By Kermtzu <>

Rated: PG

Submitted December, 2007

Summary: You don't tug on Superman's cape, but he's the nicer of the two superheroes on the planet. Don't even think about messing with Lois Lane!

Author's notes: I don't even pretend my stories fall properly into the television chronology. Characters, events & times fluctuate wildly. There are so many alternate universe stories in the archives, just call this another one. That said, this is the third story in my series of a superpowered Lois. The first is 'Keeping Up With Lois' and the second 'Best Served Cold.' I strongly suggest you read those stories before this one. I've got a few more ideas for this series; I hope you enjoy this and future scribblings! Please send feedback; it's always welcome at

Words in asterisks denote emphasis


It was Lois' birthday, and to her amazement, she wasn't dreading it in the least. It had been her normal behavior since childhood to gloss over the day and move on to the next; the horror that been her family life with an absent and adulterous father, coupled with her mother's ensuing alcoholism, made a mockery of celebrating family events. So much had happened in the past year for Lois, however, and all of it so good, she often thought 'okay, Lois -- time to wake up: this terrific dream is over.' She marveled at times that she was not living someone else's life. Why were things so much better for her now than they'd been for the younger Lois Lane?

Let's see:

Unthinkably, a year ago her insane editor had given her a partner at the Daily Planet. A partner! Her, the best investigative reporter in the city! Incomprehensibly though, she loved it. Hmm, maybe that was because...

Her partner was a hunk, a fantastic friend and pretty good writer and partner, too, (except for his ever-present need to edit her copy). But *such* a hunk! Oh, and...

He was also Superman. The invulnerable superhuman with incalculable strength, super hearing, vision and speed, flight and other overwhelming powers, not the least of which was the ability for a man to wear tights and look good doing so. And even before she'd learned about his dual personality...

That same man's family had adopted her unconditionally, soothing so much of the hurt from her past. She had never felt so cherished, so part of a family before, and amazingly, another type of relationship was forming, because...

She and her partner were slowly entering a partnership that had *nothing* to do with work. Wow. How could it be any better? Oh, wait. It could.

She'd gained Superman's powers.

Clark fit somewhere into all of these wonderful new facets of her life. Maybe, just maybe, her life was so much better because, simply, she met Clark Kent.

So here she was on her birthday with her partner, killing some time before meeting friends and co-workers for a few drinks and karaoke later in the evening, and actually looking forward to doing so.

Killing time, though, when you are Lois Lane, is never normal. Normal and Lois very rarely met in the same sentence, unless there was a negative involved. Killing time today meant putting an end to an armed robbery attempt. She and Clark had been window-shopping when they'd heard the bank alarm. Most emergencies could easily be handled by either, but there was the joy of camaraderie in working together, that same sense of exhilaration shared when they wrote, argued and bounced story ideas off one another as journalists. So into an alley they'd gone, Lois wondering idly just what good alleys were besides a convenient changing room, and back out to once again put away some bad guys. She'd had Clark turn his back, as usual, accusing him of watching her change clothing during the familiar spin. She always made him go first, since she was faster than he, and could change into her Suit, follow his lead, and still beat him to their destination. She, of course, *never* peeked as he spun into his Suit.

Superman disabled the getaway car in a manner that did no damage to the street or nearby pedestrians while Justice, Lois' alter ego, dealt with the three frightened criminals who scrambled to find safety. She grumbled at them to put down their guns, but they didn't. None ever did. Did anyone believe that a bullet was *ever* going to have an effect on the superpowered duo? Sighing at the inevitability of it all, she pulled her sword, Pen, from... wherever it was that their stuff seemed to go... and spun it as the crooks fired.

Clark liked to catch bullets and crumple them into a leaden mass in order to prevent a glancing shot injuring someone, but Lois had been practicing and now she used Pen to whittle away at the bullets as they flew. A speeding bullet depends on its mass to cause damage -- after all, force is simply mass multiplied by acceleration -- but by the time a bullet is powdered into about seventy thousand pieces, as these bullets were with Pen and Lois' superspeed, no chance of injury remained. At some point in the future, though, a microscopic portion of what had once been a bullet might become a speck of dust in someone's eye. It was a dangerous world out there, after all.

Clark muttered under his breath, "Show off."

Lois smiled. This from a man who'd lifted a shuttle transport into space and acted like it took no more effort than tying a shoe.

One quick application of super strength on a convenient street sign left the three would-be robbers wrapped up waiting, frustrated yet patient. The police by now were used to untangling crooks.

"Justice, do you want to take them in, or shall I?" asked Clark, who was still uncomfortable calling Lois by her alternate name. Keeping his identity changes and cover stories straight when switching from Clark to Superman had always been difficult; having to do the same for Lois and Justice was almost beyond him. Lois never had a problem. Clark suspected that it had to do with an inherent benefit of the babble gene; she'd just go on talking until any bystander hoping to hear where she'd run off to or what it was she'd been doing was left in the verbal dust.

