Torn, Dirty Shirt

By Carol M. <>

Rated: G

Submitted: January 2003

Summary: This story begins with Lois and Clark's kiss at the end of the episode 'Lucky Leon.' What if Mayson isn't the only one to discover Clark's secret?

This is a companion piece to 'Wet, White Shirt' [or so I've been told!] Thanks to Missy and everyone else who helped me with this!

The characters aren't mine, but if you found this fic, you know that already!


Lois' arm was linked through his as they walked down the street next to a little caf‚.

Finally he spoke. "Lois, I really don't know how to say this, but… why did you come back for me at the factory tonight? I mean, you were running back into an atomic explosion."

She rested her head on his shoulder. "It doesn't make sense, does it? I just knew… I couldn't leave you."

Clark stopped and turned to look into her eyes. "You slammed the door in my face last night."

Her face seemed to grow softer as she tilted her face up to look into his. "That was a… mistake."

He leaned down and he could feel her breath as they moved closer. "Don't let it happen again."

They moved a little closer.

She paused for a split second. "We'll just have to see, won't we?"

"Fortunately, there's no doors now."

They moved close enough that Clark could practically feel those soft lips under his. It was the moment he'd dreamed about for so long.

"Fortunately." He felt her warm breath as she whispered the word.

Clark was mesmerized by the gentle feel of Lois' lips under his… The feel of her soft skin under his hand… Her silky hair in his fingers…

Somewhere in the back of his mind, his super-hearing kicked in. He groaned inwardly. He didn't want to hear anything — anything but the sound of Lois' heartbeat, beating faster with each light touch of the lips, until their hearts beat as one.

The ticking sound grew louder until he could ignore it no longer. He turned his head as he realized what the sound was. A bomb. Why now? Why couldn't the criminals of Metropolis take a five-minute break? That's all he wanted for now. Five minutes alone with Lois.

He had to do something. He was Superman, after all, and Superman wasn't allowed to have a social life.

How all of this went through his mind in a few milliseconds he never knew, but he finally wrenched himself a way from Lois and the wonderful moment they were sharing and he started across the street.

"NOOOOOOOOOOO!" An explosion knocked him back, but he recovered quickly and ran towards the burning vehicle.

He pulled on the door, unaware that he had pulled it off its hinges and tossed it to the side.

"Mayson!" He gently removed her from the front seat and cradled her in his arms. He gently lowered her to the ground. "Mayson." His voice caught in his throat, just a bit.

She coughed and reached towards him. Her voice was a mere whisper, "Clark." She reached out to touch his chest.

He reached down to grasp her hand, but stopped as he realized she was pushing aside the tattered remains of the front of his shirt. Underneath was his Super-suit.

One finger trailed along the outline of the 'S'. She took a ragged breath and managed to whisper again. "So that's what you've been hiding."

He opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out.

She reached up and pulled his head towards hers. The merest hint of a sound came out and only his super-hearing allowed him to understand it. "Resurrection."

Her eyes closed again and somehow Clark knew it was the last time.

He heard Lois gasp behind him. "Oh my God, no!"

He laid Mayson's body down on the cement and stood, tears running down his cheeks. The one time he was too late…

He ran his hand through his hair as he turned to pull Lois into his arms. She was crying too, and he needed to feel her arms around him. Mayson had been a dear friend but whenever he was upset, as Clark or as Superman, it was Lois he needed to comfort him. He couldn't hold back a sob as he pulled her to his chest.

He could feel her wrap her arms around his waist and he rested his cheek on the top of her head. He reached up with one hand and brushed at the tears he knew would be on her cheeks.

Over the sound of the fire spreading through what was left of Mayson's car, he heard sirens approaching.

Lois pulled back from him and fiercely swiped at the tears on her face. She reached out and pulled his jacket shut. He barely caught what she said over the roar of the flames and the wail of the fire engine. "We don't want anyone else to see that." And she turned to greet the officials that were arriving on the scene.


Lois watched as Clark opened the door to his apartment and then brushed passed him. She stomped down the stairs and tossed her purse on the kitchen table. Her coat followed. She turned and watched as he stood dejected on the landing, hands in the pockets of his pants. His head hung until his chin touched his chest.

