The Web

By Terran <>

Rating: PG13

Submitted: July 2001

Summary: What if Lois and Clark were real-life superstars, trying to live a private life?

Intro: The inspiration is from SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE when we realize just how famous Lois Lane and Clark Kent have become.


Jimmy Olsen stopped by Lois Lane's desk. "Here's some more for you." He brandished the sheet before handing it over.

Her husband was en route from the latest Superman call of alert. "What's that?" he asked.

"Oh, nothing." She thought to hide it, knew it was to no avail. After all, he was Superman, X-ray vision, superspeed and all. As he lingered, she handed it over as Jimmy drifted away with a smile on his face.

"Web sites?"

"Not just any web sites," she proclaimed defensively. She hated when she was like that, as if she had something to defend, but in his eyes she would. They had, after all, talked it out, and she had agreed with him — on principle.

"I thought you gave up on that." I HAD SUPERMAN'S BABY, that sort of thing.

"I tried. I failed, so sue me."

He preferred her defiance to her attitude of defensive aggressiveness, so he handed the page back after a quick scan which had him memorizing the sites. If the computer — and internet — would never accommodate his speed, he could still scan the sites before her, so he'd have some idea what to expect.

"You ready to go?"

"Yeah," she sighed, shutting down her computer and picking up her bag. "Take me home."

"Too bad no Superman express," he sighed into her ear, but they rode to work in their car, and it was worrisome enough the neighbors might suddenly notice how the caped figure came and went. His old bachelor apartment had much more secluded vantage ways.

In the elevator, she leaned against him. "I love flying." But she had given it up for him, until she found out Superman and her chosen, Clark Kent, were one in the same.

"Come on, I miss the baby."

On the drive home she was subdued, and he knew she was thinking about the internet again. He was fairly computer literate himself, though no Jimmy Olsen, but he did think his wife should distance herself from it. She seemed far too captivated by what was to be found there, so any spare time she had she was accessing something incredibly time consuming.

When it came to Superman dedicated sites; he rarely paid attention.

First thing upon getting home was claiming the baby from the nanny. "Good thing we both got raises, otherwise I don't think we could afford our lifestyle," Lois commented upon the woman's departure. An expensive, fashionable apartment with a nanny to look after their infant every day while they were at work: it was expensive.

Clark took their son from his wife so she could strip off the workday clothes.

"You have it easier, you just take off a jacket and chuck your shoes," she complained good-naturedly. "I've got layers to dispose of."

When she came downstairs, she began feeding the baby as dinner was skillfully served up via the joint cooperation of Clark Kent's dedication and Superman's heat vision.

"I don't think we get the stories we used to." It was a not-so-oblique comment to how they lacked the get-up-and-go of their earlier days as a team.

"Well, Lois, honey, we're married and we've got a family. Priorities change, everyone knows that."

"And I prefer my priorities now, really I do. I used to be a different person then, when I met you," she recalled in unpleasant detail. Drat, sometimes she looked forward to old age and senility. "I was hateful. I don't know why you fell in love with me. Must be that Krypton influence."

He pulled the baby up onto his lap and fed him some of the milder food from off his plate. "Oh, I doubt Krypton had anything to do with us." It gave Lois a chance to consume in peace.

"That's true, Lord Kal-El, or you'd be on some other planet right now, ruling the masses."

"Not my thing."

It was the difference between them, Clark Kent AKA Superman and Lex Luthor, her onetime fiance, that Luthor had plotted to rule the planet. How could she have been so blind back then to have ever walked down the aisle to Lex? It was an unpleasant anniversary in her mind, but something her husband never brought up, thankfully.

She took the baby back from him as Clark brought the dishes into the kitchen on superspeed. They used to wash and dry together, but that tedium was a luxury they rarely allowed themselves anymore. They were working parents with time to spend on their jobs and with their child. Before settling junior in for the night, they wanted to spend time with him.

After casual talk and play with their son, the parents took their boy upstairs and set him into his crib. Then as Lois returned to the living room, Clark went to shower and change into 'something more comfortable' — in this case a silk robe Lois had given him. She was able to resist him — the current record — five seconds when he appeared in the black garment.

But when he rejoined his wife downstairs, she was buried in the computer, and worse. The lines in her face told him she was under as much strain as he'd feared when scanning the web site addresses Jimmy supplied. He'd thought they'd have this evening to themselves, though, hadn't expected her to beat him to the computer until the weekend or a dead day at work. "Honey, why don't you let it go?" he suggested, hoping if she just looked at him she'd get some other ideas.

"Oh, damn it! Clark, they just drive me crazy."

"Find anymore fake nudes?" He had to admit; those sites containing purported images of his wife caused his famous even temper to rise. He wasn't a prude, and was well able to appreciate beauty for its own sake, but he did think the images highly inappropriate when it concerned his wife.

"Not so lucky."

"More nudes of me?" They came in both kinds, both Superman and Clark Kent. The Superman was more flattering, and — truth be told — more accurate, but what could you expect with those tights he wore. As his mother said, "They don't call them tights for nothing."

"No, just the same olds, thank God. I'd like to get my hands on those —"

"Honey, we just put the baby to bed."

