By Crocton Dee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: April 2003
Summary: Seeking to surprise Clark, Lois gets a surprise of her own. This story immediately predates an early work of mine called "Getting a Grip."
Superman rocketed away from the police station after having dropped off the car thief. It was a pretty quiet night, he reflected, time to turn back into Clark. He swung low over the city, relishing the feel of flight, but his pleasant mood was broken when he spotted a figure trying to break into his apartment.
<<Not again.>> He liked his place, but if he was robbed again he might decide to move. This guy was going to feel his wrath. Putting on a menacing scowl, he stormed down.
Lois dropped her tools when she heard the familiar whoosh, startled for a moment before she recognized it and relaxed. She turned around to confront a very angry-looking Superman.
"Lois!?!" His expression changed to shock.
"Superman!! You startled me! What are you doing here?"
"Sorry, I though…hey, why are you breaking into Clark's place?"
She tried not to look as guilty as she felt. "I'm not *breaking* in, I'm…uh…sneaking in." He crossed his arms and gave her a dubious look. "I couldn't find his spare key." She could tell he did not buy it. It reminded her of when her father used to embarrassingly call her out on the carpet. "Superman! I'm not going to steal anything, you know that."
"What are you going to do?"
"Okay! I'm cooking Clark a surprise dinner."
"You that Clark and I have been dating? Well we're getting pretty close. Sometimes when a woman wants to show a guy how she feels she cooks him a special treat," she explained primly.
"You can't cook."
Lois' jaw dropped. "Who told you that!?"
He shrugged. "It's common knowledge."
She was incredulous. "Well, for your information, I can cook some things, thank you very much. Now if you'd let me in…
"What!? You don't believe me?"
"I can't open that door."
"I don't have a key."
She shook her head to get a grip. "So? Use you super powers."
"Which superpower do you suggest I use?"
"Are you joking with me?"
He spread his hands. "I'm a crime fighter, I don't usually break into people's homes." She stared at him. "I could break it down."
"Why don't you look for his hidden key with your x-ray vision?"
Superman pretended to look, but he knew there was not one. If he lost his keys he just flew around and let himself in through the balcony. "I don't see any."
"Well…" She had an inspiration. Go ask the landlord for a key."
"You're Superman, he'll give it to you."
"What do I tell him?"
"Tell him you're investigating something."
"I'm not doing that, he'll think Clark is a criminal. No way." He crossed his arms. Lois was struggling to comprehend this; Superman was refusing to help her.
"Great, some help you are. I don't believe this."
"Why don't you just keep trying to pick the lock?"
Lois nodded and went back to work. Superman used his x-ray vision to watch. "Go to the left…No, too far!"
Lois turned back and shot him a look. Maybe this was not an emergency, but he was being a pain.
Superman was having fun, but took pity on her. "Let me see something." He flew around and let himself in through the balcony. He opened the door for Lois. "Clark left his balcony door unlocked."
"Good luck." Superman flew away.
Lois watched him go. So far so good, but she had serious work to do.
Superman wandered Metropolis. He was not sure how long Lois needed to make whatever it was she was making. He was thrilled she was taking this step, and resolved to eat it all, no matter how it tasted.
He turned into Clark and came up to his pad. He smelled smoke and heard the alarm. Quickly opening the still unlocked door, he ran to the kitchen. Thick smoke was pouring out of the oven, while water rushed over the edge of his sink.
The woman in question had climbed halfway up his bookcase to reach the alarm.
He hurriedly turned off the oven and the water. Opening the oven and finding flames leaping out of the pan, he grabbed a glass. He scooped water from the sink into the pan to quash the fire. Finally, he opened a window and jumped up to kill the alarm's wail. Done, he stopped to look at Lois. She was standing empty-handed, looking totally lost.
"Are you okay?"
Lois "Mad Dog" Lane burst into tears. Clark took her in his arms.
"I'm so sorry!!" she sobbed. "I just wanted…"
He picked her up and brought her to the couch. "Lois, relax. I'm not upset. Are you okay?"
"Oh, Clark, I'm fine, but your kitchen. I-"
"I'd rather my whole apartment burn down rather than have you be hurt."
She hugged him fiercely. "Thank you." They held each other for a while. Finally, Lois stirred and kissed him. "I better start cleaning up."
"What were you doing anyway?"
"I was attempting to cook you dinner."
"But, Lois, you can't cook."
She could not believe it. "What is this!? Okay, I don't cook very often but that doesn't mean I'm totally unable to do so."
"Burning kitchen aside."
The famous Lane temper was beginning to grow. "Fine, Clark, see if I ever do anything for you again!" She stormed up, but he took her into his arms.
"Relax, Lois, why are you so upset? You've never worried about not being able to cook before. And why were you cooking for me anyway?"
She became very self-conscious, brushing some hair behind her ears. "Oh , you know. I wanted to do something special for you."
Clark smiled. "Really?" He kissed her. Lois responded freely, letting all the frustrations of the day out in passion.
"Wow." She looked away.
He pulled her face back. "If you keep kissing that way, you don't ever need to do anything else for me." She laughed and they let each other go. "Seriously, why cooking?"
