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02 February 2007 @ 09:14 am
You Don't Know Me  
Title: You Don't Know Me
Author: starrylites
Category: Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (Season 1)
Prompt: Musicial; You Don't Know Me - Michael Bublé
Rating: PG
Word Count: 7500
Summary: What's worse than Lois attending the Lexcorp Valentine's Ball? Lois brushing Clark off for an evening with Superman that is actually just another stunt to get a story only to have Luthor show up to take her to the ball anyway. That's worse.
Disclaimer: Superman is not mine. He belongs to Warner Brothers and DC Comics and was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
Author's Notes: Huge thanks to mark_clark for doing the beta work for me; it was very appreciated. Thanks to the whole group here at 12days_of_clois. I'm glad I found you guys and thanks so such a warm welcome. =) Also, I apologize now for it being so long...this story was not supposed to be this long, but it sort of took off on its own. I hate when stories do that.





Superman flew to a halt in front of the post office. The early morning was crisp, and a light haze hovered over Metropolis. This was Superman's calmest time of day. The hustle and bustle of the night was over, and most people were still starting out their days. As long as no major disaster struck another part of the world, his early mornings were usually clear for himself.

He walked around to the back of the post office and knocked on the employee entrance door. A yawning mail sorter opened the door, and it took a moment for his eyes to focus on his visitor. "Oh, Superman! We were beginning to wonder what we should do with your mail. Valentine's Day has really made it pile up."

Superman took a step inside and inclined his head. "I apologize. I would have come by sooner if I realized it was becoming a problem."

"No, no problem, just a little bigger than your usual pile is all." The sorter went into a smaller side room and returned five minutes later with six large mailbags and five other helpers. "You can get these home without any help, can't you?"

Superman took the drawstrings from the men and nodded. "It'll be a bit tricky, but I'll manage. Thank you, as always." He gave a last wave and then whisked out the door, three mail bags in each hand. The bags did cause a considerable amount of wind resistance, and the last thing he needed was to lose a letter from some adoring young fan somewhere who was just waiting for a reply. He arrived back at his apartment without any real trouble about three minutes later.

Clark Kent finished pulling the bags inside and set them down in front of his couch. The monthly mail usually took up a good hour of his time, but the mail sorter had been right: this was a much bigger quantity than usual. However, he'd decided to pick it up before work because the Friday before he'd spied his partner writing a fairly interesting note. Either she was writing it for her personal daydreaming, or Lois had actually sent the note to Superman. In any case, it required immediate attention.

The search would have been easier without ten pieces of mail all from Lois. Every time he thought he'd found the right letter, it was just one of Lois's usual 'haven't seen you lately' letters. Finally, five minutes and a letter-covered living room later, the correct note from Lois caught his eye, and he immediately opened it.


Dear Superman,

I'm sure that your holidays are fairly lonely. I have to admit that mine aren't exactly full of people either. I was wondering, assuming the world can go without you for even ten minutes, if you'd be willing to stop by on Valentine's Day. Certainly not as a date, I would never presume to be able to win a date with you, but just some time as friends. We are friends, aren't we? That's totally acceptable for Valentine's Day, right? Time with your friends?

Lois Lane



Clark leaned back into the couch and a hand absently came up to his hair. It was so tempting to just say yes and spend Valentine's Day with Lois. That's exactly what he wanted to do. However, if he said yes, Clark wouldn't be spending Valentine's with Lois. Superman would be spending Valentine's with Lois.

Of course it didn't help that Clark had had every intention of asking Lois what her Valentine's Day plans were that very morning. She couldn't give him a definite answer until Superman gave her one first. And if Superman declined, there was always the possibility that his partner would find somewhere else to go, say the Lexcorp Society Ball. That particular choice was unacceptable.

Clark stood up with a sigh and quickly combed his hair and threw on a suit. He looked down at his watch and whistled. He'd taken too long sorting through the mail; no leisurely walk to work today. It was going to have to be super speed.

***


Clark stepped out of the elevator onto the newsroom floor with a good two minutes to spare and his tie correctly in its place. He passed Jimmy—who did a quick wave and a "'Morning, C.K."—and then continued down the stairs in the direction of his desk.

"You were almost late," Lois commented as he walked passed her to the coat rack.

Clark took his time leaving his heavy coat on the rack before turning back to his partner. "Almost, Lois, but I wasn't."

Lois got up out of her seat and stood in front of him with her hands on her hips. "It would have served you right if Perry had moved the meeting up by fifteen minutes."

Clark smirked and ran his tongue along his teeth. A challenge to start out the morning. A usual tactic for Lois generally meant to throw him off. As usual, particularly when she was wearing one of her shorter skirts, it worked.

But, he was saved from making a fool of himself with a less-than-intelligent response with a holler from the Editor in Chief. "Lane, Kent. Meeting now."

"Coming, Perry," Clark responded. He continued to smirk at Lois and then walked away, hanging his suit coat on the back of his desk chair on the way to the Chief's office. Lois followed and closed the door with a loud huff.

Perry just stared at them. Clark exchanged a look with Lois, who still looked upset that he'd weaseled his way out of the morning challenge, and then looked back at Perry. Once Lois started to shift her weight in her high heels, Perry finally said, "Neither of you have been on the front page in nearly two weeks, either as individuals or as a team. When are my star reporters going to be producing like stars again? The couple of stories you faxed in for the Sunday edition were page five news!"

Lois stepped forward and started to stutter. "But, Chief, we can't just pull good stories out of thin air! Metropolis has been slow the last few weeks."

"Oh, really?" Perry taunted, inclining his head in amusement. "Well, Lois, if that's the case, why was Kat able to land a front page story?"

"That was total luck, Chief!"

Perry pushed the paper over his desk in front of them. "The murder of the Governor including links to suspicious activity within Metropolis over the last week? That sounds better than luck to me, Lois!"