She made a play of huffing silently, then gave up.

"Worse than all that? Worse than you being a sex object to untold millions?"

"No, you are the fantasy object of millions or billions, probably, but me, I'm in the lowly thousands. Okay, maybe a million tops. Having a baby hasn't damaged my figure that much."

"If anything, you need to put a few pounds on."

She stopped, looked at him instead of the screen. "I love you for that," she declared as if swearing a vow.

He smiled as he delighted in being the perfect husband, and he was still concerned over spending enough time with his son, but they'd been doing well in that regard. He'd cut back on his Superman persona, frequently tuning out the audio on all but the major disasters. People in minor traffic collisions couldn't rely upon Superman mediations anymore. It was a gradual process, a weaning of the Metropolis public from Superman, when Lois became pregnant and he wanted to be there for her and their child.

"Which one is it now?" He settled in next to her, examining the laptop monitor.

"The you-me-Superman saga. They put out all this ludicrous information."

"It can't be any more detailed than the last time you were on it." He recalled this one, this particular site sprung up after the publication of the — fortunately — fake photo of Superman and the married Lois Lane on a bed together. The scandal had been enough to disrupt peace talks until the photo was proved false.

"No, but this time they're after photographs of the baby, hoping to prove parentage."

"How could they do that?"

"They're going to look at hair, eyes, ears, anything."

"But they won't find anything. Superman and I have the same hair, eyes, and everything."

They both thought about that.

"Oh, my God," she said as he fidgeted. "I was just thinking how insulting this all is. I hadn't even thought about that. What if they do that comparison?"

"Doesn't mean anything. If people seeing me everyday haven't figured it out, why should some obsessive on the internet?" At least he hoped that sounded reasonable.

"That's true." She returned to scanning the document on-screen. "Most of the time you can't tell if they like us or not. I mean, you'd think they do, since they're after all the details of our lives, but they say such horrible things. Everyone knows I'm not having an affair with Superman — he said so."

Clark grinned, remembering. "No, I never have had an "illicit affair" with Lois Lane." It was a nice point, but after all, no one had asked Superman if he was married to Lois Lane. It's the fine details that saved you in the end.

"And my baby isn't anyone's other than my husband — and me, of course. How's it going to look when he gets old enough this kind of talk upsets him?"

But Lois didn't want his identity as Superman going public either, as she feared the greater loss of privacy as well as how government agencies may be interested in immobilizing or utilizing him. It made her and the baby, not to mention his parents and her relatives, the potential targets of threats and worse. And would Clark have a moment where he wasn't required to be Superman anymore? And when their son went to school…

But they'd discussed this before. To distract her, "This is a nice picture."

It was one grabbed from off the street, he and Lois strolling, both of them with coffees in hand. And since it was candid, they were both clothed. He'd seen some weird artist renderings… "You are photogenic," he judged.

"You're not," she accused. "You're better looking in person. I wouldn't have thought that possible, but I met you in the flesh before I ever saw a photograph of you, so I definitely know for sure." Besides, she'd often heard he looked better in person than in those Daily Planet official photos plastered all over the place.

"Some of these are pretty good. Maybe we should download them."

"Oh, I've got that scrapbook going. You haven't looked at it lately."

He offered gently, "Maybe we're too obsessive about ourselves."

"I don't think so. It's always better to know what others are thinking and saying," she added, "in case you have to outmaneuver them."

"I don't think that's possible here." He grimaced at the computer. "You'll give yourself a headache."

"But you always make me feel better." She really looked at him for the first time since he came downstairs. "You know my weakness."

He smiled. "Same as mine." He gave her black lingerie and even a teddy, and though the teddy was uncomfortable to wear — he could see how it would be, worse than the tights he'd grown used to — it was never on for long.

"You are smiling."

"Just remembering."

"You're glowing."

"So are you," he countered.

But she looked at the computer atop the coffee table, debating. "I like The Adventures of Lois Lane site."

"Of course you do."

"In a story last week, I saved the president's life." She summed her enthusiasm with, "I get out of my own scrapes, it's not Superman all the time."

He'd wondered about that, had read a few of the fanfic, as it was termed. "What am I doing while you're in all this mortal danger?"

"Most of the time we're not married. Sometimes we haven't even met. Often when we're dating or engaged or just working together, you stand back disapprovingly. You're very reluctant to get into the action."

"I'm not too popular, am I?"

"They don't see you as an action figure. However, there's the Clark Kent vs. Superman site, that one's… interesting. You're all intellect and he's all brawn. You drink gourmet coffee and he's repairing satellites. I think they see you as a desk bound type."

He was actually amused. But then, he could afford to be. "That's not the worst they've said," he pointed out.

"No, there's the gay and lesbian sites who swear I'm a beard for you and Superman. There's even a romance site, run by straight women — at least the authors are, you can tell by the pseuds and the style of writing — who write romance novels featuring you and Superman. Now, in contrast to the Lois worshippers who adore me, these gutsy women love to talk about how gorgeous you are, go into all sorts of gory details on you and Superman, to quite an interesting degree. Surprisingly, they haven't clicked either. But they don't have time for me at all."

