By Tank Wilson <email@example.com> and Wendy Richards <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: February 2001
Summary: In the episode "Pheromone, My Lovely," Clark was not affected by the pheromone compound. But what if he had been?
Tank says: A while back on the boards it seemed that there was a story or two being posted using the premise of PML. In the series Clark wasn't affected by the pheromone but later he was by the Space Rats spray, so I wondered what might happen if Clark had also been affected by Miranda's little concoction. So, as I've been known to do in the past, I wrote a little (very short) 'punchline' vignette. I think the gentle reader will be able to tell where that punchline was. I posted said vignette to the board and left it there for all to do with as they will. As has happened to me before, some of the readers felt that it should be continued… I didn't. An apparent newcomer on the boards, calling herself Jane Doe, asked for permission to extend the little throw away. I didn't care, so she did. The end product was a full blown short story of which I had little to do with but the initial 'punchline'. Oh, and by the way; it turned out to be a very good short story, but then once Jane's true identity was revealed, that was no longer a surprise. I will admit that I didn't catch on during the posting of the subsequent parts as to the secret identity of this new writer, but then so were many others. Besides, she also cheated by altering her style a bit to throw us off. But then I'll let you, the gentle reader, decided if you would have caught on, or been fooled like most of us.
Wendy says: I seem to have something of a reputation now for finishing Tank's evil little stories. This one was particularly evil, in that it left us all gasping at his audacity and desperate to know what happened next. Tank, however, was insistent that we would not find out — at least, not from him! I was already posting another story on the boards, though, and felt somewhat reluctant to post a second at the same time. Coincidentally, I'd been toying with the idea of experimenting with posting a short story under another nickname, to see whether my style was as recognisable as people sometimes suggest it is. Thus 'Jane_Doe' was born. I did alter my style in one small respect, and I also used US spelling and vocabulary as far as I was aware of it. To my amazement, although one or two people wondered openly who 'Jane_Doe' was, no-one guessed her identity. One person even decided that she couldn't be me, because of the one small change I'd adopted. Anyway, once the entire story was posted, I revealed myself, which is why the Archive version of this story is posted under my real name. I blame it all on Tank, though: if he hadn't created such an audacious plot development in the first place, I wouldn't have been driven to continue it!
All rights in the recognisable characters in this story belong to DC Comics and Warner Brothers, and no breach of copyright is intended in their use in this work of fiction.
Clark, Lois, Jimmy and several other bullpen reporters wrinkled their noses in disgust as a shapely blonde waltzed by spraying something into the air as she went. Clark didn't pay much attention to who she was or why she was there; he was too focused on the horrible odor of the stuff.
As the day continued on Clark noticed that he had a hard time focusing on his computer screen. His head seemed kind of foggy, like he couldn't think straight. The facts and figures he was trying to check for his story on the Mayor's new budget proposal seemed to dance tantalizingly in front of him, never quite making any real sense.
He found his thoughts continually straying back to Lois. Now, that wasn't an unusual situation for him, but this was different. He kept fantasizing about himself and Lois in very compromising circumstances. Clark kept sneaking peaks over at Lois. She looked even more incredible than she usually did. Her skin was slightly flushed as she unbuttoned the top couple of buttons on her blouse. She absently played her fingertips across her lips as he noticed her sneaking glances over at him.
Finally, he'd had enough. He'd decided that he was going to act. He would deny his feelings no more. He knew he loved Lois, and he was going to tell her. He gave no thought to what she might or might not say as he shut his computer off and turned.
Clark found himself face to face with Lois, who'd already come over to his desk. She perched herself on the corner of his desk, her skirt riding up exposing quite a bit of her long, shapely leg. She drew her finger nail along Clark's cheekbone. He found himself reacting to her move by capturing her finger and gently sucking the end of it.
"Clarrrk, you know what we should do?" Lois' sultry delivery made the simple statement sound quite provocative.
Clark placed his own hand along her cheek. "I think we should, maybe, get out of here," he answered in a husky whisper.
Her smile was wide, and luminous. She bounded off his desk and, grabbing him by the hand, the two of them hurried up the ramp toward the elevators… and freedom.
Forty-eight hours later.
Clark slowly pulled himself out of the depths of a hard, dreamless sleep back into the world of consciousness. His head ached worse than he'd ever felt before. Some small part of his rational mind told him that this must be what a typical headache felt like. He didn't know why he was experiencing it now, but he was glad that such things weren't the norm for him.
As his eyes finally began to focus he was startled to see that he didn't recognize the room around him. His eyes locked on the cheap wallpaper, and the horrible decorator paintings that adorned the otherwise plain walls. A simple low chest of drawers sat tight to the wall a couple of feet from the edge of the bed. He couldn't remember how he got there, but it was obvious that he was in a hotel room.