Clark cleared his throat. "Well, Chief, we've been digging, and none of our sources were coming up with anything. And we did give you the Superman piece--"

"Superman singing in public at an orphanage fundraiser is hardly front page, Kent!" Perry collapsed back in his chair and ran his hands up and down the armrests. "Listen, you two are the best, but we need your names on the front page or the readers out there are going to forget who you are. Now, we can't afford for our Superman exclusive writers to be forgotten. So, tell me what you've got planned. You need something on the front page, preferably on a shared byline."

Clark looked back at Lois, who didn't look back at him. They did have a fair amount of small leads on file, a couple they planned to follow over the next day or two, but none of them were guarantees for the front page. He swayed a little bit to get her attention, but Lois kept facing forward.

"Does it have to be together, Chief?" Lois asked after a moment.

"I would prefer it that way. You tend to write better with Clark over your shoulder and his stories have more edge with your input. Why, you got something cooking?"

Lois nodded. "But it's a solo piece, Chief."

"And why is it a solo piece?" Perry leaned forward and locked his fingers together. He threw Clark a quick glance, then looked back at Lois. Clark admittedly was just as interested as his boss appeared to be.

Lois looked between Clark and Perry, and a pained expression came over her face. "Chief, can't we discuss this later?"

"No, you were called in here to discuss this now! What's this solo lead you've got?"

Lois swayed her head from side to side and chewed on her lip. "Chief…I'd really rather discuss this with you without—"

"We're going to talk about this with Clark whether you like it or not, now spit it out!"

"Fine," she said with a resigned sigh. "I'm in the works for getting a Valentine's exclusive with Superman."

"A what?!" Clark blurted. He rubbed his eyes and threw his hands up in the air. "That's what the Valentine's invitation to Superman was for? For an interview to get inside his love life?"

Lois stared at him. "How do you know about that letter?"

Clark took a step back. Every so often he did this, walked himself right into a nasty corner. For the most part, he and Superman were able to maintain separate lives, but every once in a while a different voice that the intended exposed itself, getting both personalities almost in trouble a time or two. "Well, I do talk to him, you know. I passed him on my way to work this morning."

"And he happened to mention that? Why would he mention it to you?"

"Well, usually he gets pretty standard letters from you, generally wanting him to stop by or wishing him a good day, but this one was a Valentine's Day request. He mentioned it in passing just…well…because he did! Maybe just so I can keep tabs on my partner."

"Keep tabs on me? Why would Superman ask you of all people to keep an eye on me?"

"Uh, excuse me." Perry stood up and came around his desk to stand between Lois and Clark. "Now, I can understand that the current argument probably needs to be seen all the way out, but you're both on my time right now. Argue this out while you're in a taxi finding me a decent story. Now, Lois," Perry's back faced Clark, "take one of those leads you're sitting on, go find a source, and dig up something. If Superman pans out for tomorrow, fine, but do this now. Clark," Perry now faced him, "keep tabs on her."

Clark grinned. "Always, Chief."

Lois rolled her eyes and by the looks of her expression her teeth were gritted. "Okay, Chief, we're on our way." She grabbed Clark by the tie and dragged him out of the office. Once out of earshot of their boss, she hissed, "You do not have to keep tabs on me!"

Clark motioned back to Perry's office, his expression a great deal more playful than it had been in their little conference. "I just got ordered to by our editor and Superman appreciates it if I do. Now, do you really think that I'm going to listen to you over Perry and Superman? Besides, I'm supposed to come anyway. I am your partner, after all." Clark smirked and took his suit coat off the back of his chair. Lois' mouth was a straight line, one brow raised, and she walked back to her desk, clicking her heels heavily. The keyboards around the newsroom were in full motion, and Clark started to whistle to the drone of the tapping keys. "So, where are we going?"

Lois ripped a piece of paper off the top of a notepad and poked it with her finger. "To the industrial district. Remember that small band of criminals that have been calling themselves Intergang? Slowly expanding throughout the world?"

Clark slipped his arms into the sleeves of his coat. "Yeah, slowly infiltrating city underbellies through some unknown force, seem to ride a different surf than Luthor’s crime wave.”

"Clark…"

"I'm sorry, Lois. You think what you want to think about Lex, I'll think what I want to think about him. Anyway, about Intergang?"

"There's a lead saying that they have rendezvoused frequently in one of those old factories. I thought we'd go pay Joey Biltmore a visit and then if he vouches for this rumored story of his, we can go take a look." Lois grabbed her coat off the rack and started to wrap it around herself. Clark frowned when her legs disappeared underneath the wool, but disguised it with a nod of agreement and motioned for her to lead the way to the elevators.

***


"Well, that's three leads checked out and not a single line of news." Clark crossed Bobby Big Mouth off the list of contacts with Joey Biltmore and Big John. Clark lifted his glasses quickly to rub his eyes and dropped them back just as quickly. The rest of their list was grim, half of the suggested sources neither one of them had ever had any contact with. It was looking like an empty-handed return to the Planet. "Looks like your Superman idea is the best you've got." Again, it was one of those moments when the two personalities crossed, but this time it wasn't because Superman was talking, it was because Clark was finding himself jealous of his alter ego. He tried not to, particularly where Lois was concerned, but there were moments when he got so frustrated listening to her go on and on and on about Superman that it made him want to throw his glasses away and rip his shirt off. He just hoped his jealousy never reached that point.

But, unfortunately, no matter how much he tried to push his jealousy away, that didn't stop Lois from hearing it in his voice. She looked over at him, her eyes troubled and her lips in an odd smirk. "You seem bothered by this whole Superman Valentine's Day idea. What's eating you about it? You've never acted like this over an interview with him before, and this one isn't even finalized yet."

Hesitation. Fast thinking. The usual drill. Excuses were usually easy. Sometimes they were stuttered, but he could spit them out with relative ease. Today was another matter altogether. "Well, Lois, to tell you the truth, I don't have anything to do for Valentine's and I hadn't heard you making any plans yet and I was planning on asking you if you'd like some company for the holiday."

Not a sound. All that could be heard was the faint music on the taxi radio and the traffic moving around them. Lois didn't look over at him, just kept staring at the seat in front of her. "You wanted to spend Valentine's Day with me?"

