The Costume Controversy

By Erin Klingler <>

Rated: PG

Submitted: November, 2007

Summary: A chicken costume? Short skirts and fishnet stockings? Lois's undercover outfits have always been on the revealing side, but Mad Dog Lane threatens to emerge when her lounge singer get-up gets her mistaken for…a hooker? Husband Clark tries to talk some sense into her about her undercover wardrobe, but Lois dares the most revealingly-dressed man in Metropolis to convince her otherwise!

Author's Notes: This was in response to the Guess-the-Writer challenge on the fanfic message boards. I hope it's not too silly, but it felt good to write something light and fluffy. It's been a while. :) Many thanks to CC Aiken for her quick beta read of this, and for offering her usual invaluable suggestions. She even suggested a couple of lines that had me cracking up, and I thank her for letting me use them! (Think 'topless bar.' Read on and you'll see what I mean. <g>) Thanks for your help, CC! You're the best. :)

I hope you enjoy this little waffy, fun romp. Feedback is always welcome at


"Hey, I'm not some hundred-dollar hooker!" Lois called back, planting her hand on her hip and glowering at the drunken man being led away in handcuffs.

"Two hundred, then!"

Lois rolled her eyes, then glared at the smirking policeman walking past with the man in custody. "And you…wipe that smile off your face!"

The policeman quickly re-schooled his features and turned his attention to putting his charge in the back of a police car.

She overheard the man asking the policeman if he thought he should offer her another hundred. Bristling, she shouted at him, "Let me make this crystal clear, buddy! I. Am. Not. A. Hooker!"

"Well, it turns out you ain't no lounge singer, either," came an angry voice off to her right. "I should have known you were too pretty to be working in a place like this."

She turned to see the leader of the drug ring she'd just busted wide open also being led in handcuffs to the back of a waiting police car. He continued to mutter about undercover reporters and how she was now the bane of his existence.

"Man, I'm really feeling the love tonight," she grumbled as she turned away from the scene. The hem of her sequined gown brushed across her calves and she glanced down at her dress with a frown. She didn't look like a hooker. Did she?

Just then a pair of familiar arms slipped around her waist from behind and she was pulled gently backwards until she was trapped against a strong chest. A slightly stubbled cheek pressed against hers, and then Clark's warm breath was soft in her ear. "Rough night?"

She relaxed in her husband's arms and let her head fall back against his shoulder. "Mmm. All in a day's work, I suppose."

Despite feeling exhausted, the success of an undercover assignment flawlessly executed shined in her eyes as she turned in Clark's arms and smiled up at him. "It all worked out exactly as we'd planned. Isn't that great?"

"Yeah, it's great. Another group of bad guys off the street. Can't ask for better than that."

"Absolutely." She glanced down at her sequined gown once more and brushed at a smudge of dirt that had resulted from the struggle to take down one of the bad guys inside the club. "*You* don't think I look like a hooker, do you?"

Clark chuckled. "I promise, no prostitute I've ever seen stands out on street corners in a sequined gown. I think it's safe to say you don't look like a hooker."

She looked up at him and studied his expression. The corners of her mouth twitched. "But you would have preferred that I'd worn that outfit you bought for me to go undercover in."

"Oh, I like this one much better," he admitted with a boyish grin, but then glanced around them purposefully. "I just don't like the fact that everybody else seems to like you in it, too."

Lois glanced around the parking lot which was teeming with policemen and the men they were arresting. There wasn't a single woman in the bunch. The looks of open admiration she was getting were just annoying.

"What?" she exclaimed loudly, flinging out her arms and catching the attention of everybody nearby. "Haven't you ever seen a woman in a dress before? I'm a married woman! If you know what's good for you, you'll all get your tongues back in your mouth and go about your business."

Trying not to laugh, Clark joined in. "Yeah!" he tacked on for good measure. "I mean…husband, standing right here!"

The drunken man in the back of the police car yelled through the crack in his window, "Well, whatever happened to sharing?"

Clark stiffened at the response but Lois laughed. "Oh, let it go," she said, dismissing the man's remark with a wave of her hand. "He's just trying to bate you. Besides, he's so drunk he won't even remember anything he said in the morning."

