By Tank Wilson <tankW1@aol.com> and Wendy Richards <email@example.com>
Submitted: October 2004
Summary: After several attempts on her life, Lois is forced into witness protection. A Wendy and Tank challenge fic.
Tank: Well, it was my turn to initiate a challenge for Wendy. I've long ago given up trying to 'stump' her. Instead I've turned to ideas that just seemed like fun. I had a notion of putting Lois into witness protection. Get her away from Clark, and Metropolis, with no normal way for her to 'keep in touch' with her past life. With the kind of life that Lois leads, the set-up was easy. It would be up to Wendy to 'get Lois back'. The extra twist I put on the set-up was just something I couldn't resist given Teri Hatcher's recent career move. Hope the gentle readers enjoy our humble efforts.
Wendy: I could be charitable and assume that Tank was being kind, since he knew that I was in the throes of a major life-change. After all, he did post this about two weeks after I had just moved into a new house in a new country… Still, I think this was definitely the easiest challenge he has ever set me, despite my knowing absolutely nothing at all about Teri Hatcher's new TV series! Which makes me worry a little… what the heck will I face next time around?! Though I am comforted by the knowledge that it's my turn next — <evil chuckle…>
Tank and Wendy would like to thank Tricia for her very helpful GEing on this story.
All characters are copyrighted to their various owners.
"How are you doin', darlin'? Feeling better?" Perry White moved closer to the hospital bed.
"I'm much better, Chief." Lois Lane gave her boss's hand a squeeze. "It's a good thing the bad guys weren't very good shots this time."
Perry frowned down at the young woman he considered like a daughter, lying in the bed recovering from her second gunshot wound in the last six weeks. "You were lucky, young lady. If that bullet had been two inches the other direction, I'd be giving your eulogy instead of advice."
Lois had to bite down on her lip to keep from laughing. "You're going to give me advice? What kind of advice, Chief? How to dodge bullets?"
Lois instantly sobered at the stern look on her mentor's face. "No, Lois, I'm going to advise you to think very seriously about that offer the Feds made you. It's been two months since you testified against Intergang and the threats the Churches made in court to kill you for it."
Lois tried to shrug, but her shoulder throbbed too much and she only wound up wincing in pain. "Hey, Chief, they're the bad guys. It's what they do. If they didn't make threats in court, what would we write about?"
Perry's look of concern was beginning to scare Lois. "Honey, you've been wounded twice and shot at at least a dozen times since then."
Lois drew her lips into a firm line. "Yeah, and Superman was able to put quite a few gunmen behind bars because of it." She could immediately see that argument was not going to hold any weight with Perry. She sighed as she bit down on her lip for an entirely different reason. "Are you saying you want me to leave?"
A lone tear snuck out of one corner of the older man's eye. "No, darlin', I want you to live." He patted her hand. "I've got to go. There's no one but Jimmy minding the store, and I don't want to leave him alone there too long. Clark should be here soon." He tried to smile for her, but it didn't quite take. "You think about what I said."
She nodded, then watched him walk through the door.
His words haunted her. It forced her memory back to the time after the first attempted shooting. The FBI had come to the Daily Planet the next day and she and an agent Reynolds had spent some time in a private conference. He explained the witness protection program and told her that, if she wanted to, he could get her into it.
More curious than really interested, Lois had asked about the particulars. He told her how they would set her up in a different town, with a new identity and a new life. No one would know where she'd gone, or who she would become. She'd then asked about her friends and family. How would she be able to continue to see them if she was in some other town? And her job? How could she continue doing what she loved, if she wasn't in Metropolis, at the Daily Planet?
That had been the most sobering part for her. She was told that it had to be a clean break. No ties back to her old life. No contact with any of her family or friends. It would be too dangerous. Too easy for the bad guys to find her through them. No, it would have to be new town, new job, new friends.
And that was when Lois had told him, 'thanks but no thanks'. That had been a little over five weeks ago. In that time she'd had two trips to the hospital and several near misses. She was well aware that if it hadn't been for Superman she'd be dead by now. But Superman was around, and he would save her whenever he could. Of course, the badguys knew that too, and they'd be on the watch for those times when Superman couldn't be around.
The attempt that had put her in the hospital this time had occurred when Superman was in China helping combat the devastation caused by freak flooding of the Yangtze. Perry was right. She had been lucky this time. Only the fact that Jimmy had been able to pull her to safety inside a building had kept the assassin from being able to fire another round into her and finish the job.
