing it with anyone, yet glad to hear Judy's affirmation of what she knew was the case. Lois found that a part of her was really enjoying this conversation.
As they attacked their salads, munched on dinner rolls and sipped their cocktails, Judy asked Lois how things were going at the Daily Planet. Lois gave her a brief rundown on the stories she and Clark were working on. She doubted Judy was really interested. Lois had just about decided that Judy was not listening and must be terribly bored when Judy asked a startling question.
"Are you sure the city council ever saw the report you're investigating? Maybe it was delayed and never actually brought up at an official meeting."
Lois stopped eating and didn't realize at first that she was staring.
"Or I don't know what I'm talking about?" Judy said pleasantly.
"No," Lois finally responded. "That's a really good point. I didn't think you would be interested in politics."
"You're right, I'm not, but administering a city government is probably not so different from running a school in at least a few ways. Wasn't Woodrow Wilson an academic? He went on to run the whole country."
Lois nodded and fought an old tendency to be suspicious. Judy seemed to be a straight shooter. Not competitive or manipulative. Rather like Clark, when Lois came to think of it.
"Thanks. I'll have to look into what the city meeting agenda records show."
"Glad to help," Judy said, getting on with her salad.
After a refill of their cocktails, Lois remembered meeting Judy's parents briefly and asked Judy about her childhood. Judy told her that her parents were college professors and that she'd had a very educationally enriched upbringing. Judy went on to say that once it had been established that she was musically gifted, it was easy to use that as an excuse to transfer her from the school where she had scared her classmates with her psychic abilities, and where she had been badly beaten, to another school for gifted students. Lois was absorbed with her tale, noticing no hint of bitterness or regret in Judy's recitation.
"So you were beaten up in school! That means this is the second time!"
"Yeah, that's right. I guess that was why I was crying so much."
Judy had spoken unselfconsciously and Lois was amazed at her resilience. At that moment, their food arrived and since they were hungry and the food was hot, there were some minutes of silence as they ate the first few bites.
Lois reflected that Judy's childhood was actually quite similar in some ways to Clark's. Clark had told Lois a few things about Judy's childhood and her special gifts, at Judy's insistence, early in Lois' and Clark's acquaintance with her. Lois tried to stifle the pang of jealousy she felt. All evidence to the contrary, she had been afraid Clark would fall for Judy, especially after learning they had so much in common. But Judy had always been straight with her and Lois had acknowledged that fact to Clark just recently.
"Is your salmon steak good?" Judy asked.
"Oh, yes, it's excellent. I didn't know they had such good food here."
"That's not surprising since students rarely eat here and neither does the staff, usually. I got special permission from my boss, Dr. Plotkin."
"I think I talked to him. He called your apartment to see how you were when you came home from the hospital. Sounded kind of gruff to me."
"Just like Perry White, I think. Hides how he really feels behind the 'I am your boss' exterior."
Lois found herself nodding vigorously, trying not to choke on her food for giggling, because Judy's impression of Perry had been so dead on, with a touch of Plotkin in it.
"Dr. Plotkin has been really terrific. He came to the hospital and then, during the first week after you left, he sent cooked meals to my apartment. Paid for them himself. And such a variety! One day it was Italian, the next it was Chinese, and the next it would be steak and potatoes. I think it became a game to him, something to keep his mind off Foster."
Lois looked into Judy's eyes, expecting to see anger or hostility, but finding neither. Judy nodded as if she thought Lois was thinking the same thoughts as herself.
"Such a waste of scientific research talent."
"Who? Foster? He nearly killed you! Not to mention Superman!"
"Yes, but he started out just like any other Ph.D. student, full of promise, capable of curing cancer or AIDS or just cracking the mystery of life. Had he been a little younger, he might have been one of my students. As it is, I have outlived three of my students and that was a waste of research talent, too!"
Lois found herself staring again at Judy while Judy went on with her meal. Lois was amazed at Judy's attitude and Lois doubted she would have been as loyal to the idea of academic integrity in the face of such abuses. Judy seemed to have risen above any personal anger to go along with the physical agony.
When it came time for dessert, Judy ordered coffee and one chocolate layer cake serving with two forks, declaring that,
"If it doesn't have chocolate, it's not worth the calories!"
Lois found herself laughing out loud with Judy as they competed in a friendly manner for every bite of the delicious delicacy. They earned disapproving glances from some of the more staid club members, so after they completed the meal, they escaped outside as quickly as possible.