She sighed. "What do we do now, Clark?"

She could barely make out what he said. "We talk?"

She leaned against the kitchen counter. "Right. About Mayson's death and about 'resurrection'." She made quote marks in the air with her fingers. "What did she mean by that?" She allowed her face to relax as she watched him standing there. "You should change. That shirt is done for, I think."

He walked slowly down the few steps to the living area of the apartment. He tugged at his tie with one hand and tossed it onto the couch. He slowly took his jacket off and laid it neatly on the back of the chair. Leave it to Clark to worry about wrinkles at a time like this. Clark began to unbutton his shirt. As he did, she could see more and more of the bright blue super suit that was underneath. The middle buttons on his shirt had been blown off by the explosion. And as he untucked his shirt, what she now knew to be true finally began to sink in.

Clark was Superman.

Superman was Clark.

She reached out and pulled a chair away from the table. She barely managed to get it underneath herself when her legs gave way.

Her partner, her mild-mannered best friend was a super hero.

It had been an abstraction before. Seeing the suit under his shirt as they stood over Mayson's body, but now… now she felt suckerpunched.

She could see the cape hanging from his shoulders and tucked into his trousers.

Before, it still could have been some silly thing — having a Superman t-shirt under his clothing — she'd done it once not long after Superman first showed up — or some such nonsense. But seeing the cape as he removed his shirt… well, it hit her over the head like a two by four.

Clark disappeared behind the wall on the far side of the room. There was a whooshing sound and then he was pulling out the chair across from her, dressed in blue jeans and a flannel shirt.


"Lois…" He started to speak.

"Not yet, Clark." She needed a minute to compose herself, to figure out exactly what all this meant.

She stared at him across the table and all she could do was stare at his lips. The soft, gentle lips that had caressed hers so recently.

She wasn't sure she could deal with this just yet and she stood up. "Do you want some coffee?" She opened one cabinet door after another in a desperate attempt to not only find coffee filters but to avoid coming head to head with Clark and his superhero alter ego.

Strong fingers closed around hers as she bent down to look under the sink. She wasn't sure why coffee filters would be under the sink, but she was looking anyway. The hands wrapped around hers and the strong arms pulled her back against the strong chest that had soaked up so many of her tears.

For someone so obviously strong, he was surprisingly gentle. She knew she should be mad, that she should throw everything in the room at him, but she also knew that it wouldn't matter. It would all just bounce off. He was Superman, for crying out loud.

"Lois." His voice was as gentle as his embrace.

She sighed, resigned, and relaxed into his arms, as they settled onto the floor.


"We need to talk."

"I know."

"I'm…" She could tell he couldn't force more out.

"You're Superman."


"Let me go?" Clark complied by releasing her and she moved back to the kitchen table. She ran one hand through her hair and then reached into her purse to pull out a scrunchie. She pulled her hair back into a ponytail.

Clark sat down and reached across the table and brushed a remaining loose strand away from her face. "You're beautiful, you know that?"

"Don't change the subject, Clark."

He folded his hands on the table and stared at them. "I have the feeling this is going to be a long night. Why don't you change?" He gestured towards his bedroom. "There are some clothes in the bottom drawer that might not swallow you whole, if you want."

She nodded and pushed back from the table.


Once she searched through the drawer and found a pair of sweat shorts and an old t-shirt, she went into the bathroom to change.

The scent of Clark filled the room.

She inhaled deeply, breathing in everything that was Clark.

She held the t-shirt up and inhaled again.

It occurred to her as she changed that Clark could be watching her. He had all the vision gizmos she'd always associated with Superman, but deep inside she knew that she had nothing to worry about. Clark wouldn't ever do anything like that, and neither would Superman. And he wouldn't need to wait for her to change if he really wanted a peek.

"Clark?" she called. "Do you have a sweatshirt I could borrow too?"

"Sure. Look in the brown bag in the bottom of the closet."

Lois opened the closet and saw a battered brown suitcase lying there.

She opened it and as soon as she did she knew that this wasn't the bag Clark must have been talking about. She reached inside and pulled out a royal blue baby blanket.