As he turned his head to the other side of the room, he quickly noticed that he wasn't in bed alone. He sat bolt upright, a move his head regretted immediately. There was no mistaking the petite, beautiful brunette lying next to him in the queen-sized bed. Lois had her back to him, but he'd know that fantastic body anywhere. The way her dark silky hair fell across her creamy shoulders, the way… Clark shook his head trying to clear it. What was he thinking? What was he doing here? And more importantly, what was Lois doing here — with him!
He watched as Lois mumbled something in her sleep and began to roll over toward him. In a near panic, Clark looked around for his glasses. Finding them on the nightstand next to his side of the bed, he quickly put them on. He barely had them in place when Lois' eyes opened.
At first her sleepy face was arranged in a pleased, contented look. As her eyes began to focus, Clark could see the changes take place as first confusion, then recognition took hold. Her eyes got real wide, then her head snapped around, taking in their surroundings. She too sat bolt upright, a move that Clark imagined didn't feel any better for her than it had for him.
Holding the sheet up close to her chest Lois stared accusingly at Clark. "Where are we? What did you do?"
"Lois, I have no more idea of why, or where we are than you do!" Clark waved his hand around in a gesture of futility. "Last thing I remember is being at the Planet trying to write a story on the mayor's budget."
Clark could tell that Lois didn't entirely believe him, but he shrugged again for her benefit. She reached over to the nightstand on her side of the bed and, grabbing the remote, clicked on the television. Both Clark and Lois paled as they listened to the news report. Lois quickly turned off the set.
Lois turned to Clark, genuine fear in her eyes. "Clark? Did we really lose two full days?"
Clark knew his own expression was one of complete confusion. "I don't know. It appears so."
Clark glanced about the floor trying to locate his shirt and pants when a shriek from Lois commandeered his attention. She was holding her left hand out in front of her. Her voice was shaky.
"Ohmigod! what did we do?" She was staring at the third finger of her left hand.
Clark felt his heart skip a beat as his own eyes were drawn to the beautiful diamond ring adorning Lois' finger. Fearfully, his gaze was forced down to his own hand. Surrounding the third finger of his left hand was a simple, tasteful band of gold. When he brought his gaze back up to Lois, he could see that she was looking at his hand also.
Unmindful of his near total state of undress, Clark tossed back the covers and wandered over to the table set in the far corner of the room. He'd spied a piece of paper lying there. Once there, a quick read confirmed his suspicions. Holding the paper tightly in his hand he came back and sat on the edge of the bed.
Lois' voice had regained some of its strength. "What is it? What does it say?"
As he turned to look at Lois once again, Clark couldn't help but smile. His dream had been answered. He held it out in front of her so she could see it.
"It says we're married, Lois."
Lois stared at Clark, horrified. Then she sprang out of bed, remembering just in time to wrap the sheet around her, and ran over to grab the paper from him. He hadn't been kidding. It was a marriage certificate, issued in — of all places — *Las Vegas*!!
"Oh my God!" she exclaimed, close to tears. "I… really… did this? And *Las Vegas* of all places? How much more tacky can you get?"
"Uh… I guess not a lot, Lois," Clark agreed, noting her appalled reaction with a sinking feeling. He shouldn't be surprised, he supposed. After all, when had Lois shown any signs of being interested in him? Him, as opposed to Superman? And, now that his head was beginning to clear, he was figuring out that something really weird had happened to both of them. He certainly didn't remember what had happened, or how they'd ended up married, and it was obvious that Lois didn't either. Somehow, they'd been acting out of character; he had no idea what had caused it, but it was just as obvious that whatever it was had worn off now.
And now, they had to deal with the consequences.
Wait a minute… Las Vegas?
*How* had they got to Vegas?
He hadn't… had he?
Clark closed his eyes in a brief moment of agony as it occurred to him that, on top of everything else, he had probably revealed himself to Lois as Superman. That would have been the obvious way to get to Las Vegas, unless somehow in this drunken stupor, or whatever it was he'd been under, he'd remembered to keep his identity a secret. But, since his intention had clearly been to *marry* Lois, why would he have worried about keeping Superman a secret?
Unfortunately, it was only too possible that he had told her.
Lois, meanwhile, was oblivious to the thoughts going through Clark's mind. She was staring at the marriage certificate in total disbelief. <What have I done? Am I completely crazy?! To marry *Clark Kent*? >
Then her gaze was caught by the rumpled bed, from which she'd just emerged so precipitately. She'd been in that bed. And *Clark* had been in that bed *with her*. They'd been in bed *together*!
And… and they'd lost two days. And they were married. Did that mean… did that mean that she'd *had sex* with Clark?