"Oh, let's just wait for the police to get them. We've still got a few minutes."

At this, the nearby crowd leaned forward, either unknowing or uncaring how obviously they gawked. Here were the world's only two superheroes, and they weren't flying off in a hurry as was the norm. Since Justice had appeared some months ago, very little had been learned about her. Was she Superman's sister? Girlfriend? Was she, too, from Krypton? Was she human or alien? Were there more superheroes on the way? She wore a blindfold -- was she truly blind? Lois & Clark enjoyed sharing their common secret, but both knew an interview with Justice should be done, and soon; Perry was threatening to mount heads on spikes outside the Planet Building unless someone got to Justice and provided the Planet with an exclusive.

As the police cut loose and led away three frustrated criminals (Lois stuck her tongue out at them) the two superheroes decided to walk for a few minutes before heading to their apartments to change for the party. As always, Lois could see citizens watching her carefully -- with her blindfold, people expected her to walk into a telephone pole or street sign. She was perversely tempted to splang right into a newsstand for laughs, but she was trying her hardest to act like her Boy Scout, all noble, stoic and serene. Not that *she* could ever be described as *anything* like a Girl Scout! Some small talk, a few autographs and many enthused fans later, they flew off to prepare for the festivities.


Lois' birthday party would become the stuff of legend. The party had started with Lois, the birthday girl, called up to the stage to sing karaoke. She was always pressured for a song at any event due to her beautiful voice, but tonight, as the guest of honor, she was elected to begin. Frank Sinatra being a favorite, she chose 'Moon over Metropolis.'

{*"The moon is full and bright tonight

Baby it's lit up just for us

There's nobody else in sight

Just you and me in Metropolis"*}

She didn't plan to, but as she sang her gaze turned inexorably to Clark, and then she couldn't turn away.

{*"I'd say let's get away,

Off alone, just we two

But the city seems to say, tonight,

There's only me and you"*}

As she finished the song, she noticed that every single person was watching her watching him. Clark had noticed as well and was blushing, but looked very, very smug. To pay him back, Lois dragged him up on stage. Superman might be able to change the course of mighty rivers, throw an oil tanker into orbit or crush a car into the size of a nickel, but Clark simply could not sing. If any note he hit *was* correct, it was due to random chance, not planning. To universal relief, Lois rejoined him on stage and covered for him to finish the song. Not a word was spoken in the audience, but every staffer at the Planet that night made a solemn vow that Clark Kent would never again be allowed near a microphone while they still had breath in their body.

Perry took the stage a few songs later, mint juleps having loosened up his gruff exterior and inhibitions, and to the amazement of all, did *not* sing an Elvis song, but instead chose 'The Wind Beneath My Wings' and dedicated it to Alice. She glowed as she watched her husband of thirty years expose his heart to all present. Those that needed to wipe their eyes at the finish (and there were more than a few) had done so when Jimmy grabbed a white linen tablecloth and folded it up to place around his neck, then sprang to the stage. Punching in the numbers for his song into the machine, he swiveled his hips and sang,

{*"The warden threw a party in the county jail

The prison band was there and they began to wail

The band was jumpin' and the joint began to swing

You should've heard those knocked out jailbirds sing!"*}

Elvis *was* in the building. And from there things just got silly.


Being invulnerable and thus immune to alcohol made Lois and Clark automatic 'designated drivers.' After an hour of making certain that everyone made it home safely, even flying home a few that were unable to notice, Clark walked with Lois to her apartment. It simply wasn't possible to stop laughing at the antics of their friends that evening. Applegate's surprising baritone was perfect for 'Bad to the Bone,' Myerson turned out to have almost as bad a singing voice as Clark, and Cat and Jimmy's rendition of 'Paradise by the Dashboard Light' had everyone whooping it up. Lois, of course, had her camera with her and had gained easily a year's worth of blackmail material.

Reaching her apartment, Lois threw her arms around Clark. "This is the best birthday I've ever had, Clark. Thank you so much for setting everything up!"

Clark smiled as he caressed her cheek. "I'm so glad, Lois. I know that I've never laughed harder in my life than tonight."

"Do you remember when Ralph --"

"Oh yuck, and he tried to explain it away by --"

"I've ever seen anyone tossed out the back door!"

"And then he came back in --"

"And Perry threw him out!"

After another burst of laughter, Lois managed to turn the multitude of locks on her door to enter. Clark stepped back slightly.

"I've got to grab something, Lois -- I'll be back in a second." Lois had just enough time to kick off one shoe before he was back. "It took you two seconds, Clark. Let's make sure that when we really need some speed, I'm the one who... Oooh! Presents!"

Stifled in mid-babble. Today was one for the record books.

"What did you get me!? What did you get? C'mon, slowpoke, gimme!"