Clark shrugged and gulped, resisting the urge to loosen his tie. "Just as friends, Lois. Since neither of us are seeing each other I thought we could just spend an evening together, reject the getting dressed up and wear grubby clothes and order pizza."

"But that's what Valentine's Day is all about, Clark! It's about the chocolate and the flowers and the getting dressed up and the reserving a restaurant weeks in advance. It's about all that extra effort."

Clark scrunched his nose enough that when he released the scrunch his glasses fell down his nose. "That's all you think Valentine's Day is?"

The taxi came to a halt outside the Planet building, and Lois leaned forward to pay the driver before climbing out. Clark followed her and they walked through the swinging glass door together. "Well, yeah. It's a contrived holiday. You're trying to add depth it doesn't have."

"It's a holiday to celebrate relationships, Lois! It's to show love and caring for the people you care about. It's not contrived."

"See, to you the Boy Scout that may be true. But in the real world, Clark, we see it as the biggest excuse to be extravagant since Christmas." Lois pushed the elevator button then faced him. "Does spending the day with me mean that much to you?"

Clark bit the inside of his lip. 'Yes' was ready to fly off his tongue, but he knew better. To say yes would send Lois flying into some tangent, and right then he didn't need the superior knowledge of Lois Lane. "No, I suppose not."

Unfortunately, Lois knew him too well—that is to say she knew only Clark Kent, at least in most respects—and she eyed him suspiciously as the elevator chimed to the newsroom floor. "Clark, it's not like we have a relationship. Yes, we're friends, and we're partners, but we're nothing more than that, and you know that just as well as I do."

It seemed that every time they walked onto the news floor everyone paused to listen to the latest argument. It didn't seem to matter whether they were arguing or not, everyone stopped their typing and searching, and nothing started again until their conversation was over. Were they really that entertaining? It was hard to believe that it was worth dropping everything just to listen to the latest development in the ongoing quarrels between Lane and Kent. Clark came to a halt at Lois’s desk and leaned against the top shelf. "What I don't get is why you're so adamant about us not doing anything on Valentine's Day. What if we did something before you saw Superman? Or after? Or what if he says no? Would it really kill you to say you spent your holiday with me?"

"Of course it wouldn't kill me! What makes you think it would kill me?"

"The fact that you’re rejecting me from the very thing you told Superman you wanted!"

Lois paused and stared at him. "Yes, well…I figured that was the only way I could get him to come. It’s certainly not what I intended!"

"And it would kill you so much to rain check one of the busiest men in the world on a busy day to spend time with me because…?"

"Because—" Lois faltered and scrunched her nose, dropping into her seat. “Because I think that it would be valuable to try and use the holiday to my advantage when we could hang out together on any other night of the year, that’s why!”

Clark fixed her with a disbelieving stare. He bit the inside of his lip and inclined his head. “So you’re going to use your Valentine’s Day to get a story out of Superman that you don’t think you could get on any other given day? You’re planning on using him and think he’s not going to notice?”

“Who said anything about using him?” Lois had turned to face her computer and didn’t look back to Clark. “But I do think it’s a story I could only get with the Valentine’s spirit in the air.”

Clark stood there for a minute, both identities fighting. Clark was partially excited that Lois wanted to spend her Valentine’s Day with Superman, but the other half of Clark was just as irritated as Superman that he was being used for a story. And yet, with as angry as the majority of him was, that small quarter wanted to still spend his time with her, and couldn’t think of anyone else that he would even consider spending the holiday with. In all his travels, he hadn’t spent a Valentine’s Day with anyone since high school. By February of his senior year his feelings for Lana had started to dwindle. The opportunity of spending the evening with Lois, and getting even with her for using him—Superman—as a story, was hard to say no to. “Fine, Lois, whatever you think will get you that big story.”

Without waiting for a response, Clark speed walked to his desk and took a seat. He glanced at his partner over the top of his glasses. As he’d suspected, she looked up in his direction, but as soon as Clark met her gaze she became very interested in her computer again. He scribbled in Superman’s handwriting a quick little reply: “Thank you for the invitation, Lois. I’ll be at your window at 5:30. I look forward to it. Superman.”

Clark stood up and cleared his throat in the doorway to Perry’s office. “Chief, I’m taking the rest of the day off. My partner has given me a splitting headache.”

Perry looked up and squinted his eyes. “You mean she finally got to you?”

Clark shrugged and rolled his eyes. “She’s obsessing and is way too convinced this plan of hers for Superman is going to work. Since she’s so convinced, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, let her write the story, and I’m going to take care of my headache.”

To his surprise, Perry laughed. “Son, you can take the week off for good behavior. I can’t believe you’ve been able to stand Lois as long as you have. If you don’t show up until next Monday that’s okay by me, don’t worry about the front page story.”

Clark grinned and clicked his tongue. “Tempting as it is, Chief, I’ll just take tonight and tomorrow off. I’ll be back on Wednesday. Someone will have to edit Lois’ copy.”

Perry laughed, waved him out and Clark took a good look around the room. No one was watching him; he could pull a Superman, leave his note, and be home in no time. He took off into a super speed run, whisked a bunch of loose papers into the air while changing into the suit, left the note on Lois’ desk, and was gone in a flashing blur of red and blue.

***


Lois paced across her living room. Five minutes until Superman’s arrival, and she doubted he would be late. The day had passed without much of any interest, but then again Clark hadn’t been there. What had Perry said? That she’d finally gotten to him? What in the world had she done differently yesterday that would have driven Clark over the edge? He generally took her moods and surprises so well, and yet yesterday was the day that got to him? But, then again, he held everything in to the point that he was likely one of those people that exploded all at once rather than getting feelings out as they came.

Still, she’d never driven Clark to the point that he didn’t want to come into work and actually took a day and a half off. Clark took days off as frequently as she did, which meant he was occasionally ordered to take one off. Did that mean she was required to do something for him in return? Isn’t that how these sort of things went, you say or do something wrong, so you ask for forgiveness with some kind of apology and compensation for the trouble? That had never been her strong point.