Now that she thought about it, she did feel kind of tender… It had been some time since she'd been intimate with a man, so… Oh, god! She *had* had sex with Clark! And she wasn't even using any birth control!
She ran to the bed and began to search the nightstands, the bed itself, and the floor around the bed.
Then she hurried into the bathroom, tripping over the sheet as she went, and searched the trash can. Still nothing. <He could have flushed them down the toilet> she told herself. That was it. Surely she wouldn't have been so careless as to have sex with Clark without birth control? Surely *he* wouldn't have been so irresponsible?
<But would he think it was irresponsible? You're *married*!>
"Lois?" Clark's tentative voice interrupted her frantic thoughts. "Are you okay?"
"Okay?" She marched out of the bathroom and glared at him. "Okay?! I have just woken up to find that I've lost two whole days. I don't remember one moment of that time. I find myself in *bed* with a guy I work with, with whom I have *no* romantic relationship whatsoever, and I have never had any desire to go to bed with. And I then discover that, somehow, *God* knows how, I'm *married* to him. *Married*! And I don't even remember saying 'I do'. Yeah, I'm okay. I'm just fine!"
Clark winced. He knew Lois didn't care about him the way he loved her. So naturally this was hardly the kind of situation guaranteed to please her. But did she *have* to make him quite so aware that this was about her worst nightmare?
He was about to suggest that they get dressed and try to figure out what had happened, but before he could speak she was ranting again. "I'm going to find out exactly what you did to me to get me here, Kent. And then I'm going to sue you for abduction, false imprisonment and — probably — rape too. You're going to wish you'd never laid a finger on me!"
Something froze inside him, and he turned away. "Think what you like, Lois. Do what you like. I'm going to get dressed and figure out where we are," he muttered coldly.
Lois became aware for the first time of his state of undress, and flushed. He was wearing… shorts. Just shorts. And his body was every bit as good — no, as *perfect* — as it had been that day she'd called at his hotel and found him dressed in a towel.
She'd had sex with Clark. And, somewhere inside her, she found herself thinking that if she *had* had sex with such a gorgeous man, it would be nice if she could at least *remember* it! Especially as it was *never* going to happen again…
"We'll have to get an annulment," she muttered to herself as Clark gathered up his clothes, which were scattered on the floor.
"Ummm… Lois, I'm not sure we can," he mumbled, clearly embarrassed.
"Ah… I'm guessing, since we were in bed together, that we probably… uh… consummated the… uh, marriage," he stammered, sounding extremely uncomfortable.
He was right. They couldn't get an annulment. It would have to be divorce, then. But then what he'd said filtered through to her brain. "You don't *know* whether we did or not?"
This time he looked at her. "I told you — I can't remember a thing! The last thing I remember is being in the newsroom." Now he looked belligerent, as well as hurt, which was hardly surprising in view of the things she'd just accused him of. And, now that she stopped to think about it, she'd accused him unfairly. She knew Clark. And the Clark Kent she knew would not do any of the kind of things she'd accused him of.
And it was perfectly clear that Clark was just as confused as she was.
She took a deep breath and walked over to him. "Clark?"
"Yeah?" he muttered.
That made him look at her. "For what?"
"For what I said to you. I know you wouldn't do anything like that. And I'm sorry I thought you did." She gave him a wry, apologetic smile.
He looked at her in silence for a long moment, before relaxing his stance fractionally. "It's okay, Lois. I understand. I know this has to be a shock for you."
"For you, too," she acknowledged.
He sighed deeply. "Yeah."
"Look, let's both get dressed and then figure out what we're going to do, okay?" she suggested.
He nodded. "You want the bathroom first?"
She accepted gratefully, grabbing her clothes and shutting herself in the bathroom.
Clark sat on the bed, head in his hands, and tried to figure out what could have happened. Obviously, both of them had been affected by *something*, but he had no idea what it could have been. Alcohol didn't affect him, so it couldn't be that. Some sort of drug? But he was resistant to just about all drugs, as far as he knew.
At least, if Lois didn't remember anything at all about what had happened, then if he had flown her to Las Vegas himself his secret was safe. She clearly had no memory of anything from the last couple of days, and she hadn't once mentioned Superman.
She *had* mentioned having sex with him… It was obvious that they'd made love. *He'd* made love for the first time in his life — and with the woman he loved — and he couldn't remember a thing! That was bitterly ironic. He'd waited all his life, until the age of twenty-eight, to have sex, because he was waiting for a woman he could love, a woman he could share everything with, including his secret.
And now that he'd finally made love with the woman he loved, he couldn't remember a thing!
Had it been good? Had he enjoyed it? Had *she* enjoyed it? Had he been able to satisfy her? Had she noticed anything… different… about him due to his alien origins?