Clark relaxed and turned to give her a slight smile. "Yeah, you're right. Sorry." He gave himself a little shake. "I'm just feeling a little on edge tonight."

"Yeah, about that. What has gotten into you tonight? You're not usually this…edgy."

"I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with this…thing…you're wearing."

She glanced down at herself. "Thing? What's wrong with my dress? Other than that guy over there thinking I'm a hooker, I mean."

"There's hardly anything *to* that dress, and you're asking me what's wrong with it?"

She laughed. "Oh, so you still think I should have worn the dress *you* picked out for me to wear last week."

"At least it wouldn't have attracted drunken scumbags like that." He made a disgruntled gesture toward their drunken 'friend.'

"And it would have blown my cover. That dress you picked up for me at the costume shop would have shouted 'suspicious' the second I walked in the door of this club. No lounge singer would wear something like that!"

"What was wrong with it? The woman at the costume shop said it was nice."

Lois snorted. "Was she eighty years old? For cryin' out loud, it was something my grandmother would wear. If somebody is going undercover at a place like this, you wear sequins. Plunging necklines. High slits. Backless. That's what this type of place calls for. You picked the ultimate in modesty, and modesty has no place in a club like this when you're undercover and need to get the story."

"Does getting the story have to entail getting harassed by drunken audience members while you're pretending to be some sultry lounge singer?"

"It does come with the job description." Then her eyes lit with mischief and she leaned forward, as if sharing a secret. "Besides, this dress is nothing. You should have seen some of the stuff I wore before we were partners. One time I was investigating this topless bar—"

Clark groaned and held up his hands. "Please, Lois, do *not* finish that sentence! I don't even want to know."

Grinning at his discomfort, she straightened back up and schooled him with a look. "Back to my question, though. What were you thinking, charging in like an overgrown gorilla and tackling that guy before he'd taken two steps toward me on the stage? You almost blew my cover in there. I thought we'd agreed you'd let me handle this and I'd only call for—" She paused to look around, then lowered her voice. "—you know who…if I got in over my head."

Clark had the decency to look embarrassed. "Sorry. But that guy was drunk out of his mind! When he started heading for the stage and loudly commenting on your—"

"Clark," Lois warned, cutting him off.

"Well, what was I supposed to do? Let him get on the stage with you and do who knows what?"

Ignoring his question, Lois went on. "It's just a good thing you didn't bring the cops in a second earlier. They barely gave the deal time to go down. Talk about cutting it close. Besides, I could have taken care of that guy."

"Maybe so, but I couldn't sit back and let him drool over you like that. I'm your husband. It's my job to keep you safe." He moved closer and slipped his arms around her waist. He smiled when she sighed in protest of his last remark. "I know…that sounded chauvinistic. But I can't just stand by and watch somebody treat you like that." He pulled her closer and pressed a light kiss to her lips. "I love you. I want you to be safe."

The indignant look on her face softened. "I know. And I love you too."

Clark leaned in for another kiss. Lois closed her eyes and enjoyed the heady sensation of Clark's lips on hers, soft, gentle, and full of love. She could kiss her husband this way every day for the rest of her life and it still wouldn't be enough.

"Mmmm," she murmured against his lips. "Is this your way of making amends for that chauvinistic remark?"

He chuckled. "Is it working?"

"Maybe," she purred, moving in to kiss him more deeply.

"Lane! Kent!"

Lois let out a low grumble of protest. Pulling back from Clark's kiss, she looked over to see Detective Henderson across the parking lot trying to get their attention.

"Are you two hanging around for a minute?" he called out to them. "I'll need to get your statements."

Lois sighed and loosened her arms from around Clark's neck. "Duty calls, I guess."

"I guess," Clark echoed, sounding as disappointed as she was at the interruption.

She moved out of Clark's embrace and called back to Henderson, "We're going inside to grab my coat. We'll be right there."

When he nodded, she and Clark started walking toward the club's entrance. They had almost reached the front doors when another cat call broke through the night air. Lois spotted a man—another handcuffed participant in the drug ring they'd broken up that night—being led by a policeman toward a waiting squad car. Lois glared at him as she went past.