Clark gestured for her to sit down and handed her the first of two presents, a long and narrow wrapped box.

"Haven't you x-rayed it yet, Lois?"

"Oh, come on, Clark! You don't cheat by sneaking a peek at your presents. You just gotta feel them all over, give them a shake, figure out what's inside and *then* open the present."

Clark smiled. "You won't figure this one out, Lois."

She had to admit he was right; it rustled slightly and the shape was odd, so off came the paper and she tore into the box to see a long stretch of...

Red leather?

"Um, Clark, I think you gave me Cat's birthday present instead."

Clark turned almost as red as the present. "It's not... I wouldn't... oh, heck, Lois! I don't want you to put it on, well, yes, I do want you to put it on, but it's not what you think... it's not --"

Lois took pity on him and pulled it out. It was a hand-tooled scabbard.

"Ooh! For Pen?"

Clark's color was now closer to normal. "Yes, from Mom and Dad. Dad thought you might put your eye out waving Pen around, so he cured and cut the leather and Mom and dyed and finished it. You can put it on when you put on your Suit, and you won't have to reach back in and get Pen."

Lois was smiling. "Clark, your parents are the best, most thoughtful people! Unique, too -- I'll bet no woman in the history of the world has ever gotten a scabbard for her birthday! I like the red, too. It will set off my black and white, and match your Suit, too. I'll also be able to get Pen and not one of your smelly boots next time I reach into... you know, wherever that stuff goes."

"Now what's my other present? C'mon, hand it over!"

As soon as Clark gave it to her, Lois was already analyzing the possible contents. "Okay, it's the right size for a DVD, but too thick for just one, so it's got to be a set." She shook it gently. "Yep. DVDs. Oh! Clark! I know what it is! It's that new Brock Unstoppable three pack! Oh, you're the best! The second movie was a little unbelievable, what with that car chase on the cruise liner, but that series is the best since Lethal Weapon! And I love the part where Brock has to fight off the killer ninjas in the helicopter and all he has is a basketball and a hand grenade, and the grenade is a dud and he knows it, but the *ninjas* don't know that, and he manages --"

Interrupting gently, Clark asked, "Are you going to open it at all, Lois?"

"Oh, of course, silly! I'm so keyed up by the fun tonight that we'll have to watch at least the first movie. I know I won't be able to get to sleep easily tonight! We can watch the other two on Saturday if we can finish off that piece for Perry on --" she trailed off as the DVD set was revealed.

The Ivory Tower: The First Year.

Lois looked up at Clark. "Clark --"

"It's okay, Lois. We all have our guilty pleasures."

"But this! I love this show! Especially the first year. Gwendolyn loves Richard so much that she gives herself to Peter, because Peter has proof that Richard killed a man, except it was in self defense *and* the man didn't even die! He was in a coma! Gwendolyn didn't know that, but that scuzzball Peter did! And he still took advantage of her, but then Peter is shot, and --"

"Clark, how did you know I love this program?"

Lois, wonderful Lois. Bored to death by chick flicks, but addicted to a schmaltzy soap opera. Just another of the million contradictions that made her extraordinary.

"I have my sources, Lois. Remember, I investigate for a living?"

Lois was hungrily reading all the extra bonus features on the DVD box. "Uh huh. Sources. Lucy told you."

Clark smiled. Nothing ever got by Lois. He resigned himself to at least three hours of Lois' soap opera, but this would be different from those horrible films to which Lois had taken him as punishment. Lois loved this program, and if it made Lois happy then Clark was all for it, whether Gwendolyn ever ended up with Richard or not.


The next morning at the Planet proved to a certainty the relationship between fun had and price paid. Being invulnerable, Lois and Clark were fine, but both made sure to float slightly above the floor while 'walking' to prevent the dreadful sound of footsteps in an office full of zombies. Coffee could not be made fast enough, with some staffers standing at the pot, finishing a cup, and starting another with no other movement. Perry hadn't been seen since he'd come in at six, but rumor had it he'd been carrying an ice pack. Jimmy was unabashedly asleep in a chair, snoring quietly. Cat crawled in wearing an outfit that for her was modest.

Lois whispered, "Clark, do you think that's the Cat's pajamas?"

Clark groaned.

Eduardo walked by, grim-faced. "I hear you, Clark. Jimmy! Quit snoring!"

As Jimmy snuffled and fell out of his chair, every computer monitor in the Pit went blank for a moment. When they flickered back into life, each had an identical image on the screen.

Pink, red and white hearts were floating and bouncing about like a screen saver, and the speakers for computer each started playing soft romantic music. After bouncing off the edges of the screen and each other for a minute, the hearts began to swirl and melted together in the center of each screen to form the words 'I love you, Lois Lane!'

Lois put her head in her hands as Perry burst out of his office.