He shrugged miserably. He was never going to know, and he wasn't going to get another opportunity to find out — not in the near future, anyway. Lois had made her feelings about being married to him abundantly clear.
And it was pretty obvious that the first thing they were going to do when they left the hotel was see a lawyer.
He looked over at the bathroom door, resisting the temptation to peek inside. Lois was showering. She was in there, naked. She'd been in bed with him, naked. And he still had only his imagination to tell him just how beautiful she would be without clothes.
That was *not* what he should be thinking about. Clark forced himself to recite the alphabet in Sanskrit — backwards.
Lois emerged, dressed, from the bathroom, standing aside to allow Clark to pass her. He didn't look at her as he did so, and moments later she was alone in the bedroom.
This was a *disaster*! She needed to get home as soon as possible — the blouse and skirt she was wearing were crumpled and the blouse looked as if it had been ripped off her; a couple of buttons were missing, and the hem was torn. Then, when she'd changed, she would have to call in sick. She had to see a lawyer, and start divorce proceedings as soon as possible.
Was temporary insanity at the time of the marriage ceremony grounds for an annulment?
She reached into the nightstand to find the Yellow Pages; while she was waiting for Clark, she might as well make an appointment. But the book she pulled out was not the Metropolis issue. Instead, it had 'Las Vegas' emblazoned on the front.
It dawned on her then. They were still *in* Las Vegas!
"Clark!" she yelled.
The bathroom door opened, and her *husband* looked out, hair wet and tousled, a towel slung around his shoulders, and with half his face shaven. "What's wrong?"
"Do you know where we are?" she demanded.
He frowned. "A hotel room somewhere."
"Not *somewhere*," Lois retorted. "Las Vegas!"
"Oh." Comprehension dawned. "We're thousands of miles from home!"
"Yeah." They must have been so impatient to… to go to bed together that, once the marriage license was signed, they'd gone straight to a hotel rather than waiting to go back to Metropolis. That also meant that they probably hadn't stirred from the hotel in two days. "Oh, god," Lois muttered again.
"Oh, god," Clark muttered, withdrawing to the bathroom to finish shaving. They were still in Las Vegas. That meant they had to get back to Metropolis. And, if his guess was right, they'd flown out by Superman Express. So no air tickets… and if he knew Lois, she'd be looking for the return halves of their tickets right now. Okay, he could suggest that they could have bought one-way tickets, but she would still be suspicious.
And anyway, how were they going to get home? From what he'd seen when he'd been gathering up his clothes, he hadn't brought anything with him other than the clothes he stood up in. His wallet was there, sure; but he'd looked, and there was little cash there. That led him to another thought: had they paid for the hotel room?
His credit card. He had to have his credit card with him. Okay, he'd be paying it off for months to come, but he could pay for the hotel room, and two one-way tickets to Metropolis.
Unless… unless he came clean and offered to fly Lois back himself?
Where had that thought come from? he asked himself, staring into the mirror in amazement.
<She's your wife. She deserves to know>
She was only his wife due to some *appalling* mistake, Clark reminded himself. Theirs was a marriage which was going to cease to exist at the earliest possible opportunity, if he knew Lois.
And he didn't even have any memory of making love to her.
Clark groaned again.
With nothing to do but wait for Clark, Lois clicked the TV on again and began to flick through the various channels on offer. She discovered that the hotel's cable package included LNN, and quickly found that channel, eager to see what had been happening in the past couple of days. Selecting the text option on the remote control, she scrolled down the menu of news stories.
Suddenly, one item caught her eye.
METROPOLITANS RECOVER FROM THE 'LOVE BUG'
She quickly selected that page and scanned the screen. It seemed that Miranda, a well-known chemist and perfumier, had devised a perfume which contained a pheromone which made people react in unusual ways — usually by seeming to fall in love with the first person they saw. Lex Luthor had exposed her, apparently, and she was now under arrest. But all over the city, people were gradually coming out of a pheromone-induced trance, discovering that they'd done some totally crazy things.
Like barricading themselves in a closet and having mad, passionate sex. Like writing love poetry to the woman of their dreams. Like getting into passionate clinches in broad daylight.
Like… running off and getting married.
She and Clark had been under the influence of the pheromone when they'd gone to Vegas and gotten married.
Lois heaved a sigh of relief. At last, a rational explanation for what had happened! And if this pheromone's effect was known and understood, maybe there was a chance that they could get an annulment after all?
The bathroom door opened suddenly, and Lois swung around to face Clark, intending to tell him the good news. But he was advancing toward her with a strange expression on his face… a look which told her that he was certainly not interested in listening to anything she had to say right at that moment. Clark had something else on his mind.
