By B.B Medos [email@example.com]
Summary: Lois makes a startling discovery when indulging in an "artistic temper tantrum" with photos of Clark and Superman.
"Characters in this story are copyrighted by December 3rd Production, Warner Brothers, and ABC. No infringement is intended in any part by the author, however, the ideas expressed within this story are copyrighted to the author."
[Author's Note: This takes place back during season two, around the time of Whine, Whine, Whine, but certainly before And The Answer Is. It is definitely out of kilter with season three, but it is after all a flight of fancy.]
Superman flew in the window of Clark's apartment and immediately spun to change into jeans and a loose shirt which he didn't bother to button. He took the few steps necessary to reach his couch and flopped down dejectedly. Leaning forward to place his head in his hands, Clark groaned and the agonized sound echoed in the empty room.
Where was she?
Lois had been missing for almost forty-eight hours and he still didn't have a single clue as to where she was, but he was exhausted and he had to stop and rest. He'd reached the point he was simply flying around in circles with absolutely no direction in mind except to keep looking.
Even a short rest would help, then he would get back out and begin searching.
Slowly settling back against the couch cushions, he sighed and closed his eyes. But the only thing he saw behind his eyelids was the image of Lois' apartment the last time he'd seen it, and THAT he couldn't bear, so he opened his eyes and stared unseeingly at the ceiling.
The disaster he'd found at her apartment still remained in front of his eyes, tormenting him.
Clark had gone by her apartment to tell her she was no longer on suspension. That she'd been right and the rest of them had been wrong.
The police had been wrong when they'd arrested Lois after she'd broken into Noland Roberts house looking for evidence everyone knew didn't exist, couldn't possibly exist. The paper's lawyers had been wrong when they'd insisted she be suspended after spending the night in jail. Perry had been wrong when he'd agreed with the lawyers and put her on suspension. Clark had been wrong when he hadn't listened to her ideas in the first place and had instead tried to prove someone else was guilty.
Worst of all, Superman had been wrong when he'd handed her over to the police! Never mind, there wasn't much else he could do after the detectives on the case had walked in the door of Roberts' house not two feet behind him and found her with her head practically inside the wall safe.
That offense, of course, had been the capper on an already tense situation and Lois had remained sullenly quiet during the entire time she was booked and placed in her cell. She'd still been silent the next day at the Planet and remained quiet as she was leaving to go home, speaking to no one.
Especially Clark or Superman.
But, at least, she was acknowledging Clark's existence, if only to glare at him to make him move out of her way the one and only time he'd tried to speak to her. Superman, on the other hand, seemed to have been relegated to that limbo land of non-existence. When he'd attempted to talk to her as she made her way out of the Daily Planet, she'd simply kept walking right past him, without a single flicker of her eyelids.
That was also why Clark, and not Superman, was bringing her the good news two days later that there had been a break in the case and suddenly everyone realized Lois had been right. All along. Somehow, some way, he had to find a way to get both of them, or rather him, back into her good graces.
Which was proving to be rather difficult, since she hadn't been answering her phone. She also wasn't returning any calls.
And she wasn't answering the door.
Checking to make sure no one was watching, Clark tilted his glasses down and peered through her apartment door. What little he could see of the inside made his breath hiss out and, in a blur of movement, he turned and vanished down the hallway.
Mere seconds later, Superman appeared at her window and pushed it open to float inside, his face set into a hard mask.
The place was a mess.
Things were scattered everywhere. Things were broken. Things were knocked over. Things were…
Clark couldn't bring himself to use his x-ray vision to inspect the rest of the apartment. He couldn't deal with what he was afraid he would see.
Slowly, he walked through the kitchen, glancing briefly at the mess on the floor. Then he turned towards her bedroom and found the exact same type of mess facing him when he stood in the center of the room.
But no Lois.
He allowed himself one long breath of relief at not finding her lying dead on the floor before turning to begin giving the apartment a thorough going over.
What had happened? What in the world had someone been looking for?
Clark was systematically inspecting the room, trying to make sense of the chaos when his eyes fell on Lois' mirror. His brow furrowed and he walked over to give the two pictures hanging at the top of the mirror a closer look.
His heart stopped beating.
Oh my god!
His eyes bounced from one picture to the other as he took in the implications and then Clark turned to study the clutter in Lois' apartment in a totally different light, not sure whether to laugh or cry. Slowly, methodically, he began to reconstruct in his own mind how Lois had managed to do all this damage.
All by herself.
Striding back into the living room, he started at the couch with the empty half-gallon carton of ice cream. The thought of Lois indulging her sweet tooth didn't bother Clark all that much, but the two empty wine bottles lying on their sides on the floor beside the carton did.
Apparently, Lois had started her binge with a binge.
From there he returned to the kitchen. Actually, now that he knew what to look for, there wasn't really all that much damage noticeable in the kitchen. Dirty dishes, mainly. That they were mostly on the floor while the counter bar was totally bare did raise an interesting speculation, though.
Clark returned to the bedroom and found two more empty bottles, a sight which didn't do all that much for his peace of mind. Then he sat down on the bed and stared thoughtfully at the pictures taped to the mirror.
An object on the floor directly in front of her dresser caught his attention and he walked over to pick it up. Holding it, he glanced back at the two pictures and mentally ran through what she'd done.
At some point, Lois had wandered into her bedroom and confronted her two BEST friends over their treachery. Since she didn't have them there in person to wrap her little hands around their throats, she'd resorted to storming at their pictures. Apparently, verbalizing her frustrations hadn't held enough satisfaction and she'd decided to turn both of them into the devils they were.