Her curtains billowed and Lois turned quickly. At first, she saw nothing, and frowned. Of course it could have just been the wind, but it had been a fairly mild day, which was why she didn’t mind leaving the window open for her flying visitor. Just as she was turning away, blue and red flashed in the corner of her eye. She looked back and caught a smile on Superman’s face. “Hello, Lois.”

Lois smiled and a giggle escaped from her. Every time he was in the vicinity, her wits flew right out the window. She always ended up becoming a 14-year-old with a heavy crush. “Hi,” she answered. Out of instinct, she flattened her hair and straightened her dress, then looked back at him. “Had a peaceful Valentine’s Day?”

“Uh, no,” Superman said, coming down off the windowsill and stepping onto the floor of the apartment, closing the window behind him. “Actually I spent much of my day around the world, speaking at gatherings, wishing anyone who would listen a Happy Valentine’s Day.”

“Of course.” Lois leaned down and poured two glasses of wine and tried to disguise how much she was shaking. “So am I your last stop for the night?”

“I’m afraid not, although that last appointment may or may not happen.” Superman came up closer to her and took his glass of wine from Lois’ hand, and held it up in a toast. “To friendship, kindness, caring, love, and the holiday set aside for all those things.”

Lois returned the toast and took a small sip. “You sound like Clark,” Lois said absently.

“Well, Clark and I see enough of each other that it’s possible to pick up one or two little habits or phrases, I’d say.” His smile as he said it was odd. It wasn’t just a smile, but it gave the appearance of an inside joke. She supposed that Superman was just like anybody else: enjoyed the company of friends, liked being able to sit around and talk without thinking about work, and the occasional quiet night at home or at a familiar place.

Then she wondered what he wore around the house. She knew he didn’t shower with the suit on, at least she had come to that conclusion when he was staying with Clark, but he must have something other than work clothes just like everyone else. She tried to imagine him in a T-shirt and jeans and she nearly laughed out loud; her mental image was almost as awkward as Clark in one of his old Smallville issue suits. “I wasn’t sure if you’d be hungry, but I do have some food ready if you’d like some.”

“Not just yet,” he said. He set his wine glass down and fixed his arms across his chest in his usual manner. “Lois, I saw Clark earlier today, and he told me that you were looking for a story out of me. Is that true?”

“What?” Her heart started to pump quickly. It really hadn’t sounded so terrible in her head. She met with him for exclusives all the time. Why should it make her fell bad to ask for an exclusive dealing with Valentine’s Day? “Oh, well, yeah, I wouldn’t mind talking to you about Valentine’s Day and just how you occupy your time on the holiday for love, but I also wanted to spend the time with you.”

“I see,” but something in his tone made Lois not totally believe him. She knew he wouldn’t lie to her, but she also knew that he would stretch truths to hide something more important. “Why did you want to spend the day with me? It’s not like we can go out to a restaurant, or see a movie, or take walk in the park.”

“Yes, but I wanted this time with you.”

“Lois,” he paused and looked down at his boots. What was so difficult about talking to her? He was acting very cool. He was more business than usual. “You know that you’re one of my closest friends. I care about you, I hate seeing things happen to you, and we’ve been through a lot together. But I thought we’d come to an agreement that the closeness you would expect out of a real and true friend can never be; it’s just too dangerous.”

Lois stared at him and frowned. She took a seat and flew her arms up. “Why do I feel like you came for the sole purpose of giving me a lecture? You know I don’t like lectures.”

Superman rolled his eyes and knelt in front of her. “I’m not lecturing you, I’m giving you your story and I’m explaining things to you. You have this vision in your mind that we can be just like any other couple, and that’s not true.”

It was the strangest rejection speech she’d ever heard. A rejection speech given before the proposal. But, it did prove that he’d noticed that her feelings for him were much deeper than friendship. Not that she’d ever really hidden it. “We could work on it, you could go into town in disguise.” He squirmed visibly at that. “Remember, I’ve kissed you. I know what I’ve felt. You don’t just care for me, I know you don’t.”

It was probably the first time Lois had ever seen him vulnerable. Usually he held this firmness in his jaw that was unrelenting, even when it was obvious that he was worried or scared. But something about what she said dropped away the…superhero from his face. But his emotions had been completely visible for only a split second before he regained his composure and his face went as firm as ever. “Maybe I feel that for you, but all I can afford to do is care for you. I can’t have a relationship with you. We’re friends, I expect to always be friends, but we cannot be more.”

“Okay, so we can’t be more. If we could be, would we be?”

“Lois, the point is we can’t, so why even imagine it?”

“Because…I don’t know! It’s something to think about since you’re not making us an option at all. If you were in Clark’s position and I still loved you as much as I do, could it work?”

He frowned, not in thought but in true sadness. He looked down at his feet again and sighed. “You don’t know who you love. You think you do, but you don’t. All you’ve ever seen of me, Lois, is Superman. Not Superman the person, only Superman the status and symbol. You love the symbol, nothing more.”

“I feel like I know you better than that.” It was the worst rejection she’d ever had. He was closing and locking the door, putting up a ‘do not disturb’ sign and ignoring everything she felt. And that he felt. She knew the real him! She wasn’t sure how, but somewhere deep down inside, she knew the man in front of her, and she knew him underneath the suit and cape. “I know that I have no reason to know any better, but I really feel like I know you.”

Superman just shook his head a little and finally picked up his wine to take a small sip. “I stand by what I said. You don’t know who you love, and you haven’t paid attention to who loves you back.”

“Then why don’t you just tell me? That can’t be too difficult.”

But apparently it was. Superman looked stunned and his eyes got a little wider than usual. He opened his mouth to speak a couple of times, but nothing came out.

The doorbell rang. They just continued to stare at each other. After the doorbell rang a second time, it was obvious that she wasn’t going to get an answer out of him, so she sighed and walked over to the door. She knew that answering the door would mean she wouldn’t get an answer out of him, but she was use to these moments. Clark was very good at getting out of answering prying questions. She turned the doorknob, her thoughts focused on Clark, and half expecting to see him on the other side. So when she saw the slender figure and curly hair, her greeting came out fairly startled. “Lex!”