She wasn't afraid to admit that she'd been scared this last time around. Not only was she shot, but Jimmy had come close to getting shot also. If anyone else died because of her…
Just then her attention was drawn to the door as Clark walked into her room. "Hello, Lois. How are you feeling?"
Lois had to sigh. If she only had a nickel for every time someone had said that to her in the last few days. "I'm much better, Clark." She put on a brave face for her best friend and partner. "Come sit beside me and fill me in on all the great stories I'm missing out on."
Clark moved over and sat on the corner of her bed, not unlike he was wont to do at her desk at the Planet. He gave her a sad smile. "Sorry, partner, it seems that the only big time story happening right now is you."
Clark spread his hands in a gesture of helplessness. "This latest attempt on your life is front page in all the papers… even the Planet. Henderson has vowed to bring the shooter to justice and has instituted a huge man-hunt to find the guy."
Lois shook her head. "They won't find him." She glanced up and saw the confusion in her partner's eye. "The guy was hired talent. Probably from out of town. He's long gone by now. The next attempt will be by someone completely different."
Clark frowned hard at Lois. "Don't say that. Henderson will break this thing. Superman will help. No one is going to kill you, Lois."
Clark's expression changed to one which Lois found hard to read. "I'm so sorry, Lois."
It was Lois' turn to be confused. "For what?"
"I wasn't there for you."
She rolled her eyes. "What? Are you supposed to stay glued to my side night and day? It can't work, Clark. Eventually, there will have to come a time when I'm alone and then… bang. They get me." She shook her head again, causing her hair to move back and forth. "Heck, the last time, Jimmy was right next to me. He could have been killed!"
"Lois…" He placed his hand over hers.
"No, Clark, Intergang is determined to kill me, and it seems like now they don't care if someone else is hurt in the process." She interlaced her fingers with his. "What if next time Jimmy, or Perry, or you are walking with me and the shooter kills you by mistake?" She bit down on her lower lip. "I can't be responsible for that, Clark. It would kill me just as surely as a gunman's bullet."
Clark reached out and stroked her cheek with his palm. She leaned into it, savoring the strength she felt there. "What's with all this gloomy talk all of a sudden? This isn't like you. You should be scheming of ways to find out who's doing this and kicking their butts for them."
"Clark, we know who's doing this. It's Intergang. The Churches are probably ordering these hits from behind bars." She pulled her head away from his hand and leaned back against her pillow, staring up at the ceiling. "I was too proud and too stubborn to see it at first. Heck, I'm Lois Lane. Only Superman is more invincible than me. No mere criminal organization is going to intimidate this intrepid reporter. Let them come. I'll outlast them."
She turned and looked into Clark's eyes. A few tears rolled down her cheek. "But I can't. They aren't going to stop until I'm dead." She allowed herself another soft sigh. "If it were just me, I would probably stay and continue to fight them. But it's not. Jimmy came close to getting shot the other day. I can't risk the lives of my friends. I can't let someone else die because of me."
She could see that Clark was warring with himself. The conflicting emotions flashed across his face in rapid succession. "What are you going to do?"
Lois took several breaths before speaking. "Perry was in here just before you came. He reminded me of the FBI's offer of witness protection. I think I'm going to take them up on it."
Clark's indrawn gasp was clearly audible. She could see him getting ready to argue with her. She placed her finger against his lips. "No, don't say anything. You know how much I love my job, my life here in Metropolis. This isn't something I want to do. I don't have many friends, but those I do have I'll miss terribly." Suddenly she felt shy, and could feel the heat of a blush on her face. "Most of all, I'm going to miss you, Clark. Over the time we've been partnered, you've managed to become my best friend. I've never had a best friend before. It was kind of nice."
Clark shook his head as if trying to deny her words. "Lois, you don't have to do this. I'll be there for you. Superman will keep watch over you…"
She raised her brow at his tumble of words. "Oh? Superman and you are going to put on a 24/7 watch over me?"
Clark frowned. "If we have to."
Lois smile was sad. "Clark, the reason I'm in the hospital now is because both you and Superman were in China. He, helping, and you covering his actions. What? Superman is going to give up helping other people just so he can watch over me?" Her voice took on a little steel. "And what about you? Are you going to hover over me all the time? God, as much as we may like each other, we'd both come to hate that. Besides, I'm not going to let you get in the way of any bullet intended for me."
"I…" Clark rose from his perch.