"What is with guys?" she complained as Clark put a protective hand on the small of her back. "A woman wears a—well, okay, admittedly skimpy dress, and guys within a two block radius start drooling like a pack of wolves."

"Well, you do look pretty hot." Clark didn't bother suppressing his grin. "As a matter of fact, I can't think of the last time you looked so hot."

The corners of Lois's mouth twisted upward and she turned and lifted her eyebrows at him. "Oh, really?" They had moved into the narrow hallway that led to the dressing rooms in the back of the club, and she glanced around to make sure nobody was within earshot. When she was sure they were alone, she leaned in and whispered, "How about the time I spent in that Ultra Woman costume?"

Clark lifted his eyebrows and his grin widened. "Okay, you looked pretty hot in that one, too."

"And how about the time when I wore that chicken costume with all the feathers and that big chicken head?"

"Mmm, the chicken costume," Clark murmured in blissful agreement. "Metro Club. I'd forgotten about that one. Yeah, okay, you looked pretty amazing then, too. Well, in a cute, farmyard kind of way."

He ducked away as Lois playfully smacked his shoulder. When they continued down the hallway, he lifted his hands and shoulders in a shrug. "But this is exactly my point, and the reason why I picked out that other dress for you to wear. You always seem to pick the sleeziest, most revealing costumes to go undercover in. Next time, wear the non-attention-grabbing costume or disguise, okay?"

"Clark," Lois breathed in strained patience. "We're reporters. This is what we do. We go undercover the best way we can to get the story. And we did."

"I know we did," he agreed. "But what is it with you and your love of dressing up?"

They turned to the right and entered the dressing room that held the club's on-stage costume choices. Lois shrugged as she began rummaging through the far rack for her coat. "I don't know. I've just always loved dressing up. Halloween was one of mine and Lucy's favorite holidays."

"Really?" Clark leaned back against the dressing room wall and tilted his head, regarding his wife with renewed interest. "You never told me that."

"Didn't think it was important."

"No, really." Clark folded his arms across his chest and pressed on. "I want to know. What did you think was so great about Halloween?"

"Halloween just gave us a chance to wear costumes. I loved wearing costumes."

"Yes, but why?"

Her hands stilled on the hangers and she gave him a look of disbelief over her shoulder. "You're kidding, right? This, coming from a man who wears a costume under his clothes 24/7?"

He laughed. "Well, we both know why I feel the need for one. But why do you?"

She stopped her rummaging and let out a breath as she turned to face him. Her face tightened as the memories came to the forefront of her mind. "I don't know. It probably has something to do with how I grew up. With my mom and dad always fighting, my mom drinking all the time, and my dad pretending he wasn't seeing other women…it was just easy to think about being somebody else…to want to be somebody else." She shrugged. "Lucy and I always come up with these really elaborate costumes. We were kind of known for it among our friends. 'What are Lois and Lucy going to come up with this year?' It was a big deal."

A smile crept across Clark's face. "So you decided to make a career out of dressing up in costumes and disguises?"

"Something like that." After a moment, she visibly shook herself out of her memories and changed the subject. "You know as well as I do, though, that reporting isn't just about wearing disguises and going undercover. We do a lot of good exposing the injustices in the world. Wearing the occasional costume is just icing on the cake." She grinned.

"True enough. Though, I suppose one could say you were still wearing a disguise when I first met you."

Lois looked at him in confusion. "What do you mean?"

Clark let his arms fall to his sides as he pushed away from the wall and took slow steps toward her. "Well, you were incredible, don't get me wrong. But you put on this act—cold and angry and treating everybody like they were beneath you. But that's what I found so fascinating. You allowed me flashes of this other person underneath, and I knew that if I just kept wearing you down, one day I might finally see the real you. It took me a long time to coax that disguise off you, but I finally did find the real you."

She smiled softly as he stopped in front of her. "And?" she prompted.

"And," he echoed, lifting a hand to her face and stroking the pad of his thumb along her cheekbone, "I found out you were even more incredible than I imagined. You're passionate and intense, but you're also soft-hearted and kind, and I've only grown to love you more every moment I spend with you."