She saw Superman move out of the corner of her eye and near the back of her living room, in clear sight of the door. Lex had also noticed him, and she shifted her gaze from one man to the other to watch them exchange a heavy glare. “Lois, I’m sorry for dropping in like this, especially since it appears you had someone else drop in. At least I use the door.”

“At least I was invited,” Superman immediately snapped back. She turned to face him and gave him a confused glance. She’d never heard him talk so rudely to anyone, including criminals. He was usually light and even somewhat comical with criminals, and yet with Lex he was downright cold. The two most powerful men in Metropolis very obviously did not like each other, and she wasn’t sure if she’d ever noticed it before.

Lois drew her attention back to Lex and moved to invite him inside. “Don’t worry about it, Lex. You know you’re always welcome. What did you come by for?”

Lex was still focused on Superman. “But am I interrupting something? I don’t want to pull you away from other plans.” He was trying to sound calm, but his voice had the same bite in it that Superman’s had.

“No, we were just talking, sorting some things out. What is it?” she asked again.

“Oh, it’s really nothing. I was just coming to see if you were coming to the ball tonight. You never R.S.V.P.ed so I just wanted to see if it was in your plans for this evening, unless of course the Man of Steel is your entertainment.” Lex threw Superman a mock smile. Superman held firm.

“Oh, right, the ball. Of course.” Lois busied herself straightening her dress and cleared her throat. “Well, Lex, I’m not sure how much longer Superman and I—“

“We’re finished, Lois. You can go to the ball.”

Lois swung around and walked right up to him. “You have a question to answer.”

He looked kind of like a statue. No, a British Guard, only he talked and his arms crossed over his chest. “No, we’re finished. I gave you the exclusive, and I think we made the rest of it quite clear. I don’t know what more resolve you want. Go to the ball, have a good time with Mr. Luthor.”

“But I wanted a good time with you.”

“I always have a good time with you, Lois.”

Lex cleared his throat. “Listen, I can come back if the two of you aren’t finished.”

“No, we’re really done,” Superman responded. “Really, I did have a good time, so go enjoy the party. I’ll see you soon.”

Before Lois could object, he was up and out the window. She hated when he did that.

Lois almost jumped when she felt Lex’s hands come to her shoulders, but she stifled it. Her gaze remained fixed on the window and Superman’s quick escape. “Well, Lois, now that we’re alone, what do you say? Shall I have a car fetch you at 8:00?”

***


Clark settled back down on his couch and turned the TV on. Romantic movie after romantic movie after romantic movie; it was like the TV was mocking him for being rejected for Superman and Lex…and he wasn’t sure which rejection felt worse. On one hand, he hadn’t really been rejected at all. Lois had wanted Superman to stay even after Lex showed up, but at the same time…she’d shunned Clark for Superman.

But Lois swore she knew the real man that was Superman and loved him. If that were true, why was he sitting on his couch channel surfing? But he couldn’t expect Lois to realize that Clark was really Superman, not when he was deliberately hiding that fact. But then again, was he hiding that fact from Lois, or was he hoping that she’d figure it out? He knew it was best to continue to hide it, but he feared the moment Lois figured out that she’d been lied to by two different people…who were in fact one person.

With absolutely nothing to watch thanks to the holiday, Clark settled on Sleepless in Seattle. He got up off the couch and walked to his pantry to grab some popcorn. He poured the kernels into a paper bag, placed his glasses on the counter, turned on his heat vision, and immediately had a full bag of perfectly popped popcorn. He settled back down again and groaned. He’d forgotten what his best choice of movie was.

He threw the first piece of popcorn into his mouth just when the doorbell rang. He stared at the door for a second, then stared beyond the door. Lois?

Clark stood up and walked to the door, stunned. When Superman had left her apartment, she was just about to leave with Lex, wasn’t she? He opened the door and her eyes went wide. “Wow, you look different without glasses.”

Clark cursed in his head and immediately started to squint. “Yeah. Um, so do you, Lois. I mean you look different without my glasses on, too. Come in.” He dashed to the kitchen and immediately grabbed his plastic frames. “There, you look much better.”

Lois hadn’t moved much beyond the doorway. Her head was tilted and her nose wrinkled. Much to Clark’s relief, she brushed that thought away. Thoughts of Superman were always easy to read on her face. Thoughts of Clark were becoming increasingly easier to read. Thoughts of both of them at the same time, as that thought had been, were scary. Lois cleared her throat and finally left the doorway. “I, uh, well, my little thing with Superman didn’t last all that long and so I thought I’d come spend the evening with a friend.”

Clark shrugged and retook his seat on the couch. “I don’t know why when you had a perfectly good invitation to go spend the evening with Lex at the Lexcorp Society Ball. That would have been closer to a real date than sitting here and watching mushy movies with me.”

“Oo, what are you watching?” Lois was immediately on the couch next to him. “Oh, Sleepless in Seattle! I love this movie! Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan….I love it! I can’t believe how quickly it came to the networks, only came out last year. Not that I’m complaining, of course.” She put her hands together and leaned into Clark’s shoulder.

Clark raised an eyebrow. “You like this kind of mush?”

“Only when it’s cute.” She frowned and sat up straight, smoothing her clothes. “But no, I don’t like it that much.” Lois shook her head and then tried to stare at the TV without returning to a mushy state. Clark laughed inwardly at her lip twitching.

At the next commercial, Lois grabbed the remote and turned the TV off. “Superman said something that bothered me.”

Clark raised his eyebrows and resisted the desire to smirk. Instead he settled for leaning back with his hands behind his head. “That’s a first.”

“No, Clark, listen to me!”

“I’m listening.”

Lois paused to glare then continued. “He said I didn’t know the real him, that I didn’t know who I really loved. I think I do! What does he think, that his X-ray vision can see into my brain, too? Because I’m pretty sure it can’t.”

“I don’t think he’s ever tried…” Clark mused with a frown. Even if he thought he could mind read, which he sincerely hoped he couldn’t, he didn’t want to hear the contrasting differences between Clark and Superman in Lois’ head. Seeing it was enough to believe it.

