Fractured Ego

By Jocelyn Brant <>

Rated: PG

Submitted: November 2003

Summary: I always thought Lois handled Clark's resignation and departure from her life a little too easily in the episode "The Rival," despite some dialogue to the contrary *after* the fact.

Disclaimer: No infringements in intended, as these characters are the property of DC Comics, and have been used with permission by Warner Bros. I have no claim to these characters, only to a portion of the following story. No profit is being made on my efforts.


The purposeful strides of a blur in green were seen briefly as the woman in question stalked towards the Editor-in- Chief's office in the Daily Planet, heedless of private business that could be taking place within. Many stepped out of the way, if they were quick enough and saw Lois Lane speed-walking with complete dignity and poise. Perry White didn't even look up when she entered unannounced.

"Perry, I just got off the phone, and I hate to be the one to tell you, especially with the paper in trouble, but we have a turn-coat, a Benedict Arnold, and you are never going to believe who," she finished, taking in a deep breath. Her babble was finished with a pose of anticipation. Perry lifted a negative-photograph sheet to the light, viewing the images contained on the sheet.

"Kent." Perry lifted a negative-photograph sheet to the light, viewing the images contained on the sheet.

"C.K.?" Jimmy Olsen asked incredulously. Lois looked shocked, feeling a bit out of the loop. Perry seemed nonchalant about the whole scenario, and did not seem Phased by Clark's change in loyalties.

"Yeah, well, he came in here and tried to give his 'two- weeks notice' but I said he was free to go anytime he wants to, and well…he's gone." The nonchalance was still present and Lois's eyes grew wider.

"Boy, just when you think ya get to know someone," Jimmy muttered, looking at Lois pointedly. Her return gaze was less than pleased with his summary.

"It's her, it's Linda King!" Lois said, her voice rising in frustrated anger. "Don't you see what she's done?!"

"No, he's worried about his future. And with the way things are going around here…I, uh-couldn't give him much of an argument."

"Did he mention what kind of medical plan they got over there?" Jimmy said, thoughtfully. He looked at Lois, but her expression was that of 'Lois is about to hit her limit'. Jimmy left quickly, trying very hard not to drag his feet as he left the office. He still had something to say to the chief about the proofs, but Lois cut that attempt off, literally, at the door.

"Now, while I realize that Clark is pond-scum for what he's done," Lois was calmer now, but her expression was confused and not without its own share of anger, "he's a good reporter, and I would have thought you would have fought to keep him, at least from making the mistake of his life by going to work for that cage-liner, they attempt to pass off as a legitimate newspaper."

"Like I said, Lois, he probably won't have a future here…he's being responsible by looking out for his well- being." Lois opened her mouth to respond, but Perry held up a hand to silence her. "I agree, Clark is a fine journalist, and I'm surprised he didn't consider a better paper to work for, but Lois…he was just your partner."

Now he'd crossed the line.

"I resent that! I resent it because I…you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to get him back, because at least one of us is thinking clearly about this. I'm going to pretend you didn't say that, and I'm going to go."

She stalked to the door, the same purposeful stride taking charge again, but pivoted and turned towards the aging editor.

"Tell Jimmy that I hear they have a terrible medical plan."


"Kent!" Lois punctuated her shout with a curt pound on Clark Kent's blue door. There was no immediate reaction, so she repeated the procedure several times, allowing a point thirty-fifth of a second interval between each shout and pound.

"I'm opening this door, and if you're naked — tough!" Lois couldn't help the curiosity come over her at the possibility of what *did* lie beyond the secure door. The door didn't offer any resistance, as it wasn't locked, and she stepped in, determined to find her ex-partner unerringly. When she turned up nothing, she was still not deterred.

"I'll just wait, as I've got quite a lot to say, and only one opportunity to say it. After all, there's a strong possibility that if I leave, I may never see Clark again. Not that the traitor doesn't deserve the cold-shoulder, but I need to somehow get across to him that people will miss him at work. Like Cat, and Jimmy…and Eduardo. People." She sat down on his couch stoically, continuing her rant without missing a beat. "He doesn't seem to get that his work is necessary. Subscribers need consistency, and if we can't offer it who can? The Planet payroll is going to be *very* mad! I'm pretty sure they just got specialized pay- stubs with our individual names in gold lettering…at least, I think they did. And that's another thing! If we're going under, why does pay-roll have the funds to buy specialized pay-st-"

"Lois?" Clark asked, holding the door open, and examining the doorknob for scrapings from her lock pick set.

"You really shouldn't leave your door unlocked," she replied conversationally.

"Well, if I did that, then how would you get in to my apartment to talk to yourself on my couch?"

"That's one thing I don't miss…your humorless humor," she scoffed easily. "Besides," she continued, pulling out her Jeep keys, "I have a key."

"When did you get a key?" He crossed his arms across his chest, and waited for a reply, his amusement barely concealed within his dark eyes.

Lois lifted her chin defiantly, narrowing her eyes slightly, before opening her mouth to dignify him with a response. "I had one made," she said quickly. "That is not the point, Clark. You don't know Linda, like I know Linda. Clark, she'll drop you like a hot tamale, and won't even think twice about it. Paul was just one event in our mutual history…though mutual suggests a pleasant atmosphere, and nothing was pleasant thereafter."

"Lois, I don't have time for this argument."

"Clark…" Her voice was soft, almost apologetic. "I know…I know that I hurt you, but I didn't mean anything I said to you. You're not her slave, and you two don't deserve each other. She could never deserve someone like you."

Her downcast eyes did not stop Clark from seeing the slightly flushed cheeks, or the saddened eyes. He still hadn't moved from his perch at the top of the stairs, but he watched, transfixed, as she gathered herself enough to lift her head. "Don't shut me out."

"I could never do that, Lois…even if I wanted to." He stepped down the few steps towards her. "There are things you should —"

"Clark, I know I can be difficult and I know that I think I'm the senior partner…well I am, but you're just as capable of a writer as Cat — as me." The last words were prompted by his stern look. "You can't leave the planet, Clark. If you did, I'd never leave your apartment because I'd have to tell you everything that happened that day, and you can't do dramatizations over the phone. I've tried, believe me. My mother simply cannot take my word for anything."

"Lois, there's something I have to tell y — " Clark attempted again.

"Please?" She took his hand, and lifted it between them, standing and taking two steps towards him to trap the hand between their chests. "I know that the Planet isn't doing well, but do it for me. I need —"

"It's all a ruse, Lois," he finally managed to explain. Then he did a double take, and slanted his head to examine her more closely. "What do you need?"

"Excuse me, what is this about a ruse?" She dropped his hand and took a step back.

"Don't change the subject."

"I didn't, you did. Ruse? What is it?"

"Well it's like something that is fake or —"

"Save it, Kent, I know what it means. What is *your* ruse?"

"Oh…" He paused, and glanced around quickly, finally settling on her forehead. "I've gone undercover at the Star to find out who's behind their seemingly easy-given scoops. I think it's Linda."

Lois stood still, barely allowing herself to breath. That snake! That cretin! He made her — nearly made her — say she needed him! Ha!

"So you mean I've been feeling all these feelings for nothing?" She took a step towards the door, and Clark followed behind.

"What feelings?"

"Forget it; I'm not feeling them anymore."

"Lois!" She was out the door. Clark had to smile; though she was no doubt furious about this new information, he knew he would only be getting the angry-Lois for a few days. She had explained as much earlier. And now, perhaps he could utilize her newly acquired knowledge.

'Like another secret, Kent?' his inner voice queried. Clark rolled his eyes. This was hardly the same thing, but he was right. He'd have to tell her that one too…in time.