"No." She cut him off. "You know I'm right here. Even if it didn't put your life at risk, there will be times when you can't be around. And when that happens…"
"No." She was determined now. She wasn't sure just when she'd made up her mind, but now that she had, she had to convince him it was the right thing. "Tell me, Clark. How would you feel if a bus-load or a plane-load of people were killed just to get to me? You think that Intergang is above such tactics?" She could see by the look on his face that she'd won. Unfortunately, she didn't feel like a winner.
She reached out her hand and he took his in her own. "I want you to do two things for me."
"I want you to get in contact with that Agent Reynolds. The one who visited me before. Tell him I wish to see him."
Clark moved his head in the merest of nods. "Okay, and the other thing?"
"Kiss me goodbye."
Lois navigated the twists and turns of the suburban streets. The sun was shining, and it was a beautiful day, but her heart was heavy. So this is how it begins, she thought.
After that fateful decision in the hospital, she'd been visited by the FBI the very next day. They had arranged for her transfer to a secure medical facility and she'd spent the rest of her recuperation in their care.
It was a long process, but it some ways it was kind of fun. It was almost like preparing for a major undercover assignment. Only this undercover assignment was going to be for the rest of her life. They had been able to create an entire back history for her, complete with identification, social security number, passports, and a made-up life before.
She'd let her hair grow out, figuring that it would be a look that no one would associate with Lois Lane. She hated it, but it was just another one of the sacrifices she'd been forced to make.
The most shocking to her had been the program handler's insistence that she foster a young girl who could then pass as her daughter. Lois had resisted it for a while, but her handler had been persistent and she'd finally broken down. How hard could it be to raise a young girl anyway? After all, she practically raised Lucy, hadn't she? Of course, she hadn't really liked it.
As she turned down another street that looked just like the last one, she glanced up at her new driver's registration pinned to the visor. Susan. It was a name she was having a hard time getting used to. She just didn't see herself as a Susan.
She glanced down at the map sharing the front seat with her. She took another turn then stopped. She rolled down her window and leaned out, craning her neck to see the street sign. Yep, this was it. She had arrived at her new home… Wisteria Lane.
Living in suburbia was *boring*. Lois really didn't have it in her to be a housewife, much less one stuck in a too-perfect house in a too-perfect street. Plus, her neighbours really weren't her type at all. She found herself wondering several times, during her first week living in Wisteria Lane, whether many of the women had ever lifted a finger to earn their own living in their lives. Or whether many of them had two brain cells to rub together. Or whether *any* of them thought about anything other than sex.
On her first morning in her new home, for instance, one of her neighbours, someone whom she thought might be called Ariel, or maybe it was Gabrielle, had dropped in with a dish of something exotic and non-fattening, and had stayed for over an *hour*, just gossiping about the other residents of the street. And Lois had thought that Cat was bad!
She really didn't know how long she could stand this new identity, or at least the life which went with it. Lois sighed again as she stood at her window gazing out at the street and her neighbours. She'd have to have a word with her FBI handler next time the guy got in touch — or she'd get in touch with him. If she had to have a new life, why couldn't she at least have an *interesting* one?
Even her foster-daughter wasn't around any more. The girl had been in need of a home because her mother, a single parent, had been taken seriously ill and there were no other family members to take the child in. And since a child provided an excellent addition to Lois's — Susan's — cover, the FBI had thought it was a great idea. But the kid's father had reappeared and was making strenuous efforts to win his ex back. Lois's former foster- daughter was now living with her father.
She ran her fingers through her long hair. That was the one part of her new life which she'd actually found that she liked — the long, free-flowing style really suited her and, she thought, was very comfortable to wear.
But a new hairstyle was far from compensation for everything she'd left behind.
She turned and walked away from the window and went into the sitting-room, automatically picking up the TV remote control. LNN immediately flickered into life, but after a few minutes of watching the news Lois hit the off button. She'd turned from someone who got stuck in and reported the news into a passive recipient of it.
What had Lois Lane come to? All she could do was sit on her sofa and watch someone else tell her what was happening in the world and what it meant. And there were so many times when she wanted to yell at whatever fluffy-haired reporter was on-screen and tell her to get the *real* story, not just the PR job.
Witness protection scheme… hah! Witness stultifying scheme!
She'd sworn that she wasn't going to do it again… but Lois went into her bedroom and, dropping down onto her knees, rummaged under her bed until she found a small storage box. Opening it, she looked through the items inside, handling each reverently. There was her first-ever article for the Planet. There was the first front-page story she'd ever had. And there was the series which had won her her first Kerth. The next clipping was the first story she'd written with Clark. A few pages under that was Clark's Kerth-winning story.