After stopping at Lois' Jeep to pick up her bathing suit, Judy conducted Lois on a long walking tour of the campus. Lois reflected on how much the campus had changed since she had graduated. She was surprised because she had returned so often but hadn't noticed the alterations until Judy showed her specific changes. When Lois had come on campus to rescue Clark as Superman, she had been so focused on getting to the old gym building, where he suffered mutated Kryptonite exposure, that she had not really seen anything else. Prior to that, her recent visits had been at night, which concealed whole buildings from her notice.
Finally they reached the new gym building, which housed the new pool. This was where, according to Clark's information, Judy had first psychically discovered Clark's secret identity, while watching a student who resembled Clark swim.
They walked around the outside so Judy could show off the architecture. The interior dramatically lit up the glass-enclosed ceiling and consequently the night sky. They entered the building, and after having Lois sign in as a guest, they descended to the ladies locker room with modern, if not luxurious, conditions. As they changed, Lois noticed that Judy was still black and blue and a few other colors, from her injuries. The obvious fact of her recent beating did not, however, keep Judy from getting her exercise.
Judy showed Lois where the requisite shower could be obtained. Then they grabbed towels and headed to the pool level. Judy came prepared with an extra set of goggles and a swim cap, the wearing of which was also required. The pool was not crowded and they each were able to get their own swimming lane. The water was slightly chilly and Lois shrieked briefly as she got in.
"As soon as you start swimming, you'll warm up." Judy said. Lois, who could not remember that last time she had swum in an indoor pool, sure hoped Judy was right. While Lois struggled to adjust the goggles, Judy called to her,
"See you on the other end!"
Judy plunged forward in a stylish version of the Australian crawl and Lois was surprised at her speed. Then she noticed that Judy swam the entire length without taking a breath. Lois had not realized how good Judy was at this.
Mustering up all the swimming instruction she could remember, Lois took her own plunge and managed to execute a few strokes which took her about a third of the way down the length of the pool. Judy was on her third length at this point, and Lois wondered how long Judy was planning to spend in the pool. It turned out that Judy stayed in the water for three-quarters of an hour in order to swim a mile. Lois swam a few lengths, sampled the hot and cold plunge tubs and the steam room while Judy completed her routine.
Lois also found herself oddly reminded of a Salvador Dali painting when she looked at the pool clocks. There were two of them, each bearing a very different time and each clock rim was distorted out of shape. They had each obviously fallen off the wall but had weathered the impact differently.
Judy finally emerged and Lois tore herself away from watching the diving team practice to join her in the sauna. Judy suggested that Lois sit on the lower ledge right near the door, while she herself sat on the upper ledge. Once settled, Judy suggested that Lois look out through the tinted window in the door. As Lois did as Judy prompted, Judy's arm pointed forward.
"Look right there!" Judy commanded. "Do you see it?"
Lois was on the verge of asking 'see what?' when she suddenly spotted a remarkable phenomenon. Due to the angle of the placement of glass walls around the hot and cold tubs, an optical illusion was created. People walking on the pool deck appeared to be walking on water and people swimming in the water appeared to be swimming right through the people on the deck. Both sets of people seemed like ghosts. Judy chuckled as Lois exclaimed,
"That is the weirdest thing I ever saw!"
"I thought you would enjoy seeing that!" Judy replied.
After Lois had gazed at the strange phenomenon for a long time, she and Judy left the sauna, showered to cool off and took a turn in the steam room. Lois had a sudden memory. Fortunately, they had the room to themselves.
"This is where you figured it out, isn't it?"
Judy looked stunned for a moment, then realized what Lois was referring to.
"Yes, you're right. I forgot that Clark had told you about that."
"And the swimmer who reminded you of Superman … ?"
"Ramiro Martinez! I didn't see him tonight, but if I do, I'll point him out to you."
"So, someone was trying to read the Daily Planet in here?"
"Yeah, and it sure was soggy!"
They both laughed at this. As they left the steam room, Judy spotted the swimmer they had just been discussing.
"Ramiro is here! He's swimming in the middle lane. Do you see him?"
Lois looked and saw the magnificent young male swimmer plowing along, executing the spectacular and difficult butterfly stroke. As he rose out of the water on each upsurge, she could see the resemblance to Clark's build in the young athlete. She giggled as the thought of Superman flying around in a pair of brief Speedos and how it would affect the female population of Metropolis, not to mention the world! Judy took one look at Lois and, divining her thoughts, also giggled. The acoustics of the pool area made their laughter echo loudly as they grabbed up fresh towels and made their way out of the pool area and back to the locker room.