She ran one hand over the soft fabric — it felt like the lambswool of her baby blanket that she still had tucked away in a box in her storage unit. There was the outline of the now-famous S-shield and she ran her fingers over the satiny symbol.

A baby blanket. Superman had come to earth as a baby, but not as a baby superhero, but simply a baby. Baby Clark.

Had he had powers as a baby? As a child? A teen? Or had they come on with the onset of adulthood?

"Did you find them?" She heard him move behind her.

"No." She turned and sat on the floor, holding the blanket out to him. "I found this."

A small smile crossed his lips. "Wrong brown bag, Lois."

She smiled back up at him. "I figured." She turned back to the suitcase and pulled out a supersuit. "You only have one extra?"

Clark situated himself so he was leaning up against the closet door. He stared off into space and spoke softly. "No, there's more. I moved them behind the wine rack after the Diana Stride thing. That's my first one, with the original cape — I'm getting ready to take them to my mom. Did you notice the change?"

Lois held the cape up in front of her. "Yes, I noticed. It tucks more into your suit now rather than outside on top. I even mentioned it to Perry as a possibility for the fashion pages." She made a headline motion with one hand. "'New Trends in Superhero Attire' was my headline, but he didn't go for it." She picked at some invisible fuzz on the suit.

Clark looked at her, amazement in his eyes. "I wonder why that surprises me."

She blushed and picked at some more fuzz. "I was infatuated."

Clark grinned. "I noticed."

She kept staring at the electric blue spandex. "I got over it."

Clark rested his forearms on his knees and stared at his hands. "Did you?"

"That question could mean so many different things." She sighed and nodded slowly. "Yes, I did. I mean, I still admired Superman for all the good he's done, but the infatuation ended when he didn't save your life."

Clark rubbed his neck with one hand. "Uh, Lois…"

"I know. It doesn't make any sense, now that I know you're Superman, but at the time…"

She moved the supersuit and cape back into the tattered suitcase and reached into a brown bag she had spotted in the back of the closet to pull out a sweatshirt. She pulled it over her head, pushed her arms through the sleeves, and hugged her arms to her chest.

"When you died, Clark, a part of me went with you." A single tear began a lonely trek down her cheek only to be swiped away by the back of her hand. "I blamed Superman. He saved everyone else, why not you?"

She stood up and started pacing around the bedroom. The hem of the sweatshirt reached almost to her knees, well past the bottom of the shorts she was wearing and for a fleeting second she wondered how comfortable it might be if she wore nothing but Clark's oversized sweatshirt. She pushed the thought from her mind and drew her hands inside the extra long sleeves. She curled them into fists and marveled at how soft the inside material was. She'd have to ask Clark how he did that.

"Superman had saved everyone else, except for two men that I… Well, he didn't save Lex, who I thought I loved, even though I found out what he was really like later and it turns out he's not really dead after all." She stared out the large window into the night sky. She wondered which star Krypton had revolved around. "Then when Clark… you… died, it was too much. I realized he wasn't infallible."

She pulled the sweatshirt even tighter around her as though to hold a little bit of Clark close to herself. "When Lex died, I started to realize that he wasn't perfect. And then when you died, I hated him until he brought you back to me. I know I didn't love Lex, not the way I loved you — you were my best friend — but at the time I thought I did, even though I had decided not to marry him." She held up her hands to stop him from saying anything. "And now, of course, I know that you weren't really dead. And how do I feel about that? Well, I don't know. I'll probably be mad when I have time to think about it, but I can also see what this is doing to you." She turned to face him. "This time you were too late."

She watched as Clark took off his glasses as he closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose and it hit her.

As hard as Superman would take not being able to save someone, Clark would take it even harder.

Trying to reconcile what she knew of the two men in her head was hard, very hard. Gelling the two into one person would be even harder.

Clark helped her by setting his glasses on the nightstand. When she saw him leaning against the closet with his 'Clark' hair and clothes, and no glasses, the two figures began to merge in her mind.

"I've been thinking about this ever since I saw the suit under your shirt right after Mayson…" She gestured with one hand. "And I understand why you lied about it and why you had to let all of us think you were dead. I still don't understand Lex, but knowing you like I do, I'm sure there's a good explanation for it."