"Lois! Clark! You'll never guess who's busted out of prison!"

Lois sighed. "I can guess, Chief. Kyle Griffin. The Prankster."


Kyle Griffin sat in his made-to-order chair and adjusted a few dials on his control panel. It had taken every bit of his influence while in jail to set this up, but a talent for acquisition of items to use for trades and favors, along with his random sadism made it fairly simple to complete arrangements prior to his escape. Planning. It always came down to planning. Being a genius was only part of what made him unique; planning for all eventualities was another. The random factor that was Lois Lane was the only variable for which he could not plan, and therefore she was to be removed from the equation.

Bringing one camera on the console into sharper focus and checking the password generator for success (it was still running through combinations at the rate of several hundred thousand per second), he leaned back in his chair. Provisioned, stocked with entertainment diversions and state-of-the-art electronics, he was ready to begin stage two of the humiliation and destruction of Lois Lane. Using the Planet to do so was just icing on the cake. The plan was less dramatic and not as spectacular as was the norm, but that woman had sent him to jail twice! There would be no third time, and once she was out of the way, then he could resume his grandiose schemes. The performance, of course, was just as important as the crime. Smiling, he bit into an energy bar. Just a few weeks of his self-imposed confinement, and Lois Lane would be no more.


Lois spent the next several hours as Justice, flying over Metropolis and scanning for some indication of the Prankster, while Clark interviewed the warden and staff of the New Troy State Penitentiary. No one had yet figured out how Kyle Griffin had escaped; his cell was still locked; he simply wasn't in it at the morning inmate check.

Neither Lois nor Clark had any luck in using their abilities. Lois found no signs of the Prankster in the city, while Clark's enhanced vision found nothing unusual in or around the jail cell. After fruitless searching and useless interviews, Clark spoke quietly while leaving the penitentiary's visitor area.

"Lois, why not meet me at Antonio's for dinner?"

Miles away and hundreds of feet above the ground, Lois heard and descended to change clothing. Clark had always been in tune with Lois' heartbeat and a sense of her wellbeing or discomfort, and the two had found that since Lois' duplication of Superman's powers, one could speak to the other in a normal tone of voice and the other would hear, no matter the distance between them. Neither could explain it. Martha had strong suspicions why this unique means of communication worked, but she wasn't talking -- let the kids figure it out for themselves!

Meeting at Antonio's, the two shared their lack of success. Unfortunately, the dinner was a failure, as Lois was unable to think of anything except the freedom of the Prankster. She had put him into jail twice, and as a result he'd sworn vengeance on her. Clark had seen Lois' reaction to the Prankster during his last escapade, when she'd arrived at his apartment with pizza and videos after Kyle Griffin threatened her life. At that time she'd been a normal human, and frightened for her safety. Even with her recently-gained superpowers, Lois was still obviously worried and upset throughout their dinner, and every topic Clark brought up in an attempt to cheer her up or divert the conversation had ended in silence or shifted back somehow to the Prankster. The effect this criminal had on Lois' sense of security angered him. Add to that the fact that he had gained no new information for his article on the less-than-dramatic escape except to confirm that the Prankster had been in jail and now was not. Perry would not be pleased with filler in a front-page article.

Clark was not happy. The Prankster had a lot to answer for.


Griffin was both pleased and disturbed. Pleased that his password generator had worked several hours after starting its routine; phase two was now complete and phase three started, but he was annoyed that his camera banks were faulty. Lois managed to escape detection every so often, and he had no idea how. The rerouting system had been built to his specifications, so it was obviously a technical problem, but he was in no position to either manually reposition or adjust the units. Victor would have been the obvious choice to do so, but he was still in prison and Griffin had no plans to spring him. Along with that pest Lane, his reliance on that fool Victor had been his downfall previously, and using middlemen now for outside work was the way to go. Anonymous dealings with henchmen was the way of the future, and Kyle Griffin was nothing if not an innovator. Having no connections to his hirelings would not only prevent them identifying him but also make it easier to avoid paying and/or killing them when necessary.

His confinement was starting to grate, but he was looking forward to the outcome of the second portion of his plan. She had made a fool of him twice, but paybacks were hell.

"Ah, Lois. So in love. My congratulations on the culmination of your romantic dreams!"


Clark arrived very early at the Daily Planet the next day. He had a few ideas to pursue on how to find the Prankster, and wanted to do so before Lois' arrival. She had been so preoccupied with the villain the previous night that Clark wanted to put an end quickly to Griffin's freedom and spare her more anxiety. Putting Jimmy into research mode while digging through Lois' old work on Kyle Griffin, Clark was surprised when Lois arrived. The three extra hours he'd gained by his early arrival had quickly passed, and it was now their normal starting time. He looked up with a smile as she exited the elevators, but dropped his jaw when he saw the look on her face. Lois was furious.

"Clark! Perry! Your office. *Now*!"