"Oh, I don't know. It just seemed to be the thing everyone does. I've learned my lesson; it will take me a while to clean up."
"I'll go change and give you a hand."
Lois was mopping up the spilled water when he came in. He went to reset the alarm and went to drain the sink. There was some odd-shaped mass in the water. "Was this going to be bread?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Can I what the flamb‚ was?"
"You were really going all out, weren't you."
"Yeah." She sounded resigned.
"Don't be upset. It didn't work out, but I still appreciate the thought."
"I just wanted to do something special for you. You've been a godsend for me, for my life. You do so much for me all time, I just wanted do something for you, for once."
He came over and took the mop out of her hands. "Lois, you're acting as though our relationship isn't a two-way street. You think you don't add something to my life?"
"What, Clark?" He did not answer. "What do I add, Clark? Grumpiness? Yelling?" Tears were coming to her eyes. "Clark, I was sitting at home thinking about everything you do for me. And I realized I don't do anything for you."
"Of course you do, Lois. You're the joy in my life, the zest and excitement. And you're so smart, you always keep me on toes."
"That's enough? For the long-term?"
Clark rolled his eyes. "What's with you, Lois? You're the most amazing woman I've ever met; that's all you ever have to be."
She looked down at the floor to avoid his gaze. "What if someone else comes along? Clark, you've become my life; I can't imagine what I'd do if I lost you."
"You're not going to. Come on, Lois, what is this?" He was starting to get a little concerned. "I've never seen you act this way."
She looked down, avoiding seeing him as she said what she knew she had to say. "I've never been in love before." It hung in the air for a moment, a nuclear bomb waiting to detonate, and she knew it had been a mistake.
That changed when Clark picked her up easily in his arms, his mouth swooping in for a kiss. Suddenly they spun around and around, until Lois started to feel sick. She got them to stop, but as her legs tried to pick up her weight she nearly fell.
"Are you okay?"
"Sorry, I got a little carried away." He helped her sit down and got her a glass of water. He knelt by her side. "Feeling better?"
"I still don't get it."
"Why is being in love a problem?" She turned to speak, but he gestured. "You've know I've had feelings for you, that I've loved you for a long time, right?"
"Feelings, yeah. But I don't know that you love me."
"Of course I do, Lois!!"
She looked at him, he seemed almost offended. "Well, maybe I thought so, but I was nervous. This is a big risk. You've seen love work, but in my life it always ends in someone getting hurt. It's happened to me. I didn't want it to happen again."
He took her in his arms. "Lois, I'm so sorry. I wish I could change all that, but I promise you I'm not going anywhere." She nuzzled into him, and he saw tears were starting again. He pulled away.
"What?" She looked confused.
"Lois Lane, I've loved you for a very long time. I understand how hard it was for you to come here. But if we're going to move forward I have to tell you something." He knew he had to do it although he had no idea how she'd react. "Lois, I haven't told you everything about myself."
He winced as her face changed. "I have a secret; it's not something I'm ashamed of, but it's something I've never told anyone. I never told because I want people to know me for me, not the secret."
He paused; there was just no good way to say it. "I think you're going to be angry, but try to remember I didn't tell you because I needed to keep it a secret so I could be myself." He fumbled for a way to say it, staring into her deep eyes. She was listening intently, trying to decide if she should be mad. "I'm Superman."
Lois giggled. "Very funny, Clark; I'm totally over him. You really had me going there for second, but I should have known you're just a big farmboy." She reached out for him, but he flew up and away.
She yanked her hand back. Clark watched as the color drained from her, as though she was seeing a ghost. Otherwise, there was no reaction.
This wasn't real. Clark wasn't flying. Or Superman was and Clark was not real. Or she was not real. It wasn't happening. One life was coming in, smashing the other. Oops, you've been living a lie. Everything you've known about the last three years right out the window. <<Clark Kent is Superman. Clark Kent is Superman. Clark Kent is Superman.>> It beat away on her head in a staccato drumbeat that was crushing her skull.
"Lois, honey?" He drifted towards her. "Say something."
"Clark Kent is Superman."
She turned to him and noticed that his feet were off the ground. She closed her eyes. "Please come back down."
"How are you doing?"
"I don't know. Clark Kent is Superman."
"I know. Lois, I'm sorry. I should have told you sooner; I guess I was in the same position as you. I loved you so much I couldn't risk losing you."
That did it. The famous Lane temper shot through the roof. "So you lied to me? You lied to me everyday for three years!"
He did not take the bait. Instead he gave her a sad, somber puppy-dogs' eyes look. That hurt. She wanted him to yell back. She wanted to be angry, to be in a screaming fight, anything to avoid having to deal with it. This was her defense mechanism, her way of dealing with the world, but she couldn't just beat up on Clark if he was not going to fight back.
"What would you have had me do?"
Her anger crested. "I don't know. I need to go home and think. I'll see you Monday and we'll talk." She whipped around on her heel, and scurried for the door.
<<Don't look back,>> she told herself. He would be watching her, pain plain on his face, and she could not deal with that right now. She needed to get home, close the doors, and lock herself away from the world. Now she had two days to rebuild her life.