Or, had become in her mind.
Clark glanced down at the magic marker in his hand and back at the two images of Clark and Superman complete with horns, tails and pitchforks. The two matching identical twin images, because she'd apparently also decided since she couldn't take Clark's glasses off in his picture, Superman needed them, too.
Suddenly all the broken dishes and overturned furniture made tons of sense. It was a wonder the roof was still on the building.
The biggest question in Clark's mind was whether she'd gotten drunk before or after her artistic endeavor.
The whole thing would almost be hilarious, except he didn't know where she was or what her mental state was. AND, the thought of a pained, angry, humiliated, furious, not to mention possibly totally plastered, Lois Lane loose on the world WITH the world's biggest secret under her belt made Clark's blood grow decidedly cold.
Clark groaned and sat back up. Two days later and he still hadn't found her. He hadn't even found a trace of her initial movements. He hadn't slept, he hadn't eaten, god, he'd barely sat down for more than a few minutes at a time and yet she was still missing.
It was as if she'd vanished from the face of the earth.
He'd called or contacted everyone he could think of, even his own parents, and no one knew where she was.
Slowly standing up and stretching, Clark decided to give up on going to sleep. He simply couldn't and there wasn't any need of trying to kid himself into thinking he could.
Besides, he also hadn't been back to his apartment in two days and what he really needed was a shower. His heart wasn't even in that idea.
As he walked towards his bedroom, Clark began despondently pulling his shirt off the rest of the way. He'd taken only a few steps into his room when he froze because his brain registered an intriguing fact and promptly refused to function any longer.
Lois was in the one place in the world he would never, ever, ever, EVER have thought to look for her.
Sound asleep. In his bed. She was okay, but she was in HIS bed.
A few gears attempted to turn in his mind and just as quickly ground to a halt. Clark swallowed and closed his eyes to shut out the sight his mind couldn't deal with.
She was naked.
OH MY GOD!
Clark gave himself a frantic mental talking to while he kept his eyes tightly shut. *This is not happening. This simply could not be happening. At the least, I'm hallucinating. At the most, it isn't Lois…*
That last thought got his eyes opened. Clark almost slid to his knees with relief as he realized Lois wasn't naked. What she WAS wearing couldn't honestly be considered clothing, though, and given the exhausted state he was in, anyone would understand his initial confusion.
Because whatever that lacy, frilly, extremely thin, teddy-like thingy was it didn't cover much. Of course, she was lying on her stomach, so there wasn't much to see to begin with.
*Oh, god, what am I thinking?*
Slowly, one of Clark's hands came up in the air, reaching out to touch Lois in an unconscious attempt to determine if she was real or not. Just as slowly, he lowered it back to his side, because he abruptly and very consciously realized he really didn't want to know.
If she was a figment of his tortured imagination, she might vanish and somehow that idea didn't sit quite right with Clark's frazzled brain.
But if she was real… Well, he wasn't ready to deal with that concept either.
So, he stood there staring at her, his mind a total blank.
Well, not exactly a TOTAL blank, because Clark couldn't help appreciating how utterly gorgeous she was. He'd had a lot of fantasies about Lois in the last few years, but none of them had ever come close to this. NOT that he would've ever in his wildest fantasies have imagined this!
Uh-huh, no way. Not here in his bed, dressed in a skimpy outfit like that, smiling at him so sweetly like that…
Clark hastily backed up a step as he realized she was awake AND smiling at him. He would have backed up even farther but his back came in contact with the wall of his bedroom and short of busting a hole through it, he was caught.
Literally caught in her sleepy-eyed gaze.
As Lois stared at him, puzzled by his silence, Clark licked his lips and continued to stare. He didn't bother to even try to answer because he knew for a fact he wouldn't have been able to say a word. There was absolutely no way a sound would've been able to make it past the lump lodged in his throat.
Lois didn't seem to mind his silence, because she smiled and sat up, yawning profusely the entire time.
Clark watched, mesmerized as she stretched sleepily and turned to face him. *How in the world does that thing keep from ripping when she does that?*
Oh, god, it WAS ripping.
Blinking rapidly, Clark shook his head and cautiously glanced back at Lois. She was still adequately covered.
Strange, he'd swear he'd heard a ripping sound. Then he realized he was still holding his shirt in his hands.
His extremely shredded shirt.
Dropping it as if it'd burned his skin, Clark shuddered. He had to get a grip on his emotions before the situation got out of hand.
The important thing to remember was he'd found Lois and she was safe and sound.
He took another look at her and swiftly revised that assessment. She was found, but whether she was safe and sound remained to be seen. He wasn't even sure if he was safe and sound.
Of course, at the moment, he wasn't sure of very much.
Except one thing.
That… that… thingy she was wearing had a Superman shield across the front of her… her… it. Admitted it was an extremely feminine version of his emblem, all in frilly pink, pale blue and yellow see-through lace, but it was definitely his.
Clark's eyes widened as she slowly stood up and glided towards him until she was standing directly in front of him. Then she placed both hands on his shoulders and leaned over to nuzzle his neck, purring softly. "Clark, I'm so sorry I fell asleep waiting for you, but I was sooo tired. Did you have a rough day saving the world, baby?"
Oh, god, was he in super trouble!
[Actually, it turned out not to be the end, because I did a sequel called CLARK'S RESPONSE.]