He stopped in front of her, watching her intently. Then he took a deep breath and began to speak, his voice sounding strained. "Lois, I know you don't want to be married to me, and I know that the first thing we're gonna do when we get back to Metropolis is set about getting a divorce. But I have to tell you, I can't just say nothing… I have wanted to make love to you since the day I met you, Lois. I've thought about it, dreamed about it." His face was taut, and his eyes bored into hers as he continued his passionate declaration. "And now, it's finally happened, and I don't remember a darned thing about it! And… just once, before all this ends, I want to do this…"
Lois's heart almost stopped as Clark came closer and bent toward her. What did he intend? Did he mean that he was going to take her to bed? — make love to her again? She didn't want him to do that, surely?
Why wasn't she pushing him away? Running? Screaming?
She was rooted to the spot, watching him move closer, unable to voice a protest.
Clark saw Lois's half-fearful, half-fascinated expression, and murmured, "Just a kiss, Lois. I just want to kiss you once, so that I can remember it. That's all…"
She was gazing up at him, her lips slightly parted, her eyes wide. Those eyes… dark pools so deep, so fascinating, he could drown in them. He could hear her heart beating; it was beating faster than normal, and a pulse was racing in her throat. Slowly, so slowly, he lowered his head to hers, giving her plenty of time to object and move away.
She didn't. Instead, she swayed toward him.
He raised his hands and cupped her face in his palms, tilting her mouth to him. Then he brushed his lips over hers, lightly and delicately at first, and then again, applying a little more pressure.
She responded. Almost unable to believe it, Clark caught his breath, then kissed her again. Her lips parted beneath his, and he slipped his tongue into her mouth, tasting her, deepening the kiss.
Lois moaned deep in her throat and wrapped her arms around Clark's neck, pulling him closer. His kiss was driving her insane, sending her senses reeling. How was it she'd never known Clark Kent could kiss like this? Okay, she'd always known he was attractive, though she'd refused to admit it, even to herself. But this was *more*. Far more. How come she'd never known?
<That doesn't matter. What's important is that you know now> her inner voice told her as it urged her to make the most of this moment, to savor the intense passion Clark seemed able to incite in her. Heat was spiraling inside her, tendrils uncurling themselves in her stomach and spreading through the rest of her. What was she thinking of, wanting to let him go?
His arms enfolded her, caressing her back, molding her against him. There wasn't a part of her body which wasn't on fire for him, yearning for him. It was as if…
…as if her body was recognizing its mate.
Her breath catching, fear striking at her, Lois tore herself away from Clark and stood, breathing heavily, trying to come to terms with what she'd just discovered.
She wasn't just attracted to Clark.
He was her soul-mate, the one man who was meant for her.
And her body knew that. Whatever about her own feelings, her body already knew this man intimately, and wanted to be with him again. She was still on fire for him.
And she was terrified by the realization.
Clark was watching her, uncertainty as well as dazed passion in his face, and, unable to bear his scrutiny any longer, she turned away. She needed time to think, to come to terms with what her heart and her body were telling her.
She *wanted* to fling herself back into his arms, tell him to forget all about getting a divorce, and just finish what he'd started.
She *wanted* him to tell her that he loved her.
She *wanted*… to tell him that… she loved… him.
And that terrified her.
Clark? She was in love with Clark Kent?
Maybe it was the pheromone still, she told herself. Maybe it hadn't totally left her system. Maybe Clark kissing her had just awoken the last remnants of its potency, and so none of this meant anything. Maybe, if he kissed her again in a day or two, she would feel absolutely nothing.
And maybe she was forgetting the times they'd kissed before. On the plane, for example, before Trask had thrown her out. He'd packed quite a punch then! And only a week or so ago, when he'd quit the Planet — he'd brushed a tender kiss across her lips as he'd said goodbye. And that had had more of an effect on her than she'd allowed herself to recognise.
Maybe it wasn't the pheromone.
Her foot brushed against something, and she noticed the bedspread lying in a heap on the floor, where they'd no doubt thrown it some time earlier. Grateful for the distraction, which meant that she *didn't* have to turn and face Clark just yet, she bent and grabbed for it, intending to throw it back on the bed.
But, as she lifted it, she caught sight of some brightly-colored fabric underneath. Blue. Bright blue. And red. A very familiar shade of red.
With a stylized 'S' on it.
Stunned, Lois dropped the bedspread and bent to pick up Superman's suit.
Clark stared, unable to move, his gaze fixed on the sight of Lois holding his Suit. He had no idea how he was going to get out of this one. What explanation could he give for Superman's suit being in their hotel room, in Las Vegas?
None. Absolutely none, except for the truth.
But, in the present circumstances, how could he tell her? What would her reaction be? Would she be mad? Or delighted? Or… something else again?