“And just how would you know?”

“Because we talk about you sometimes. You frustrate us both enough that we like having someone to talk to.” He tilted his head and fed her a smirk. Lois just licked her lips and looked away. “But he knows there are certain things you don’t know about him and so he knows that you don’t know as much as you think you do. For example, do you know where he sleeps at night, what his non-work clothes look like?”

Lois didn’t look back at him, only shrugged.

“Do you know his family, where he grew up, what his interests are, what he does to unwind? Do you know any of those?”

Lois shook her head. “No, I guess I don’t.” She was silent for a moment and then spun around quickly. “What about you? You’re talking like you know all those things.”

Clark faltered and dropped his arms from his head. Yes, he did know all those things, was currently participating in some of them, but he couldn’t very well say that. Although he was Clark, not Superman, so technically he wasn’t being Superman, he was being Clark.

And he wondered why he sometimes gave himself headaches. “I know some of it, Lois. For example, since he asks me to clean his suits and capes for him, I obviously have to know what his casual wear looks like.”

Lois climbed onto the couch with both feet and leaned forward. “Is it as tight as the suit?”

Clark stared at her, his eyebrows as high as they would go. “Uh…no. He actually likes T-shirts.”

“Tight ones?”

“Lois…” Clark rolled his eyes and wondered why he was doing this. “Tight enough that they aren’t in the way but loose enough that they’re comfortable. Happy?”

Lois didn’t move for a second then slowly settled down beside him again. “Yeah…yeah, that’s good enough.”

“Oh good.”

“But Clark!” She was back nearly on top of him again, but her eyes were different this time. Instead of excitement and—dare he say lust?—he saw hurt and confusion. “I know that I don’t know those things, but I still feel like I know that other side of him. I understand why he wants to keep it a secret, but I can almost see him, going about a daily life, dressing just like you and me—you don’t look so bad in a T-shirt yourself, have I ever told you that?”

Clark looked down at his “Smallville High Football” shirt and shook his head. “Don’t think so, no, but most of the time you see me in a suit—uh, office suit.”

Lois snorted. “Gee, thanks for clarifying what kind of suit. I would not want to see you in a Superman suit, thanks…and what in the world is that smirk for?”

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing,” and he wiped it off.

“Anyway,” Lois said with a roll of her eyes, “I can almost see that other side of him, and I think I know that side, but I can’t quite see it because he doesn’t want me to. Does he think I’ll think less of him by knowing he has a secret identity? It seems to me that’s natural, otherwise he wouldn’t come close to a normal life, and since he values life so much, I would think he’d value the ability to live his own life too. I just want that wall down so I can love him that way.” She paused and laughed, her eyes searching around the apartment for something to focus on. “It’s crazy, I know, but some nights I sit there and dream of him being the one that comes into work with me, and then every time I imagine him that way, you force your way back into the newsroom. Except you don’t. You just kind of replace him when I’m not looking, and I never notice until I have to call for you and I end up calling for Clark and not Superman, then I get angry.”

“Glad to know how I rank,” Clark mumbled, this time he really was joking. The deliberate wall he’s built especially for Lois between Clark and Superman was still standing firm, and even though it appeared Lois’ subconscious has made a connection, Lois hadn’t. That was good. And as long as it stayed that way, it would stay good. “But hey, maybe you’re meant to go to work with me and only dream about Superman.”

“Maybe,” she agreed.

“Or maybe you think of me as your own personal Superman.”

“Oh, don’t be ridiculous. My best friend? My Superman? Kent, you’ve got some crazy ideas up there.” She sat back and looked at him. “Am I easy to read?” Clark grinned. She had an interesting way of throwing out completely unrelated comments, but he knew that somehow they were connected in her mind.

Clark thought about it a moment. From the first time he met her, he knew he liked the spark in her. He pondered how locked in she kept her emotions from him in the beginning; he really didn’t think it’d taken very long to get a good hold on her. “If someone knows all sides of you. If not, then no, you’re impossible to read.” He paused. “What about me?”

“Farm boy, you surprise me every day. Just when I think I’ve got you pegged, you do something to completely throw me off. Some days I wonder if I know you at all.”

“And right now?”

Lois gazed at him. “Um…I know that you’re still thinking about what I’m doing here instead of Lex’s ball.”

Clark grinned. “Nope. Not even close.”

“Then what?”

Oh yes, that would be a good idea, tell her how much you want to hold her, kiss her, that would be a smart idea. “No, no, no, Miss Lane. Just goes to prove that you really don’t know me at all.” He grinned and Lois cast him a nasty glare.

They sat in silence for a moment before Lois leaned back into his arm. “I wonder if Superman made it to his last appointment or if he was at my apartment too long.”

Clark looked down at her and smiled. “He made it, Lois, promise.”
 
 
 
Barbara: All-Star Supermanhtbthomas on February 2nd, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
A lovely story! Yes, it was long, but I could perfectly picture the cast of the show as you portrayed them. I really loved Clark in this. Thank you for a sweet, touching story. ♥
Ashley: L&C wedding night kissstarrylites on February 3rd, 2007 12:30 am (UTC)
Thanks! I really tried to focus on Clark. I figure as long as Clark is being Clark, Lois will fall into place...at least that's what I was hoping for.

Glad you liked it =)
alamo_girl80: Sup & Lois Lovealamo_girl80 on February 2nd, 2007 05:24 pm (UTC)
Aww! I love some Clois love from the Lois and Clark TV show! Very well done and I love long stories! Just so you know! *wink*

Great job! Thanks for posting!
Ashley: SUPERMAN flying above earthstarrylites on February 3rd, 2007 12:31 am (UTC)
Phew! Glad some people like long stories. I try, ever so hard to write short ones and I fail. I joined a drabble writing contest once and the 500 word limit about killed me. lol

Thanks again!
ellalou73 on February 2nd, 2007 06:10 pm (UTC)
I loved that you chose to do your story from the Lois and Clark TV show. You did a great job holding true to what the show did and I love the idea of Superman getting fan mail. I liked the conflict here between Superman and Clark as far as Lois was concerned. He has a point about her not knowing who he really is and loving him quite possible for what he does. At the same time he doesn't give her much of a chance to find that out and you did a great job of showing that.