Perry joined Clark in gaping. Lois stormed into Perry's office with a copy of the morning edition of the Planet, not waiting for either. Wishing to avoid being chewed up and spit out, the two men followed meekly, Perry not even upset at Lois seizing his office.

"Lois, what is it?" asked a worried Perry.

"This!" said Lois, slapping the paper down on Perry's desk. The desk staggered, but neither Perry nor Clark noticed. The headline jumped out at them:


"This is insane, Lois! I never authorized this," scowled Perry. "The lead was about President Garner's plan to rebuild Fernwood, Ohio, after the tornadoes."

"Of course you didn't send this to press, Chief. Griffin has somehow changed today's paper to show this headline. And it gets worse! Read the article, Clark."

Clark winced, and picked up the paper. It had a nice photograph of Lois, gazing down adoringly at the diminutive Resplendent Man. "Photoshopped, Lois?"

Lois growled. "Just read it, Kent."

Clark cleared his throat.

"Lois Lane, reporter for the Daily Planet, reported today her engagement to the once-heroic Resplendent Man, following years of her unsuccessful and pathetic attempts to land Superman. Quoting Lane: 'I now know I'd never be the woman Superman needs, but I can be everything and more to my darling R-Man! Even without his powers, he's the superstud I need!' Superman was unavailable for comment, but the world now wonders who will step up and become the Man of Steel's biggest stalker, since Lane --"

Clark was interrupted by Cat Grant entering Perry's office.

"Lois, is it true? Did you --"

One look from Lois was all it took. Cat slunk out.

Clark put down the paper. This was painful.

"No one would really believe this, Lois."

Lois glared. "Oh, really? I had five people congratulate me on the way into the office this morning! Lucy called, or at least I *think* it was she who called. All I heard on the telephone was laughter. Griffin won't be going back to jail when we find him, because I'm going to kill him!"

She stormed out of the office. Everyone in the Pit was reading the article, and looked up when she slammed the door to Perry's office. Without a word, every copy ended up in the trash or a recycle bin, and activity resumed faster than even Perry's gruffest of roars could produce.

Back in the office, Clark looked to Perry for guidance. "Is that staffing position in Paris still open, Chief?"

"Sorry son, but I think I'll take that myself. This character Griffin is in for a world of hurt, but I think we're going to end up being collateral damage."

Clark x-rayed through the door to see Lois at her desk. She was staring at her keyboard. Clark could see that several keys had been smashed down through the keyboard and into the desk below.

"I think I'll go talk to her, Chief. Could you see that Jimmy gets my stapler if I don't make it?"

"It's been good knowing you, Clark. I'll be sure to tell your folks that you went out a hero."


Research the rest of the day produced no leads. None of the Prankster's old associates or helpers was out of jail and checking his old haunts and hiding places resulted in no luck. There were also no thefts of unusual or rare objects in Metropolis, one of Griffin's signature traits. The man's hubris compelled him to seize the limelight as he furthered his plans, but this series of antics was different. He had simply disappeared from prison and not been seen since.

To Clark's relief, Lois' anxiety of the night before had ended and turned to pure Lois Lane venom. This was a good thing, he thought, although it created a new concern for him while also providing relief at her liberation from fear. He had been wondering for hours how to protect Griffin from Lois once they'd caught him.

Finally, Clark pulled Lois gently from her chair, where she'd been flipping through pages at superspeed. "C'mon, Lois. We're done here for today."

"No, Clark. I'm almost finished here, and then I'm going to reread all my notes from the first time I put this creep in jail."

Clark persisted, "That will be a good start for tomorrow, Lois. Tonight we're going to get out of here and see a movie. I never did get to see the end of 'Brock Unholstered.'"

"That's because you were running for your life, buster! Watching another movie when you were supposed to be watching *my* movie, although it wasn't *my* movie, since *I* didn't even want to watch the stupid thing in the first place, it was just to get you back for hiding your split personality from me for so long. You should just be grateful that I decided you'd had enough of those..."

And on and on. This was the Lois Clark knew and loved.

"...and you get to pay, Kent. I'm glad that movie's still showing -- for a while I'd had enough of movies to last a lifetime, but I'm itching for a good action flick. I'm going to get a large bucket of popcorn, extra butter, and melt M & M's on top."

"Invulnerability does have some advantages, Lois."

"Yep! Let's go. I can't wait to see how Brock gets out of that head-on three car collision in mid-air."

They walked in pleasant company to the theater. Clark had checked the Internet for show times earlier in the day, and they arrived with just enough time to purchase some refreshments prior to the show. Settling comfortably into their seats, Lois frowned at the screen, which was playing advertisements.