It was hard enough for him to work out what she was thinking in response to their kiss. Okay, she'd kissed him back pretty enthusiastically… well, *very* enthusiastically. But she'd broken off the kiss, and had avoided his gaze afterward. So what did that mean? Embarrassment? Second thoughts? Sheer horror that she'd allowed it to happen in the first place, with *him*?
And… and she was still holding his suit, and staring at it, and now she was looking up at him and there was a *huge* question in her face, and she was about to say something, and…
…and he needed to come up with an explanation *now*!
His brain frantically tried to send signals to his mouth.
He opened his mouth hopefully.
"Uhh… Lois… I have *no* idea how that got there," he began, staring at her helplessly.
Clark had no idea just how much he resembled a landed fish, Lois thought. Just like a guilty schoolboy who'd been found out in some misdemeanor.
And Superman's suit…
<Oh my god…>
Her mind suddenly flashed back to fifteen minutes earlier, when Clark had stuck his head around the bathroom door in answer to her shocked yell on discovering that they were still in Las Vegas. He hadn't been wearing his glasses. And, although it had completely failed to register at the time, there was something very strange about that visual image of Clark without glasses…
Clark was still giving her that deer in the headlights look, his mouth half-open. She let the Spandex fall to the floor and, before he could react, she marched right up to him and grabbed his glasses, pulling them off his face. He tried to grasp her hand as she drew his glasses away, but then let his hand fall back to his side.
Lois stared up at him, her eyes widening as she put all the pieces together.
Clark's continual disappearances.
His lousy excuses.
How it was that he always seemed to get Superman exclusives no-one else could get.
How he knew things that Superman knew.
And… his amazing resemblance to the superhero.
"You're him!" she accused.
Suddenly, Clark smiled. It was the weirdest thing… Now that his secret was out in the open, for some reason, he felt perfectly calm, even amused. He didn't feel at all like he'd ever anticipated that he might in this situation. He wasn't scared or anxious, for one thing. There had been a time when he'd wondered if Lois might reveal his secret, if she found out; now, for some reason, he felt confident that she wouldn't. And, while he still thought that there was a strong possibility that she was going to be mad, that didn't give him cause for concern. He could handle it if she was.
"Actually, he's me," he pointed out mildly.
"He's me. I'm Clark," he explained, jabbing his chest with a finger.
"Yeah, but you're Superman, aren't you?" Lois objected.
"Some of the time," he conceded. He could see that he was confusing her by his reaction, and he loved it.
"And the rest of the time?"
"Then, I'm Clark Kent. Farmboy. From Kansas. But originally from Krypton. Adopted son of Jonathan and Martha Kent. And…" He paused deliberately, smiling wickedly. "And husband of Lois Lane."
She paled, and he flinched. All amusement gone, he inhaled deeply, a ragged breath, and said jerkily, "Lois, it's okay. I know you hate the idea of… of being married to me. And I promise you that we'll get it sorted out as quickly as possible. I'm sure we can get a good lawyer, and the divorce won't take any time at all…"
But she wasn't listening to him. Instead, she was staring at him, eyes wide. "I'm married to Superman!" she exclaimed, her tone one of sheer amazement.
Clark's heart sank. Superman. That was all that mattered to her. She knew he was Superman, and now suddenly the idea of being married to him wasn't so dreadful after all. Was she now going to say that she didn't want a divorce?
He moved toward her, picking up his suit and tugging his cape abruptly from her grasp. Ignoring Lois, he folded it and looked around for something to put it in for the journey back to Metropolis, but he couldn't see anything suitable. So, instead, he spun into it, then spun into his normal clothes on top of the suit.
Lois stared at her partner, feeling dizzy. "Wha… *How* did you do that?!"
He gave her a cool, almost dismissive look. "I'm Superman, Lois. Of course I'm fast."
He was angry with her, she realized. Why…? Then it became obvious. His manner had altered the moment she'd said that she was married to Superman. Of *course* he'd interpreted that the wrong way.
She could apologize, but she knew her partner. There were better ways to deal with Clark.
Raising an eyebrow at him, she said provocatively, "Thought you told me you were Clark Kent — most of the time, that is."
He looked surprised. "I am. I didn't think you'd worked that one out, though." His tone was still distant; Clark was hurt, not angry.
She took a step toward him and placed her hand on his arm, hoping that he wouldn't reject her. His muscles tensed under her palm. "Clark, I know what you're thinking," she told him. "That was a stupid thing to say, and I'm sorry. Can you just accept that I'm still trying to take all this in — about Superman being you, I mean?"
He stared at her for what seemed like a very long time. Then he nodded, a tiny muscle twitching in his jaw. "Okay. I guess it is a lot to come to terms with," he acknowledged, still sounding reserved.