After they had each showered, spin-dried their bathing suits and dressed, they strolled together back across campus toward where Lois had left the Jeep. As they passed the music building, they could here the men's chorus rehearsing a piece that Lois really liked.
"Do you know what they're singing?"
"Yes, that's 'My Spirit Be Joyful' from Cantata 146, by Bach. And before you give me dirty look for knowing so much detail, I know because I was supposed to perform it with them."
"Why aren't you?"
"The choral director told me a few days ago that he was worried about asking me to sing again too soon after the scare about my vocal cords being injured. Actually, we were all really worried over a slight rasp I had from screaming."
Lois shuddered. Foster had really done a number on Judy.
"So, can you sing?"
"Actually, I have been, and it sounds almost as clear as it did before. I once was really sick and it took me a year to get the edge back but I think it will not take as long this time. In any case, the chorus will be having dress rehearsals for the summer concert starting next week. If I'm better by then, I'll volunteer!"
Lois matched Judy's smile. She was having a good time and she almost marveled at the thought. Usually she only enjoyed chasing news stories, mainly with Clark. Enjoying a relaxed evening with a friend was almost a new experience.
They went on chatting about the various sororities that still existed on campus when Lois noticed that Judy had gone rather quiet. Lois was afraid Judy had tired herself.
"Are you okay?"
"Actually, I'm fine. I just realized that I did not get over to the main administration office today and there's sometimes mail there for me."
"It can wait until tomorrow, can't it?"
"Yes, but when I thought about the office just now, I got the definite feeling that something is not right there."
Lois was silent for a moment. If this was one of Judy's psychic flashes, it seemed almost too much like Clark's zoning in on emergencies. It irked her.
"Why not call campus security?"
"And say what? Besides, after our last spate of episodes with Foster, I don't have much faith in them."
"I can understand that!" Lois agreed. "Do you want to go over there?"
"Yes, but it's probably nothing. I'm not a hundred percent correct on these things. If I called the authorities every time I thought something seemed wrong, I'd lose my credibility with them in no time."
Lois nodded, remembering a few occasions when she had not been believed. They turned down a path at right angles to the one they had been on and walked about a block to the building where Judy's office was located. However, they did not walk to her office, after seeing that no security guard was on duty. They turned to walk upstairs one flight and down a corridor to an office Lois did not recall seeing before.
They had refrained from speaking since they had agreed to come here. Lois felt tense but was sure Judy was nervous. Judy pulled a set of keys from her bag as quietly as possible and turned the lock, managing to open the door almost silently. Most of the lights were out, but there were enough on to see that there were many desks here, with computers and papers, chairs and binders, coffee mugs and files everywhere.
Judy deliberately did not turn on the light as she homed in on wall-mounted open letterbox sorts across the room. She put her hand in one of them and pulled it out, empty. As she turned away from the boxes, her eyes focused on something across the room. Lois followed her gaze and nearly gasped. Someone was definitely in the room, moving around, searching for something.
Judy dropped to the floor very quietly and Lois followed suit. Since Judy knew the layout of the room better than she did, Lois stayed behind her. Judy started to crawl toward the intruder on her hands and knees. Lois mimicked her. They got about halfway down the center aisle between the rows of desks when Judy peered at an angle at the other end of the room. Lois could make out a male figure, hunched over, rifling through the papers on a large desk in the back. He was becoming increasingly impatient, as each pile of papers failed to reveal what he sought.
Judy turned around and motioned for Lois to go back. They retreated and when they reached the letterboxes, Judy led Lois around a corner to a large windowless room, which was completely dark inside.
As Lois nursed a skinned knee, Judy whispered to Lois, "You may have been right in the first place. I think we need to get security in here because I don't recognize that guy as a member of the staff."
"How did he get in?"
Judy almost grinned at Lois.
"We'll find out later. Come on."
And as Judy turned to leave she came face to face with the intruder!
Judy stood up but the young man pushed her and she toppled backwards onto Lois. Judy gasped and Lois ducked. Judy fell off Lois and landed on her own rear end.
"Now you tell me, how did you get in?" he asked in a nasty tone. Lois realized that he must have been listening to them.
"I work here. What are you doing here?" Judy demanded from her ungraceful position on the floor.
"It was supposed to be none of your business!" the young man snarled. "You've ruined everything!" His tone had escalated into an angry shriek.
"We're so sorry!" Lois retorted sarcastically.