I liked that Perry called them on not having a front page and Lois not wanting to discuss it with Clark in the room. Perry making her do that was right on cue with the shows Perry.

The meeting she had with Superman was sweet yet sad. I felt for both of them, for her wanting to know more and for him realizing that she really doesn't know that much about him. You showed that conflict between them well.

In the end I was glad that she went to Clarks and that they were able to spend time with one another. This was a great story nice and long which is always great.

Ashley: L&C Lois flying 'S'starrylites on February 3rd, 2007 12:34 am (UTC)
L&C has become my favorite of the fandom branches, mostly for their bickering and just wonderful comic timing. I just love the overall atmosphere of the show, so I wanted to capture as much of it as I could...without making it too long. Glad that it rang true =)
AlphieLJ: Cloisalphielj on February 2nd, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC)
One of the best things about the TV show was that Clark won Lois' heart on his own without the help of Superman, and this echoed that perfectly. And I must say that the idea of Superman going to the post office to pick up his fan mail had me in a fit of giggles! the very idea! LOL!
Ashley: SMALLVILLE clark 's'starrylites on February 3rd, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
Yeah, the fact that Clark does finally win Lois and the part she has to accept is Superman makes just...is wonderful. I love it.

lol, I wish I could say I came up with the fan mail thing on my own. I can't remember which episode it's in, but there's an episode is season 4 when Lois walks in on Clark doing Superman's fanmail and he's got these two absolutely enormous piles of letters that he's responding to at super speed. I thought that'd be fun to include.
a writer now: [lc] superman lois kissingkatshakespeare on February 2nd, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness! That was so much fun!

Not a sound. All that could be heard was the faint music on the taxi radio and the traffic moving around them. Lois didn't look over at him, just kept staring at the seat in front of her. "You wanted to spend Valentine's Day with me?"

Aw, Lois, yes, Clark wanted to spend the day with you. AND, what I love most about this piece is the ending where it comes out that Superman did make it to his last appointment because it was him and her on the couch together. ;)

A very lovely story. I really like it!
Ashley: L&C stubbornstarrylites on February 3rd, 2007 12:42 am (UTC)
Thanks! I've gotta read yours. Gonna hafta wait until I get home tonight.

I really liked that paragraph. I had such a vivid image in my head of them in the car, this awful awkwardness between them...*sigh* I love awkward.

Oh good! I'm glad that you can tell that Lois at Clark's is the last appointment. I was afraid I hadn't made that clear enough, but good, I did! Yay! Glad you liked it! Can't wait to read yours!
a writer now: [lc] capekatshakespeare on February 3rd, 2007 11:20 pm (UTC)
Awkward is awesome.

I got it right? I'm glad I got it right! :) And you did make it clear, that's good.

:)
A work in progress: Super Lois and Clarkancarett on February 2nd, 2007 11:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, so much love for this story. There's banter and Perry and Lex sparring with Superman and Clark just being. . . wonderful.

Really well-plotted and a joy to read!
Ashley: L&C Clark pwned!starrylites on February 3rd, 2007 12:44 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it so much! I love the show for that banter. I've tried to write fics after they're together or married and it's so hard because the banter is more playful...this is just more fun, lol!
sean_montgomery: Clark - Booknerdsean_montgomery on February 3rd, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)
I tried to do this once already, and my browser closed down on me! ARGH!

*scampers off to reread*

*comes back*

Awww! What a wonderful fic! I can see so many nods to the TV series here - Lois going to his apartment, the fan mail (I remember seeing that episode, but the name escapes me at the moment), even their chemistry... this was like watching an episode of the series! Suddenly I'm back in my living room on a sunday night thankful that I got all my homework done so that I could watch this show. The dialogue didn't feel forced at all, and your Clark was wonderfully... Clark-ish! And the Lois you made complimented him nicely! The banter, the humor, the situation and sources (Bobby Big Mouth! Ha!) feel like they could have come from an episode.

Bravo! This was a good one!
Ashley: SMALLVILLE justicestarrylites on February 4th, 2007 07:02 am (UTC)
It's moments like that when you want to murder your computer. *nods*

Ah, I'm so glad that it feels like the show. It's funny, even when I'm watching Smallville or the movies I have the L&C universe in my head, which is bad, because it doesn't fit in with the other universes at all in so many respects.

Anyway, point being, I'm glad you enjoyed it so much!
Christine: sup_loistaro_twist on February 4th, 2007 04:50 am (UTC)
This was fantastic! Not long enough, I say! lol. Need ... continuation ... *twitches* ...

Really, though, this was great. I've never read Lois & Clark: The New Adventures fic before, and this captures the TV show perfectly. I could totally picture Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain in this ... and the rest of the cast! ... and I haven't watched the show since it went off the air!

I loved the beginning where Superman was getting the tons of fan mail for Valentine's Day. I forget whether the fan mail thing was a detail from the show--if you thought it up, that was a brilliant idea! It was so funny. And I loved this line:

“Chief, I’m taking the rest of the day off. My partner has given me a splitting headache.”

LMAO!

And I'm so glad that Lois went to Clark's place instead of spending the evening with Lex. Woohoo! The ending line was so cute:

Clark looked down at her and smiled. “He made it, Lois, promise.”

Awww ...

All in all, great job! This story really whipped up the Cloisy Valentine's spirit. Now I just need a sequel. :D
Ashley: SUPERMAN flying above earthstarrylites on February 4th, 2007 07:19 am (UTC)
Not long enough? Wow...I almost never hear that. Always shocks me to hear that, lol! As for sequel...if I can come up with an idea good enough, I just might do that. I really enjoyed doing this one, it just flowed so easily, so much fun!