"Yeah. And… if you can stand it, sometime, I have a whole lot of questions for you," she told him shakily. It was just beginning to hit her: the realization that she'd worked beside Superman for almost six months without ever figuring out just who he was, just where he went when he disappeared.
And she called herself an investigative reporter?
"Some time," Clark agreed. "Look, uh, I think we'd better get back to Metropolis, don't you?"
She nodded. "I guess so. Perry's going to be livid!"
Clark looked awkwardly down at the floor. "I'm guessing I probably flew us both here, and if that's okay with you I can fly us back again." He had no idea where he stood with Lois right now. She seemed to have switched to a different tack, more businesslike, though he'd have to be very careful with what he said to her. So far there'd been no mention of her keeping his secret *secret*, although he was still inclined to believe that he could trust her.
And they still had to work out what they were going to do about their marriage.
She was nodding. "If you don't mind, Clark, that'd be great. Umm… do you think we could get out of here? I don't like Vegas hotels at the best of times, and this one's not exactly… well, let's say it's not the kind of place I'd ever imagined spending my honeymoon!"
Honeymoon? Clark's head snapped up and he stared at Lois. What did she mean by that? Was she simply trying to calm them both down, by joking about what had happened? Or…
…or maybe he was just reading too much into this.
Maybe he should take her remark in the spirit in which it had probably been meant. So he grinned at her and raised one eyebrow. "All I can tell you, Lois, is that I had to have been out of my mind. I mean, of all the places I could take my wife on honeymoon — the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the Maldives — and I take you to a tacky Vegas hotel-room?!"
"Oh!" She clapped her hand to her mouth and stared at him, wide-eyed. "I didn't tell you!"
"What happened to us!"
Clark listened incredulously as she explained about the pheromone. That did seem to explain everything, though he was at a loss to understand just how he'd been affected. After all, he wasn't aware of any other drug or compound which had ever had any effect on him.
Then another thought occurred to him. "Lois, if this is really what caused it, we might be able to argue for an annulment after all! I mean, we don't even *know* that the marriage was… uh, consummated, and we were both definitely *not* ourselves when we signed the license — um, Lois… Lois! What are you doing?!"
Lois had suddenly just flung herself at him! She was tearing at his shirt, ripping it open, and at the same time was pressing kisses all over the lower part of his face, wherever she could reach. He gripped her by the upper arms, holding her a little way from him.
"What's going on? Lois?!"
She grinned impishly at him. "I just thought that it might be a good idea if this marriage was *definitely* consummated, Clark."
"Huh?" He stared at her, completely confused. Not that he was *unwilling*, precisely, but… *why*?
"Well, maybe we don't want to be too hasty about getting this annulled, that's all I'm saying," she told him. Now she was looking embarrassed, though.
"But… Lois, not long ago you couldn't wait to see a lawyer so you could file divorce proceedings!"
"I know," she admitted. "But that was before — "
"Before you found out I was Superman," he finished flatly.
She stared at him, appalled. "No! Before you *kissed* me!"
His jaw dropped. Then, before he could react, Lois was reaching up to him and kissing him again. Clark's senses swam and he released his grip on her, instead taking her face between his palms and returning her kiss with all the passion he felt for her.
Breathless, Lois pulled away a few moments later. That first kiss had *definitely* been no fluke. "Clark… was that as good for you as it was for me?" she ventured tentatively.
He nodded, seeming momentarily speechless. Then he reached for her and pulled her into a warm hug. "Lois, I wasn't kidding when I said I'd wanted to make love to you since the day we met. I've also been *in love* with you since then. I… well, if there's any chance that you could ever feel the same way about me…?"
Lois wrapped her arms around him, enjoying the feel of his hard, strong body against hers. "Clark, I don't know how I feel about you. All I know is, when you hold me like this, and when you kiss me, I feel like I… *belong*. And… I've never felt like that before."
He gazed down at her. "Funny you should say that, Lois." His voice sounded choked. "All my life, I've known I'm different. And I never felt I belonged anywhere until the day I met you."
Different… because he was alien, because he was able to do all those wonderful things, and because he'd had to hide it from everyone. And suddenly she remembered Clark talking about being 'different', but in another context. Not Clark, but Superman, and he'd been talking to one of the 'smart kids'. Clearly being 'different' was something which troubled him a lot.
"Yes, you are different, Clark," she told him thoughtfully. "You're different from any other man I've ever known. You care about what happens to other people — and especially me. You'd rather be hurt yourself than have something bad happen to someone you care about. You tell me the truth, even when it hurts to hear it, because you know I need to hear it. And you make me want to be what I want to be, instead of having to live up to someone else's expectations of me. That's how you're different, Clark, and I love that you're different!"