Judy shook her head violently and Lois shot her a defiant look, taking umbrage with Judy's attempt to shush her. Unfortunately, the angry young man had not liked Lois' tone. He grabbed Lois and then Judy, lifting them off the floor, and propelled them both out into the main area.
"Why couldn't they just change my grade? Why?" The young man's anger was rising, and Lois caught Judy rolling her eyes.
"Probably because you didn't earn the grade you wanted." Judy had spoken in a quiet, reasonable voice. Lois suddenly remembered that Judy had been the graduate school registrar on campus prior to becoming Policy Officer.
"What do you know about it? Did you read that letter? Where is it? Why didn't I get an answer?" The man had grabbed Judy, and Lois saw her wince with pain. Her injuries from Foster were still colorful, as Lois had witnessed in the pool. Lois tried to push him off Judy. The man shoved Lois away, focusing his anger on Judy.
"I don't know anything about it except that demanding that a grade be changed doesn't work unless you have done the course work in a satisfactory manner."
Judy was deliberately keeping her voice calm and speaking in a so-very-logical manner. Some of the fellow's energy seemed to dissipate.
"But I did the work!" His tone had turned whiny.
"Doing the work is not enough. You have to demonstrate that you learned what was being taught in the course. If you do the work but don't show that you understood the concepts or retained the pertinent facts, the professor can't give you a passing grade."
"How do you know I failed? I bet you've seen the letter!" He was yelling again.
"I have not seen the letter and I'm sorry you are so upset, but you cannot reasonably expect a professor to ignore the rules of the school and give you a grade you don't deserve."
Lois watched this exchange and decided that Judy was distracting the guy so she could sneak out and yell for Superman. Lois edged toward the door and had it open part of the way when the student bounded across the aisle and grabbed Lois back. Lois turned and took a big breath, about to yell when she saw Judy motion a big 'no' at her. Judy pointed at herself and tried to smile but the student had dragged Lois back to stand next to her. Lois was puzzled but she followed Judy's example and they gave the student their full attention.
"Okay, you are going to help me find that letter … NOW!"
Lois felt rather than saw Judy jump at his shout. Lois was then surprised that Judy was so calm when she said,
"Of course, we will help you find it."
Judy moved to a desk on the left of the aisle and Lois decided to move to the right. Judy turned on a desk lamp and Lois did the same. Judy sat down and opened the desk drawers, making a show of looking carefully through the contents.
"Of course, you will have to tell me a few things." Judy was still using her 'reasonable' voice.
"Like what?" the student asked in a rage.
"Like your name, the name of the professor, the name of the course … Like that." Judy added a little smile and cocked her head to one side. Lois was astonished at how much Judy looked like Clark at that moment. She shook the thought away. Maybe Judy was imitating him subconsciously.
"I'm Stuart Barton. The course was Philosophy 102 and the professor is Dr. freaking Frost!"
Lois saw that Judy looked slightly surprised but had no clue as to why. Judy was clearly stalling, however, because the desks they had searched did not hold grade-related files but rather ones dealing with funding, grants, patents, and research issues.
"So why did you write the letter?" Judy asked Barton. "Dr. Frost is highly respected and any complaint would engender an investigation."
"I thought the professor was a dope!" Barton answered vehemently. "He was always telling anecdotes."
"I've always found anecdotes enlightening. Keeps the lecture from getting too dry." Judy observed.
"They had nothing to do with anything. I couldn't understand any of the lectures."
"So why didn't you withdraw from the course?"
"Because it was too late. Besides, a whole lot of my classmates agreed with me."
Lois noticed Judy's slight shake of the head when he said that.
"I don't understand why you came in here looking for the letter. What does that accomplish?"
Barton stared at Judy and Lois realized from his illogical response that his actions had probably never been entirely rational. She smirked when it occurred to her that it was probably why he was studying psychology.
"I wanted to make sure it had been received. Then I wanted to find out if there was any explanation about why I didn't get an answer."
Lois realized that Barton actually had a certain amount of cunning. Judy seemed to have noticed it too.
"You do understand that these things take time. And the letter might not actually be in this office."
"I don't care. Just look for the letter or I'm going to start ransacking the place."
To punctuate his threat, he pushed a pile of papers off the nearest surface. Judy went back to looking through the first desk and then another. The student stood solidly between them both and the door. Lois was only half-heartedly searching, staring more at the student, and trying to figure out if she could manage calling for help without the kid noticing. Judy seemed really to be searching but was taking her time.