Underneath the papers lay three crystal statuettes. Her Kerth Awards.
And underneath those was a photograph. Lois took it out and gazed down at the two faces, a lump gathering in her throat.
Clark. And herself — it had been taken at the Kerth Awards the night Clark had won his award. The two of them looked so happy, so carefree… and, she now knew with a certainty which tore her apart, so much in love.
She loved Clark. And she was very, very sure that he loved her too.
She'd always known that she found him attractive, though she'd denied it for so long. She'd only finally allowed herself to acknowledge it when she'd asked him to kiss her before she'd walked out of his life forever.
That had been a kiss to remember. To treasure. To store up in her heart and sigh over, and to ensure that she would never forget the only man she'd ever loved.
She'd seen in Clark's eyes that he wanted to plead with her not to go — or to let him go with her. But she'd pre-empted him, telling him that she couldn't risk his or anyone else's life any more. And that she had to do as the FBI had told her and cut off all contact with everyone she knew — no matter how hard it was to do.
He'd swallowed, looked away, then said gruffly, "Take care of yourself, Lois. And remember… if you ever change your mind, you know where to find me."
She knew. And right now she was a heartbeat away from picking up the phone and telling the FBI that she wanted out. That she was going back to Metropolis.
That Lois Lane did not run away, and that she wanted her life back.
The doorbell rang. Lois closed the box hurriedly and shoved it back under the bed before going to answer it. Though she was tempted to ignore it — if it was Gabrielle back for another gossip session, or Bree wanting to tell her the perfect way to organise her kitchen, Lois did *not* want to see them.
The shape outside the door did not look female. Lois groaned inwardly — a salesman, no doubt. Or that gardener from across the street, touting for trade. But she was almost at the door now, and her caller would have seen her. So, reluctantly, she opened it.
And then she nearly fell over.
"What are you doing here?" she exclaimed.
"Looking for you," her caller said. "May I come in?"
"But how did you… Oh, you can tell me in a minute! Come in!"
Clark walked inside and, as Lois closed the door, he gazed around the hall. Lois knew what he was seeing: the open spaces, the expensive d,cor, the designer furniture.
"This isn't mine — not really. I mean, could you see me *choosing* to live in a place like this?" she protested.
Clark turned to smile at her; that same, familiar, beautiful smile which she knew so well and she'd missed so much. So very much… "Lois Lane certainly wouldn't. As for Susan Mayer — well, I don't know. I don't know her — yet."
A half-strangled laugh came from Lois's throat. "Nor do I, and I've been her for weeks!"
"Oh, god, Lois, it's so good to see you!" he exclaimed.
Tears sprang to her eyes, and one second later she was in his arms.
Later, they sat side by side on the plush designer sofa in her living-room. Clark held her hand, and Lois gripped his in return, unwilling, now that she had him back, to let him go.
He looked so familiar, so wonderful… she couldn't take her eyes off him. Every bit as handsome as he'd always been, and yet now even more so, for some reason. Maybe, she thought, because she was seeing him with new eyes now — eyes that had finally opened and recognized him as the man she loved.
"I've missed you so much, Clark," she told him, a lump in her throat again. She could still barely believe that he was here. It seemed impossible — after all, she'd disappeared, courtesy of the FBI. It should have been beyond anyone's ability to find her.
"I missed you too — every minute of every day. There hasn't been a second when I haven't thought of you. It's been so hard restraining myself from tearing the country apart looking for you." His expression was sincere and — yes, loving.
Oh, wow. Lois just stared at her former partner and best friend. She'd been right: he did love her.
And, in case she never had the courage again to say it, she was going to take that leap into the dark. "Clark, I love you."
His eyes shone. "I… hoped. Lois, I love you so much I can't even find words to tell you."
"Oh, Clark… Kiss me again," she demanded.
He did. And it was a long time before she was capable of more coherent thought.
"So, how did you find me?"
She was burning up with curiosity, but an alarming thought had occurred to her. If Clark had been able to find her, could Intergang be far behind? Their resources were far greater than his. Had all this been for nothing? Was she about to be killed any day now anyway?
His fingertips stroked her cheek before he replied. "I had a little Super help." He grinned at her.
"Superman found me?"
"Well, Superman's known where you were all along. But that was because I… asked him," Clark confessed.
"But why? Clark, you knew I had to be completely cut off from my former life for this to work! And coming here now — not that I'm not delighted to see you, but what if Intergang's been watching you?"