"Clark, do you remember when movies had only coming attractions and then the film? Now there are a million commercials, for which the theater must rake in big bucks, but of course they don't bother to reduce the ticket prices. It's like those women's magazines that cost seven dollars and are ninety percent ads. We should consider an expose of ticket price increases over the years and how they've continued to rise as --"

Clark shushed her as a commercial came on the screen for the Daily Planet.

"I didn't hear that upstairs had approved film advertisements for the paper, Lois."

Lois grumbled. "Money wasted. It could've been used to give us a nice Christmas bonus instead."

The commercial began by showing the world famous globe atop the world's greatest newspaper, as the announcer stated, "The Daily Planet. The finest newspaper in the world."

The camera panned down and out to encompass the whole building.

"Over the years, Daily Planet journalists have won two Pulitzer Prizes and seventeen Kerth Awards --"

Lois muttered under her breath, "By next year, it will be *three* Pulitzers."

"And that grand tradition of journalistic excellence continues today, with 'The Hottest Team in Town!'" The camera framed the familiar poster of Lois' and Clark's eyes looking over the top of a Planet paper.

Clark blushed slightly. This was almost more embarrassing than appearing in public as Superman.

The camera jerked slightly, as the advertisement changed from celluloid to videotape.

A different voice continued, "Led by senior journalist Lois Lane, uncovering dark secrets --"

The video showed Lois looking in the rear view mirror of her Jeep, picking out a piece of broccoli from between her teeth.

"Exposing waste --"

Cut to Lois scarfing down two Double Fudge Crunch Bars.

"And digging deep for the truth."

Another cut to Lois, hiking up her pantyhose beneath her skirt.

Shocked, Clark turned to Lois, but she was no longer in her seat. She was sinking down into it. Literally. And *through* the seat, through the floor, the subflooring, concrete and soil below in a reverse float and judicious use of super strength. About ten feet down into the hole, she twisted and started to dig, a super mole on the go. Clark looked around, noting the other patrons were looking only at the screen as they laughed uproariously, so he dove in after her.


"Clark, I am never going to be able to show my face in Metropolis, or the world for that matter, ever again!" moaned Lois forlornly, as she and Clark sat atop the Eiffel Tower.

"I called and had Jimmy do some quick research, Lois," said Clark in a soothing voice. "That ad spot was only shown in Metropolis, and only at that screening. The management pulled it immediately. It had been approved by the Planet's advertising staff, digitally recorded, and sent to the theater that day for showing. Somehow the Prankster managed to gain access and edit the ad."

"Right now, I'm more concerned about how Griffin's done this. Apparently he's been following you around and filming what you've been doing."

"Of course he's following me around! How else could he have video of me wrestling with my pantyhose?"

"Leave that thought for a moment, Lois. How is Griffin doing this? *He* can't be following you around; we would have seen him by now. His toady, Victor, is still in prison, so he's not using him; I'm pretty sure we would have spotted him by now as well."

"Clark, don't you think I would have noticed some nut following me around with a video camera? Griffin's got some way of checking on me. I'm terrified that he's seen me switch into Justice, or worse, he's been watching me in the shower."

Clark sat quietly. Lois had an excellent point. Aside from the cruelty of filming her in unguarded moments, exposure of her abilities would create unpleasant and disastrous ramifications for them both.

"I don't think he has, Lois. If Griffin had footage of you switching to or from Justice, his ego wouldn't allow him to just sit on it. He'd have it on LNN in a heartbeat."

Lois shook her head. "No, Clark, he'd put it in the Planet. He's been using the Planet to humiliate me with that phony wedding announcement, editing that Planet advertising spot, and fiddling with the Planet's computers. I know the creep. He'd use the Planet somehow --"

Clark sat up with a start. "Lois, you're a genius! Everything he's done has been done through or at the Daily Planet. That's where we need to focus our efforts!"

Lois brightened. "Clark, you're right. That jerk is somehow using the Planet to come after me. C'mon, partner! Let's get going!" She leapt into the sky.

Startled Parisians were treated to two loud booms. Looking up, it didn't look like rain, but one could never tell.


Griffin replayed the Planet's theatrical advertisement. Just how many times he'd watched it, both while editing and to enjoy the finished product, he couldn't say, but he'd never tired of it. He just wished he could have seen Lane's reaction! Idly, he wondered when she'd next show her face at the Planet. He'd bet himself a week or more, so he was surprised to see her walk in with her partner, that fawning Kent, the next morning. They were conversing in low tones, so quietly that he couldn't make out any of their conversation, so he merely watched in frustration as she sat at and he on her desk, apparently forming some plan of action. He caught something about 'justice' and his name. Leave it to Lois to imagine she would ever bring him to trial, ever again. She'd gotten lucky, he had to give her that, but her luck was no match for his intelligence. This new modus operandi wasn't exactly to his liking, but he would be free to break loose once Lane was gone. And was it ever going to be fun! Metropolis would be his.