Barton was getting restless. Judy looked up and smiled reassuringly at him as she moved to a third desk. Lois moved to her second and found files that dealt with fellowships and scholarships. The student was pacing now, and Judy made a big show of moving to a fourth desk as Lois shifted to her third. Judy had carefully left each desk light on in her wake so that the room was gradually being lit up more and more. Judy had glanced toward the windows behind Lois a few times. Lois tried to steal looks in that direction as well. Judy was definitely expecting someone to show up.
The kid's impatience was palpable and Lois started to worry that he would explode. Judy was looking worried herself, the assumed nonchalance slipping somewhat. Lois saw for herself why. The desks further back bore signs with titles of the people who worked there. These were undergraduate registrars' desks, and Lois was now worried that she or Judy would actually come across Barton's letter and give the whole game away. At one point Lois made a wavy hand signal at Judy, and Judy shrugged. Lois was not sure whether Judy had realized she was referring to Superman. Lois wondered if Judy had shrugged because she did not understand Lois' signal or she really did not know if Superman was expected.
By the time Judy hit her sixth desk, with Lois still one desk behind, the shadows in the room were being dispelled by the eleven desk lamps. Judy shot Lois a significant look. She had found Barton's letter and was trying to show it to Lois. Lois could tell from across the aisle that the letter bore many signatures and was more like a petition. Lois briefly thought about how hard it might be for a professor to deal with his students ganging up to complain. Judy frowned her disapproval and folded the letter into her pocket.
Barton's radar was working too well, however. He was hovering over her in a second and pulled her to a standing position.
"What do you have there? What was that?"
"I told you I work here. I found something I was looking for." Judy was using her ever-so-calm voice again but Lois thought Barton was not buying anymore. She glanced around and, finding a three-hole punch at hand, she lifted it and lodged it at Barton's head. Lois shrieked as she missed and hit Judy instead. But Judy kicked Barton in the shins and the two women met in the main aisle at a full run. Barton was enraged and followed them, and Lois nearly panicked as Barton grabbed her wrist.
And suddenly, Superman was hoisting Barton towards the ceiling.
Judy walked to the nearest desk and dialed the on-campus version of 911. The previously missing building guard was the first to arrive, fortunately for Barton, who was completely intimidated by Superman's strength and anger. Superman turned Barton over to the guard and hurried over to Lois and Judy.
"Are you both all right?"
'Yes, we are both just fine," Judy reassured him, looking relieved to see him. "So glad you heard me screaming for you."
Lois stared at her. Judy proceeded to enlighten her.
"I mentally called for help from Superman the minute Barton discovered us. And he heard me!"
Lois was wide-eyed but she was also fuming. "Where were you all this time, then?"
"Sorry, Lois. There was a fire at a summer camp in Korea, and an earthquake in Mexico."
"Oh," Lois said, all the energy draining from her complaint. She had always hated it when there were bigger emergencies than her own.
"Can't take you anywhere without needing Superman, huh?" Judy joked, and Superman and she laughed. Lois did not.
"Uh, see you both later," he said, and was gone. Moments later, he walked through the door as Clark. "What was up with that guy, anyway?"
"He managed to get a fair number of his classmates to sign a letter of complaint about one of our most prestigious psychologists. It was more like a petition."
Judy pulled the letter out of her pocket and showed it to them.
"He didn't admit it but I think he wanted to take the letter back and make it disappear. When he didn't get a response, he got nervous. I told him there would be an investigation and I saw evidence that one was started." Judy suddenly looked very tired. "Let's get out of here."
"Can I see you both home?" Clark offered. "Nothing would please me more than to escort you two lovely young ladies."
Judy grinned at him and Lois nodded knowingly, enjoying his gallantry despite her pique at his seemingly slow arrival. She was in danger of becoming grumpy old Lois again. And yet, she'd had a good time. Judy was a tonic to her. Lois shrugged off the resentment. Time to celebrate their rescue by that super guy in their lives.
Two weeks later Lois and Clark were back at the University for the summer's end concert. The men's chorus was performing its concert and they were nearing the finale. As Clark slipped his arm around Lois' shoulders, the part of the concert they had come for was approaching. Judy came out on stage in a red, low-cut gown, smiled, and looked radiant.
Lois recognized the strains of the Bach cantata being heralded on the piano. Then the chorus and Judy, executing a special soprano solo arrangement, sang about their spirits being joyful and Lois knew even before the thunderous applause that Judy was going to be all right. Glancing up at Clark's smiling face, Lois felt her own spirit become joyful because she and Clark were all right, too.