He squeezed her hand. "Trust me, Lois — no-one knows that I'm here. And there's no way that anyone could've seen me get here."
Her eyes wide with alarm still, she protested, "But how can you know that?"
He made a little upward movement with his hand. "Superman flies too fast for anyone to track his movements. And no-one saw him bringing me."
Superman and Clark… they really had conspired together over this! Superman clearly knew how Clark felt about her, Lois thought, and she wondered whether he'd been at all jealous, or whether he was just pleased for his friend. And if Superman had known where she was, why hadn't he come to see her?
But she answered her own question. He would have been far too noticeable, and that kind of attention would have definitely been unwelcome.
Anyway, she wasn't interested in Superman in that way. Not any more. All she wanted was Clark. And he was here.
"But why, Clark? I mean, I just can't tell you how great it is to see you, but… isn't this going to make it even harder to bear? We can't be together. You can't stay here with me — it's too dangerous for both of us —"
He shook his head, still smiling. "Lois, I came to bring you home."
"What?" Hope surged within her, only to be suppressed again as she reminded herself of all the reasons why that couldn't happen. "Clark, I can't! You know that! If it were that simple, don't you think I'd have come back weeks ago? I'm bored out of my skull here. I miss the thrill of the chase. I miss the smell of the newsroom. I even miss Perry's Elvis jokes and Jimmy's girlfriend troubles. And… I miss you so much I can't think straight." She finished on a near-sob.
"But I can't go back," she added sadly. "I can't put all of you in danger again. It's not even me so much that I'm thinking of. It's the others… Perry, Jimmy — and you." She shuddered at the thought of Clark getting killed because of her — she'd already had to go through that once and she never, ever wanted it to happen again. A tear trickled down her cheek.
Clark gathered her into his arms again, and she snuggled against his solid chest. "Lois, I always intended to make it possible for you to come back," he told her, the vibration of his voice making a soothing rumble against her body. "That's why I wanted to know where you were — why Superman kept such a close eye on you. Well, to make sure that you were protected, too, but that wasn't all."
"What do you mean, make it possible for me to come back?" Lois raised her head to stare at him.
"Well, I figured that if Intergang could be smashed and the leaders put away, then it'd be safe for you to come back. So that's what I've spent the last couple of months trying to do — with Superman's help, again, and Henderson's."
"You mean Intergang's over?" Lois stared at him incredulously. "Wait a minute — I'd know if they were! There's been nothing on the news, and Reynolds at the FBI hasn't said a thing."
Clark shook his head. "No, they're still alive and thriving, unfortunately. They're even more slippery than Lex Luthor was. I finally accepted a couple of days ago that it was going to be months, if not years, before we could make any headway. If ever."
He gave her a rueful smile. "I'm here to do what I should have done right from the start."
"What's that?" Lois was struggling to prevent the hope from welling up inside her again, but it was a losing battle. Was there really a way that she could come back again and be safe?
"Lois, do you trust me?" he asked her, his tone sober.
"Of course I do!"
"Then, okay. Do you remember Resplendent Man?"
"You bet I do! That weird little guy who got powers like Superman's — William Wallace Webster Walldecker, right?"
"That's him." Clark smiled. "See, Superman's powers can be transferred."
Lois stared at him again. "Superman would never confirm that to me, or tell me how it happened."
"Well, think about it, Lois. If it became common knowledge…"
"I guess. But he must have known that I would never tell anyone?"
Clark shrugged. "Some secrets are best kept by telling no-one at all. But anyway, that's how you can come back, Lois."
"Huh?" She looked at him, puzzled. And then realisation dawned. "You don't mean… Superman will transfer his powers to me?"
"Yup." He smiled at her. "And that way you'd be safe. See, you were right — Superman can't keep watch over you 24-7. Much as he wishes he could. So if you have his powers, you also have his invulnerability. No-one can shoot you or hurt you in any way."
"He'd do that for me?" Lois asked incredulously.
"Of course!" Clark smiled.
The prospect sounded incredible — not only could she come home, but she'd have all sorts of amazing powers too? Would she be able to fly? She guessed so — after all, Resplendent Man had flown.
"He'd trust me not to abuse the powers?"
Clark gave a faint smile. "He'd teach you himself how to get used to them. And, yes, Lois, he trusts you not to abuse them."
It all sounded wonderful. But there was a snag… one very big snag. "But… Clark, that might make me safe, but what about people around me? Is Superman going to give Perry and Jimmy and my landlord and my parents his powers? Is he going to give them to you?"