Tears gathered in Lois's eyes at his words and she gazed up into the soulful brown eyes staring into hers. "Oh, Clark."

His gaze dipped to her lips, then flickered back up to her eyes. Then he lowered his head to hers and kissed her sweetly, tenderly. It left her mind reeling, her heart thudding, and her body aching for more.

When he finally pulled away, he stared at her for a long moment, then asked, "Can I ask you a question?"

Surprised at the seriousness in his tone, she nodded. "Of course."

"So…why do you like dressing up as a hooker?"

Lois gasped, then laughed and smacked his arm. "Clark Kent! You are so going to get it."

He threw his head back and laughed, the warm, carefree sound she'd always loved reverberating off the walls of the dressing room.

As she muttered about having a tease for a husband and went back to searching for her coat, Clark's laughter slowly faded. "You know I'm kidding. But what I seriously don't get is, why is it that every time you go undercover you wear something totally revealing or downright slutty?"

"Slutty?" she protested. "Not even! Name one thing I ever wore that was 'slutty.'"

"You're on. Do the names 'Angel and Spike' ring a bell?"

Lois paled. Angel and Spike. Dang. She did remember that. Flashes of a tight vinyl, hot-pink sleeveless top coupled with an ultra-tight, ultra-short black mini-skirt and tall, black, stiletto-heeled boots came to mind. A blush slowly crept across her face. Okay, well…Clark had her there. 'Slutty' didn't even begin to describe that outfit.

"Fine," she muttered in embarrassment. "You win. Yes, that was slutty."

Clark pumped a fist in victory and hissed, "Yesss."

"But we were visiting a criminal in a prison! 'Slutty' kind of fit the bill."

"I'll give you that. But what about everything else? Do you ever pick anything to wear undercover that's not ultra revealing?"

"Ohhhh, wait just a second." Lois turned back to Clark, her eyes flashing in playful challenge. "Stop right there, buddy. You're complaining about *me* wearing something revealing? At least *I* don't run around in a spandex body suit and tights…and with my underwear on the outside of my outfit! Let's talk about *that*, shall we?"

Clark had the decency to blush. "Okay, I see your point. But at least my outfit covers my body!"

Lois snorted. "But leaves nothing to the imagination! What's the difference? I don't get what all this controversy over a costume is all about. Why does this bother you so much? Really, I want to know."

"It doesn't *bother* me," Clark retreated.

But Lois took one look at him and crossed her arms. "Clark. You're a terrible liar."

"I'm not—" He trailed off as she glared at him. "Okay, fine," he acquiesced. "It bothers me. Sometimes."

She let her arms fall to her side and moved to stand in front of him. Wrapping her arms around his waist, she looked up into his eyes searchingly. "Why? Why does it bother you?"

He let his breath out in a rush and shifted uneasily in her arms. "I guess…" He paused, and she waited. Finally he went on. "I guess it just took me so long to convince you to look my way that I get jealous. You're entirely too good for me, you know? Sometimes I wonder what you ever saw in me. But we are so perfect together, and I don't want to lose that. I know it's silly, but…" He trailed off once more and finally gave up and shrugged. "That's how I feel."

"Oh, Clark." Lois tightened her arms around him and rested her cheek against his chest, comforted by the sound of his heart thudding against her ear. "You know you're not going to lose me. Ever. *I'm* the lucky one in this relationship. You know as well as I do that nobody else would put up with me."

The sound of his laughter rumbling in his chest made her smile. She snuggled in closer when he wrapped his arms around her and pressed a gentle kiss into her hair.

"Just promise me next time that you'll only wear those costumes for me. I don't like the idea of sharing you." They stood in each other's arms for a long minute in a comforting silence. Then he spoke again, and there was a smile in his voice. "It's too bad you don't still have that ridiculous chicken costume. It was actually pretty sexy."

Lois chuckled as she pulled back so she could look up at him. "Really? You think? Well, as a matter of fact, I do still have it."

When he cocked his eyebrows at her with obvious interest, she dropped her voice to a seductive whisper. "Along with the Ultra Woman costume. And you… You know what costume *I* like." She slid her hand suggestively up his torso where it came to rest on his chest. She could feel the familiar bulk of the famous shield beneath her hand. "Maybe…" she breathed, "…we can go home and see who looks better in their costume."