Clark's breath caught again at Lois's words, and a lump formed in his throat. He lowered his head and gently brushed his lips across hers, before whispering, "Thank you."
She kissed him back lingeringly, then pulled away. "Let's get out of here — I don't really want to talk about us in this place. Maybe you could take us somewhere nice instead…" Winking at him, she reached down and grabbed his hand, then raised it up and looked at it curiously, and then at her own left hand.
"Is there a problem, Lois?" Clark asked, puzzled.
"We both took off our rings."
"Oh." Clark lowered his glasses and scanned the room. He found what he was looking for on the nightstands: one gold ring lying on each, his exactly where he'd left it before taking a shower, and Lois's diamond ring next to her simple band. Yet more damage to his credit card, he thought wryly, considering the temporary nature of the relationship they symbolized. Not that he minded the money; it was just… oh, he so badly wanted this to be real, and it wasn't, and the rings were a mocking reminder of that fact.
Lois followed his pointing finger and quickly grabbed all three rings. Returning to his side, she reached for Clark's hand again and amazed him by sliding the largest ring onto his finger, and then handed him the smaller ones, holding out her own left hand.
"Lois…?" He stared at her, bemused.
"We *are* married," she reminded him.
"But… do you mean… I mean, why?" he stammered inarticulately, completely confused.
She waited, and after a few moments he slid her rings onto her finger, then, on impulse, raised her hand to his lips and pressed a kiss just below her knuckles.
"Clark, you love me," Lois pointed out. He nodded. "And… I think I might love you too. At least, I know I feel something for you that I've never felt with any other man before, and I think it must be love, and… and I know I'm scared, but I also know that I can trust you, absolutely and always. And… and that's why I don't want to rush into anything."
"Lois, I wouldn't rush you…" he began, overwhelmed by her confession, but she cut him off.
"I don't want to rush into a divorce — or annulment, either," she told him, to his astonishment. "Clark, what if we find out that being married to each other is what we want? What if that pheromone compound actually just had the effect of lowering our inhibitions and making us see what we really wanted?"
It was what *he* wanted, but Lois…? "Come on, Lois, I mean, we haven't even dated! You can't possibly know whether you want to be married to me, so —"
"So let's date for a while," she suggested. "And get to know each other better. And make sure that the next time we make love we're both going to remember it. And if it all works out, we stay married. If not…" She grimaced. "Well, we can deal with it. But maybe we'll find we won't have to because we *want* to stay married to each other."
"Dating my *wife* sounds like kind of a weird concept," Clark said slowly, with an amused smile. "But if that's what you want, it's okay with me. Very okay!"
On impulse, he seized Lois's hand and gently tugged her wedding ring off again. She tried to grab for it, but he fended her off as he examined the inside of the band. Then, having removed his glasses, he stared intently at the ring for several moments before holding it out to Lois so she could see.
"CK loves LL now and for ever," she read aloud. "And the date — two days ago?"
"It's the date on our marriage certificate," he explained. "I was going to put today's date, but then I remembered what you said about the pheromone maybe making us do what we really wanted all along. That means we were in love the day we signed that certificate."
She allowed him to replace her ring, then grabbed his and held it out to him. "The same, Clark. Well… LL loves CK," she instructed, blushing.
"You're sure?" The look he gave her was full of uncertainty.
"Very sure. You see," she continued, "you just did something for me that no other man I've known has ever done. You've let me decide what happens next. You're willing to wait until I'm ready to take this relationship forward. That tells me that you really do love me — and now I know I love you too. I guess I have for a while, because I was devastated when you left during the heatwave. I missed you more than I missed Superman!"
"Wow," Clark breathed, amazed. He quickly engraved his own ring and let her replace it on his finger, then raised an eyebrow at her. "Well, Mrs Kent, what next?"
"First thing, *never* call me Mrs Kent!" Lois retorted, giving him a mock-glare. "My name is and always will be Lois Lane! Second, I think you should fly us back home now. Then we can go to the Planet and tell Perry that he has to give us some time off. Then we — "
"Time off?" Clark echoed.
"Yeah, like people normally get when they get married," Lois answered matter-of-factly. Then she giggled. "I can't wait to see Perry's face when we tell him we eloped!"
"Uh… you know he'll think it's the pheromone, Lois," Clark objected cautiously.
"Not when I kiss you like this in front of the entire newsroom!" Lois retorted, and proceeded to demonstrate.
Several minutes later, a weakened and dizzy Clark had to agree that perhaps Lois was right. It also occurred to him to consider that being married to Lois Lane was going to be quite an experience, one in which most of the time he'd have difficulty knowing whether he was coming or going. She was… just so *Lois*!
"Oh boy," he muttered, and took her arm to steer her out of the room.
- fin -