"We can handle other people's safety. I've already discussed that with Henderson of the MPD," Clark said grimly. "Superman will just put out a message through some of Henderson's contacts that, if any friend or acquaintance of yours is harmed in any way, he's going to forget his ethics and the perpetrator will suffer in a way they've never dreamed of."
Lois's jaw dropped. "You're kidding."
"Nope. For you, he'll do it."
"But… I don't understand. Why would Superman do all this for me?"
"Ah." Now Clark looked uncomfortable. "I need to tell you something."
He removed his arms from around her, pausing to run his fingers through her hair. "I love your hair like this, Lois. It's so silky and beautiful. I love the way it ripples down your back and sways when you move."
"That's what you wanted to tell me?" she asked, raising an eyebrow; inwardly, though, she was very flattered that he liked her new hairstyle.
"Actually, no." He looked uncomfortable again. "What I need to tell you is… this."
And suddenly he began to move. He spun around in a complete circle, and then again, faster and faster, until all she could see was a blur. And then the blur came into focus again… but instead of the blue jeans and polo shirt he'd been wearing, she saw bright blue and red.
Then he came to a complete stop, and Superman was standing in front of her.
Slack-jawed, Lois stared at him. "*You're* Superman?"
"Guilty," he said, giving her a cautious smile. "I know, you're going to be mad and you're going to say I should have told you before now and… well, anyway, this was one of those secrets that —"
"That's best kept by telling no-one," Lois finished for him. It all made sense now; so much which never really had been obvious before just seemed to fall into place.
Clark was Superman. And all those times when he'd run off, or had seemed to know things he shouldn't have, or had been vague or unable to answer questions… it had all been because he was protecting his secret.
And this was why Superman was willing to trust her with his powers. Because Superman was Clark, and Clark loved her.
"No, I'm not mad," she told him. "I know, I should be. And the Lois Lane you knew back in Metropolis would've been. I guess… this new me goes beyond the undercover name and the different hairstyle. I've learned not to take what I have for granted, and I know I've always taken you for granted."
She hesitated, reaching out a tentative hand towards him. He took it and held it tightly. "I only realised what I'd lost in you when I knew that I'd never see you again. So, no, Clark. I'm not mad. I'm just… so very happy to see you again, and grateful beyond words that you can give me a way to come home."
He drew her closer, enfolding her in his arms again. And, even though she was still in Wisteria Lane, she already felt as if she'd come home.
"I love you, Lois," he said softly. "I'll never stop loving you. And I swear, I'll never let us get into a situation like this again. I should have told you the truth way back when you were in the hospital and you told me that you were going to accept the FBI's offer —"
"Shh." She placed her finger over his lips. "It doesn't matter. You told me now. And… anyway, I might not have taken the news so well back then."
He nibbled her finger lightly, then reached up and removed it from his mouth. "Hey, as long as I have you with me, I don't care whether you're hugging me or yelling at me!" He grinned. "Though I'd prefer it if you were kissing me…"
Lois willingly complied.
"So, how exactly do I get these powers?"
They were floating in the skies above the Caribbean, where Clark had taken her for a moonlight stroll on a beach — except that she'd preferred to be flying.
"Well, that's the reason I brought us here. Thunderstorms are pretty common in this part of the world, and the forecast is for some a little later."
"Thunderstorms?" She stared at him, confused.
"Yeah — that's how the power transfer works. If I'm struck by lightning and I'm touching someone at the time, they get my powers. Well, that's the way it happened with Resplendent Man. So I'm figuring it'll work the same way with you."
"So we're hanging around here waiting for a thunderstorm?"
"Pretty much." He grinned at her. "So, you feel confident that you can look after yourself if Intergang sends more assassins after you?"
"Well, if I'm invulnerable, it sounds like a piece of cake." She grinned. "It could be pretty funny, actually, if they keep throwing their very worst at me and I'm still alive."
"Yeah." His eyes twinkled. "Actually, I should warn you about that. *Never* let anyone see you get shot at point-blank range, okay? That's one mistake I'll never make again…"
As he trailed off, Lois stared at him, realization dawning. "You were never dead at all! You… you… you… You Superfink, you!"
"Oops." He gave her a wary look.
"Just you wait until I get my powers," she warned him. "Then I'll kick your butt so hard you'll end up in Argentina!"
(c) Tank Wilson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(c) Wendy Richards <email@example.com>