Entering the conference room, Lois turned to Clark. "Okay, let's get going. No one's going to come in here with a video camera, and the room's soundproofed, so we're good. You swept the room for bugs and there are none. Now we brainstorm!"

"Well," mused Clark, "everything he's done has shown some familiarity with the Daily Planet. Accessing the computers, intercepting the advertisement for the theater, and somehow altering copy prove that."

"But what about that footage of me? How could that be done -- my comings and goings aren't regular. When a story breaks, I have to leave as Justice or a source calls, I'm off. He couldn't anticipate that."

Clark sat back. "Let me replay that film advertisement in my mind, Lois, and see if I notice anything."

"You and your eidetic memory, farmboy," Lois grumbled.

"First, you were in your Jeep, picking --"

"Don't say it and expect to live, Kent."

"Okay, okay. You were in your Jeep in the Planet's parking ramp, then at your desk eating chocolate, and while getting coffee were pulling at your --"

Lois' glare was almost a physical force.

Clark was no idiot. He interrupted his spoken thoughts again. "And he filmed you at the coffee pots doing, well you know, when you didn't see anyone watching."

"We already knew all that, Clark. He films me at the Planet -- the ramp, the office, except how he does it... Wait! It isn't him, Clark!"

Clark stared. "Of course it's him, Lois! You usually don't have two crazed villains after you at the same time. They're kind enough to stand in line."

"No, Clark, it isn't him filming. It's the Planet's security system! We're so used to the cameras that we don't pay any attention, but ever since Trask and his goons invaded --"

"Management had security cameras placed in the parking ramp, around the Pit and in the lobby! He's somehow tapped into the feed! That would explain how he knew where and when we were going to the movie as well."

Lois looked relieved. "At least he's not following me around, or playing Norman Bates when I'm in the shower."

Clark looked relieved as well. "That just leaves how he's done his other work. We need someone who can get a computer to sit up and beg..." As one they turned to the door.

"Jimmy!" rang out their voices, audible even through the soundproofing.

Jimmy entered meekly, but was calm. Lois yelling for him was similar to the trumpet of doom, but Clark yelling just meant some work was needed. He'd come out of this with his hide intact.

"Hey, Lois. CK. What do you need?"

"Jimmy, could someone get into *all* the Daily Planet's computer systems? And not just get in, but manipulate them?"

"Sure, Lois. Don't you remember about two months ago we had an MIS person in to explain how the system was integrated for easier flow of data and increased security?"

Lois guiltily looked down. Clark had been out on a rescue, and about twelve seconds into the boring lecture, she'd quit listening and begun doodling 'CK + LL' on her work pad. She'd almost added 'TLA,' but that would have been childish.

Clark's voice interrupted her guilty thoughts. "But could it be used by someone outside of our computer systems' team, Jimmy?"

"Sure, CK. Just for laughs, I tried the same day of the upgrade and was into the system in about four minutes. It's been great, too, because I was able to find Angela's unlisted phone number. You know Angela, the new stenographer in accounting? I'm thinking about asking her out next --"

Jimmy quit talking. His two favorite reporters had run from the room as if they'd eaten last night at Ralph's Pagoda and were just now paying the price.


"Clark, MIS is on the third floor, but the actual computer banks are in the lowest level, below the parking ramp, if I remember correctly!" Taking the stairs down three at a time, Lois was on the hunt.

"Right, Lois, but slow down. There are cameras at odd locations, and we'll want to work around them if Griffin is watching or recording."

"He'd better not be recording, Clark. Executions aren't carried out live on television."

Reaching the subbasement, Clark and Lois glanced around with x-ray vision. They could see nothing through the walls, but an old 'Bomb Shelter' sign explained that. Lead paint had been applied many years ago in this old, barely-used area of the Planet. MIS personnel might have nice furnishings on the third floor, but the guts of the computer system were quietly toiling away in obscurity below. Lois wasted no time, and started kicking in doors at random, and found a very surprised Kyle Griffin behind the fourth one she tried. She barely took in the simple cot, compact toilet, stacks of paper and foodstuffs scattered about before slowly walking toward him.

"Lois! Um, nice to see you! How have you been?"

She growled.

"That bad, huh? Too bad your day's about to get worse." With that, he pulled a pistol from his coat pocket, pointing it directly at her midsection.

Lois didn't even slow her approach.

"I'm not kidding, Lane. You've put me in jail twice, now, and I'm not going back. I owe you for that, and I plan to pay you back."

Clark had just entered, and spoke calmly. "Lois, don't --"

Mistaking Clark's warning, Griffin smirked. "Better listen to your lap dog, Lois. I'd like to see you try and --"

One quick slap from Lois' hand, and the gun went flying across the room.

"Lois, please don't --"

Griffin wondered why Kent was still warning Lois about the gun when he saw her fist approaching. Then the lights went out.

"Just a tap, Clark. No broken bones, but will he *ever* be sore when he comes around."