"Oh, really?" Clark's eyebrows crawled up his forehead and a hopeful smile lit up his face. "Are you suggesting we go have a little costume contest?"

She stood up on her tiptoes to press a seductive kiss to his lips. "That's exactly what I'm suggesting."

He kissed her back and murmured against her lips, "You're on."

With one last, lingering kiss, Lois giggled as she stepped out of their embrace and managed to dig her coat out from the rack. Clark took it from her and held it for her.

"Thank you," she said, smiling up at him gratefully. She reached up to smooth some of the sequins on her dress that were grabbing at the buttonholes of her coat as they stepped apart.

"You have to admit, though, this dress helped us nail this story," she told Clark as they left the dressing room and walked back down the hall to the deserted club's entrance.

"Okay, fine, I'll admit your outfit worked." Clark gave a reluctant nod. "But now that you know how I feel about preferring to have you all to myself, you'll pick something a little less revealing for our next undercover assignment, right?"

They stepped out into the night, and Lois looked over at Clark. Leaning in so nobody could overhear their conversation, she drawled, "Less revealing? You, the man who wears the most revealing costume in Metropolis, are asking me to wear something less revealing?"

Clark nodded, his eyes hopeful.

"I'll make you a deal. You were something less revealing to do your job as Superman, and I'll wear something less appealing to do my job as an uncover reporter."

Clark's hopeful look faded. "Lois, come on, you can't be serious. You know that's totally different."

"Really?" she demanded. "Tell me, how exactly is it different?"

He glanced around to make sure they still weren't being overheard, then hissed, "Because I wear the costume to cover my identity while I'm saving people's lives, while you—"

"—Wore this slinky dress tonight to cover *my* identity while putting criminals behind bars who endangered people's lives." She drove her point home with a winning smile. "So, how exactly is that different?"

"Lo-is. You know it's not the same."

"It's very much the same," she argued. "You wear a revealing spandex costume to keep people from finding out you are a mild-mannered undercover reporter, and I wear various revealing 'costumes' to keep people from finding out I'm a…well…not-so-mild-mannered uncover reporter. It's not different."

"Yeah? Well, my skintight outfit makes me more aerodynamic. I can fly more freely. What do all *your* skimpy outfits do?"

She flashed him a grin. "The less clothes I wear, the faster I can run from the bad guys."

"Lo-is." Clark groaned. "I know you don't really believe that. Or…maybe you do. You *do* seem to be running from bad guys a lot." He paused to pretend to consider that for a moment. But when her eyes lit up in anticipation of victory, he chuckled and shook his head. "Nope, I'm not letting you have that one. 'Superman' is a completely different thing and you know it. You just love controversy so much that you'll turn all the angles inside out to create a debate."

"Which is exactly what a good reporter *should* do." She punctuated her reply by jabbing her index finger into his chest. Then she grinned with satisfaction. "And you know I can counter every argument you make on this so you might as well just give up now."

She patted him on the chest and turned to walk toward Henderson, who was waiting for them near one of the squad cars, but not before she heard Clark chuckle and saw him shake his head in amusement. As usual, he was fighting a losing battle and he knew it.

As he hurried to catch up with her, he asked hopefully, "But we're still having that costume contest at home, right?"

She rolled her eyes. "Yes, we can still have a costume contest." Glancing down at her plunging neckline that gave a tantalizing view of her cleavage, then at her slitted skirt that showed off her long, shapely legs, she announced, "But just so you know, I think I'm going to win."

"I don't doubt that for a second." He waggled his eyebrows in anticipation. "I can tell tonight's going to be a good night."

"It is," she purred. "Just think…alllll those revealing outfits…"

"Revealing is good. Just not for everybody else in this city. Lois, please?" he tried again. "Wear all the revealing outfits at home you want—as a matter of fact, I think that's *all* you should wear at home," he said, causing her to smile, "but all I'm asking for is one less-revealing undercover outfit. Come on. Make your husband happy."

Lois's eyes held a teasing glint as she tossed a grin at him over her shoulder. "Not a chance, Superman. Not a chance."