"In that case, you'd think I'd be the one having the adventures, knowing I had Superman waiting to rescue me." He remembered yelling for help once, surprised it actually brought someone to the rescue: Ultra Woman, his own Lois, temporarily afflicted with his powers and the responsibilities that went with them. "You got to admit…" he started.

"I admit nothing. Real life is all so ordinary," she shrugged. "They've even got Superman with Batman stories, and they know Batman is a fictional character… Sometimes I'm barely in the stories, but I'm usually a convenience or getting dumped by both of you."

Clark thought his wife was missing the irony. Neither her life alone, nor her life with a man of superpowers, was hardly ordinary. "You mean life doesn't have to be made more exotic than it already is."

"Exactly. We're just a normal married couple with a baby." She tapped the monitor. "But I think it's worse than the tabloids. At least with the tabloids, I know who to hit."

"See, that's one thing that Adventures of Lois Lane site has down."

"I know. It's not the fiction that bothers me so much, though there are some wildly romantic stories about us in there too, it's the people tracking our every move that make me nervous. And we're not that interesting. You can track our by-lines every day in the Daily Planet."

"It's the curse of being celebrities. You just can't let it affect you. You can't hold press conferences to deny every rumor or protest every supposed fact that's out there. If you start doing that, you're not doing anything else. And if you happen to miss one or two, because you didn't get around to denying it, they'll say it's true just because you haven't denied it."

"It's worse than that. Fact is," she observed sadly, "nobody believes you anyway."

"Superman said he didn't have an affair with his friend's wife, Lois Lane. That's enough for most people. But it'll never satisfy everyone."

"But why do people have to think about us so much?"

"You used to read romance novels. You tried writing one."

"I forgot about it." She put an arm along his back, pulling him closer. "I found my romance."

"You like those Lois-to-the-rescue stories."

"I guess because they make me a comic book hero, a heroine on a par with my husband, only without his superpowers. I can be real, and yet not real."

"Not a 'hood ornament?'" he alluded to her one-time fear he'd always be moving forward, her one-step-behind about to be jettisoned.

"Definitely not that. I wish I had the hours that Lois Lane has. She gets all her adventures accomplished — and the stories written — in a few pages. And she never changes diapers or pays household expenses and wants to have sex with her husband but there's no time in the schedule."

"Ooh, that pesky real life again."

"But speaking of making love…"


"I know it's a new record, but I haven't missed what you're wearing."

As they passed their child's room on the way to their own, she voiced a recent concern, "What's he going to think when he's old enough to do a web search on his mother?"

"No looking for his dad?"

"Well, Superman stuff is everywhere. But between my husband and me, I do get the most publicity; you're mainly background or in truly bizarre stories with Superman or part of that eternal strange triangle of Clark-Lois-Superman. At least future generations will set the record straight. I mean, running the web isn't the same as running a newspaper. We have to be accountable."

"I love it when you take the high road."

She suddenly remembered something they hadn't talked about. "We are going to turn down the talk show, aren't we?"

He allowed, "We're famous enough." So much for being the toothsome twosome of daytime TV, that would only make them a wider target.

"It's a lot of money," she reminded him.

"Do you want to do it?"

She thought about it. "No. Print journalism is it for me, in spite of the cash flow from that other monster."

He backed her into the bed so she fell on top of it. "Then let's concentrate on something far more important, okay?"

"You said it," as she stripped his cloak from off his broad shoulders.

He loved it when he only had his wife to attend to.

But in spite of the passion of the previous night, Lois was in a quiet mood the next morning when she returned to the office. So much so, Jimmy decided to confront Clark about it, but he found the normally relaxed reporter just as silent, in his own low-key way. Looking at the two of them, it didn't look like married-argument material, so he broached Clark: "What are you so grumpy about? And Lois, she doesn't even want coffee. And that's a bad day for Mad Dog Lane."

"She hasn't been that in years," Clark protested. But there was no point in hiding it. "Those web sites," he sighed.

So that explained it. He knew something like that would happen. It always set her into one of these moods. Seemed about once a month she took a hike through web land researching herself. "I wonder what she gets out of it?" Jimmy was saying. "I mean, if I was her, and it upset me so much, I wouldn't go onto the sites at all."

"That's not Lois. You know she has to know everything about everything."

At least Clark was rarely put out. "That's true," Jimmy agreed.

He left Clark with a refill on his coffee and continued to his own desk.

It bothered him he supplied the tracking information, but that's what she wanted. Besides, maybe all the aggravation would spur them into going public someday. Personally, he still fantasized how the announcement would go, that Superman and Clark Kent were one and the same. Besides, sometimes he was tempted to fantasize he did the "outing" himself. After all, they didn't trust him, or figured him for stupid, as if that faked photo of Superman kissing Lois and his strange conversations with Lois about it hadn't made him put two and two together. But whenever his mood turned back, it'd turn right again. After all, Superman — Clark — had saved his life and the human race many times over. If anyone deserved a break, it was Clark Kent.

You couldn't help wondering what would happen once that kid of theirs began to fly — if he did.