"Thank goodness that's all over, Lois. Look at this setup -- he's managed to tap into our system from the inside out. It's no wonder we couldn't find him. He was in the bowels of the Daily Planet all the time! Let's call the police to take him back where he belongs."

Lois looked up from where the Prankster lay in a heap. She smiled sweetly at Clark.

"Oh, let me take him in, Clark. I can carry him up to the Jeep, drive to Metropolis Police Headquarters and hand him over."

"Lois, that's why we have a police force --"

Lois' smile grew sweeter, if possible. "This is really important to me, Clark. After all Kyle Griffin's done, I'd like to finish things myself." With slow grace, she moved to Clark and placed her hands firmly upon his chest. Looking up and batting her eyelashes, she whispered, "Please, Clark?"

Stunned, Clark just began nodding. She could have asked him to wear her Suit instead of his, and he would have agreed.

"Great! I'll drop him off while you write up the story and then why don't you get started on that trip to outer space we've been planning? I think that would be a great way to finish the day. Head out without me, and I'll catch up, okay?"

Still nodding like a bobblehead toy, Clark headed upstairs after a gentle push from Lois.

Heaving the Prankster up over one shoulder, Lois avoided direct camera coverage as she took Kyle Griffin to her Jeep. Making sure he was put on the floorboards in the most uncomfortable position possible, she pulled out her cell phone.

After three rings, she said, "Hi, Daddy. I need a little favor..."


Big Louie looked at the unconscious man in Lois' Jeep. The kid always managed to surprise him, which was not difficult, Lois Lane being who she was, and there was practically nothing he wouldn't do for Lois.

"So he'll be out for hours, Lois?"

Lois nodded. "It's harmless, and doctor-recommended. He'll be out for at least six hours. That will be enough time, right?"

"Sure, kid. I know guys who know guys, and you wouldn't believe the guys *they* know. You want them to follow this design exactly?" he asked, holding out a piece of paper.

"Exactly, Louie."

"Then consider it done, kiddo. And I expect to see you soon for a couple games of pool."

"Double or nothing again, Louie?"

"It will have to be, Lois. I don't have the kind of money I owe you!"


Clark jumped slightly in surprise as a pair of hands covered his eyes from behind. Ninety thousand miles into space, there was only one person it could be, and that person was his favorite person in the world. Or out of the world, in this case.

"How's it going, Clark?"

Speaking in space is impossible, due to the lack of oxygen to carry sound waves, but the ability to do just this was part of the unique bond between Lois and Clark. He heard her as clearly as if she were sitting next to him on the couch, just as he did anywhere when she spoke directly to him.

"I've managed to find two Near Earth Objects so far, Lois, although I doubt either would have ever been a problem. Why don't we spend a few more hours and then get dinner?"

"Oh, let's keep at it for a while, Clark," said Lois through the ether. "I arranged with EPRAD to have some air tanks at hand, so we can range out further. I'm not really all that hungry, either. The sun just feels great out here; I think I'm powering up just like you do! We can wait to eat, and I'll grab the air tanks on one of my trips back to Earth for a breath of oxygen."

And finish things up at home while I'm there, she thought with a giggle. She was very glad Clark could not read her mind.

Clark smiled as they parted ways to explore space around his adopted planet. It had been her idea to search for Near Earth Objects to prevent a repeat of the terrible danger presented by the Nightfall asteroid. Lois affected that tough-as-nails exterior, but deep down, she was the most caring person he knew. She might have it wrapped in iron, but her heart was pure and kind.


Kyle Griffin slowly woke to consciousness. He was freezing cold! His eyesight was blurry, but in a moment it focused to clarity. What the...?

He was high above the city, tied to something. Looking to his left and right, he realized with horror that he was tied to the conning tower of Luthor Tower, the tallest building in Metropolis. Television helicopters were hovering nearby filming him in this strange situation, and he could hear voices on the observation deck below from a rescue team, debating how to get him down.

He looked down to see why he was so cold. His earlier horror faded, replaced with an emotion he could not even name. He was wearing nothing but a pair of thong underwear, and worse, if anything could be worse, he saw something on his chest that had never been there before.

A pink and purple prancing unicorn. Slightly sore from the tattooing process, Griffin groaned as he was humiliated for the world to see. Lois hadn't been content to simply put him back into prison. Somehow, she'd pulled off this stunt to exact her revenge.

He'd been right earlier, but not in the manner he'd expected. Paybacks *were* indeed hell.


I must apologize for my awful lyrics to 'Moon over Metropolis.' I figured that so many major cities have a song, why not Metropolis? As you can see, songwriting is not my forte, but I figure that if Frank Sinatra or Lois Lane sang that song, it'd be terrific no matter how lame the words! Besides, Lois could sing the phone book and I'd pay to listen. Bonus points if you recognize the in-joke regarding President Garner.