I wish I'd thought up the fan mail, but I stole it from somewhere in the 4th season, can't remember which episode...anyway, glad that you liked it! I think the Clark headache was my favorite, too, especially since Superman really doesn't get headaches. =)

Again, glad you liked it!
Alliecyranothe2nd on February 4th, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
LOL< Clark uses his heat vision to make popcorn!!!! Always wondered how he got through college (they don't allow hot plates in dorms, you know).
I never watched 'Lois and Clark' so the difference in the relationship between Lois and Clark in that show and the movies is really amazing. Thinking I'm going to have to buy a season on DVD and get into it.
~Jenae

PS. Lex has hair??? Whaaaaaa???
Ashley: L&C superman smirkstarrylites on February 5th, 2007 01:14 am (UTC)
Yes, aren't the dorms frustrating? Had a fridge and nothing else. Did have access to a microwave down the hall, but that just doesn't always cut it. Wouldn't we all love to have heat vision sometimes.

Aw, yes, the relationship between the two of them is totally and completely different, more personal. Biggest different is that Clark is the real person and Superman is only his alterego whereas movieverse Clark is the alterego. Just that alone makes their relationship so completely different.

P.S. Yes, hair! Trust me, I was confused, too! It takes a while to get used to a Lex with hair, but you manage. He does eventually go bald, however.
Alliecyranothe2nd on February 5th, 2007 01:19 am (UTC)
You know, Stan Lee was talking about Supes and he said that Superman was different from other superheros because his alter-ego isn't the hero, its the regular guy. He was born Superman. He becomes Clark.
He also said that Clark was Superman's idictment on humanity. I mean, Clark is weak, bumbling, a coward. Its like that's what Supes thinks of humans.
Dunno that I agree with all of that, but it interesting to think about.
Ashley: SUPERMAN oh crap Clark's backstarrylites on February 5th, 2007 01:29 am (UTC)
I agree with that...halfway.

To the first part, yeah, I agree. That's one of the things that the Superman freaks hated about the show, the shift in the Superman/Clark roles. Of course, they weren't crazy about Lex having hair, no Fortress of Solitude, Jonathan Kent being alive, etc. either. So that first statement, yes, traditional Superman that would be true.

As to t he second statement, I have a problem with that. In Superman II when Superman's talking to Lois and she's asking him if it's hard to be Clark, he tells her no, and goes into that cute little description of it's kind of nice to be clumsy and a little silly rather than having to be super all the time. He's totally aware that Clark's over the top, and he likes him that way.

Anyway, yeah, that's what I think =)
Alliecyranothe2nd on February 5th, 2007 05:35 am (UTC)
Agreed, although I'm not willing to watch Superman II to get the exact context. Man, that movie suxed (and you're talking to someone who watches MST3K on a regular basis!).
I don't think Kal-El has it in him to pass judgement on the human race. I don't think he's that sort of person. And I get the feeling that he does enjoy being "ordinary Clark Kent". One of the reoccuring themes in comic books is how superheroes deal with being so idolized. That must go double for the Man of Steel. It must be a real relief to take off the suit and just be normal for a bit.
I think that's why he's attracted to Lois. She isn't some wilting lily in need of saving (although she certainly gets into enough hair raising stuff!). She isn't dependant, I mean. I think he admires the fact that she doesn't look at Superman and immediately think "Here's someone who can save me from my crappy life" becuase Lois is strong enough to save herself. And that puts them on a different footing--no longer saviour and victim.
Yeah, Lois isn't a victim. I think that's a big reason why he loves her so much. Because she saves him.
bistyboo1974: lois and clark/bluebistyboo1974 on February 5th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
Fabulous! *cheers loudly* I'm so glad I finally found the time to read this!

You've captured the characters from the show so well...bloody well, dangit! Their dialogue pulled me right in -- it was snappy and snarky and I pictured Dean and Teri right from the get-go!

Brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing! ♥
Ashley: L&C Teri and Dean book launch laughingstarrylites on February 5th, 2007 01:21 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! It's the chemistry that makes me love the show as much as I do. As quirky as Smallville is and as grand and moving as the films are, I love the personal connection between them in L&C, so I was really trying to capture that.

And I'm glad you could picture Teri and Dean. That's what I had to do while I was writing. They were acting it out in my head. Lol, too bad they didn't get paid for it. =)
✰ ❝elliαniα❞ ĸatrine: ¤Fly¤elliania on February 7th, 2007 03:51 am (UTC)
I haven't seen Lois & Clark News Aventures yet... but with your story, I wish I had!!! I'm sure I'd love it!!

This is a really Great story! I'm sorry I'm a bit late to comment but now I'm here!! And I really enjoyed it!

You don’t know who you love, and you haven’t paid attention to who loves you back. Aww! That was wonderful! Very Clark and Lois' special relation!!
Thanks for that story! ^-^
Louise: Lois & Clark - Teaselouisemcgregor on February 8th, 2007 02:04 am (UTC)
Aww, that was a very sweet story and I also could totally picture Teri and Dean in this story. And I always finds very amusing Clark jealous of himself. LOL. :)

And the fanmail episode of season 4 is from "Aka Superman". m:)
Doctor Greenhorned Gleeky Blur Wizard: heroemeraldstag on February 8th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
Great job! I haven't read many stories based in the Lois & Clark universe, but I thought you did an incredible job of capturing their personalities.
Maria: SR: Lois and Clarkmary_v on February 9th, 2007 03:11 am (UTC)
hee!:D Lovely!:D I really liked this!:D
Mark Clarkmark_clark on February 12th, 2007 06:36 pm (UTC)
This was wonderful.

Both sides of Clark got Lois to think about who she loved. I really liked that as Clark and as Superman, he got her to think about that. Even though Clark truly cares for Lois, he would rather have her care for him as Clark instead of Superman. I think he did a good job to get her to think along those lines.

In the end, Lois did wind up spending Valentine's Day with Clark.

Excellent job with this story.
jenn_1: Loisjenn_1 on February 27th, 2007 01:57 am (UTC)
I loved the tv show from years ago, or at least what i saw of it.

I loved this story, I didn't mind that it was a long oneshot, I like these. I had half thought Lois would know the turth by the end, but it still ended nicely.