His soft voice interrupted her at that point. "Kryptonite."

She stared at him. "What?"

"He had Kryptonite. That's why I couldn't save him. I wanted to, if for no other reason than to let him rot in jail. He put me in this cage made of Kryptonite and I lost my powers. I don't even know how long I was there. Twelve hours, maybe? But I could barely move when he jumped, much less fly."

Fury flared briefly in her eyes. "The slime!" She thought for a moment then nodded slowly. "But it's ironic isn't it? He put you in the cage and then you couldn't save him when he needed it."

She watched as he took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "So what does this mean for us, Lois?"

She sank onto the window seat. "What do you mean?"

"Well, we had an amazing date and an amazing kiss… and then you found out my little secret. How does that affect…" He gestured to the two of them. "…us?"

She raised an eyebrow. "Little?"

He chuckled just a bit. "Okay, so it's more than a little secret."

A small smile played across her lips. "Try Super sized."

He groaned. "Okay, Super sized." He stood up and moved next to her staring at the stars out the window. "So what does it mean for us?"

She leaned her head against his denim-covered leg. "That you can fly me anywhere in the world for dinner?"

She could hear the smile in his voice. "Or I could bring you dinner from Shanghai."

She leaned back to stare up at him. "You didn't!" She looked at the twinkle in his eyes. "You did!"

He nodded. "And I really can read Chinese too."

"And order dinner in 325 different languages?"



Her cheek rested against his hip again. One of her arms wrapped around his leg and his hand played with her ponytail.

"So, where do we go from here, Lois?"

A dreamy note entered her voice. "How about the South Pacific?"

"Your wish is my command, milady."

Her smile was interrupted by a yawn. "Not now. I'm too tired."

"I should take you home."

"Not tonight, Clark."

"I'm not letting you walk home alone."

She looked up at him. "That's not what I meant." She stood and leaned against his chest. "After seeing what happened tonight, I need to be close to you, to have you hold me. Could you do that, Clark? Hold me tonight?"

She could feel him nod against her head.

"Tomorrow we'll look into Mayson and her death." She pulled back to look at him. "You know it's not your fault, right? You can't save everyone and this was one time when you couldn't. The timer was only set for a few seconds, as fast as you are, there was no way."

Clark nodded slowly and then let out a big sigh. "I know. I've had to deal with that before, but this is the first time it was a friend." He pulled away from her and stared out the window. "It's hard, not being fast enough or strong enough. As much as I can do, it's never enough."

"But that's not right, Clark. Anything you can do is enough. How many people are still alive out there — how many mothers, fathers, children still have their loved ones because of you?"

He ran a hand through his hair. "I know that intellectually, Lois, but telling my heart… that's something else." He sighed again. "Let's leave all this for another time. It's too much to deal with right now." He pulled her back into his arms and forced a smile. "Do you trust me?"

A puzzled look spread over her face. "Of course."

It was a strangely familiar sensation and then she realized they were floating. Before she knew it, they were in a horizontal position over the bed.

A soft voice murmured in her ear. "This is the part where you have to trust me. Do you?"

She nodded, but there was a bit of trepidation deep inside. What did he mean… trust him?

He released her and for a split second there was a whooshing sound and then she was back in his arms and being lowered onto the bed.

The covers had been pulled back and now they were settled on top of them. She realized that, while in the 'whoosh', Clark had changed into a pair of boxers and a t-shirt. As he pulled the covers up over them, it occurred to her that she was going to be extremely warm in double layers of shirts.

She sat up and took off the sweatshirt that she was wearing. She giggled just a bit at the look on Clark's face as she wiggled around and then produced a bra from under her t-shirt. She dropped it over the side of the bed, then pulled the covers up over her chest. She giggled again at the look on Clark's face and then shrugged. "What? I have to be comfortable to sleep."

Clark laughed, sat up and removed his own t-shirt. "Well, okay then."

He pulled her to him as they lay back down and planted a light kiss on her forehead. "Good night, Lois."

"Good night, Clark."

There were still things to work out — issues to deal with — but they could keep. For now, they would sleep.

Content in each other's arms.