Pairing/Characters: Lois Lane-centric, Clark Kent/Lois Lane, Lois & Diana (Wonder Woman), minor Diana/Steve
Word Count: 8,944 (this part); 17,473 (overall)
Summary: role reversal AU; Lois is the surviving member of Krypton but still ends up growing up with the Lanes and Clark grows up as a normal kid in Smallville. They meet at the Daily Planet and Lois is drawn to her new partner. Unfortunately he is more interested in her alter ego. At least at first.
A/N: for the heroinebigbang; special thanks to my artist, wisp_of_a_spook, who had been a great and supportive partner!
Previous Parts: Chapter 1
Art can be found HERE! :D
She beamed at the small child, whose kitten she had just taken a moment to retrieve from the tree in which it seemed to be stuck.
“You’re welcome,” she replied, feeling her heart warm at the innocent smile. This was definitely the best part of her job. Once the kitten was safely back in the young girl’s arms, she waited until she was gone and stayed in one spot, listening to make sure the girl reached home safely. After she got that confirmation, she decided to continue on her path, but before she could take off, a familiar voice stopped her in her tracks.
“And you rescue beloved pets too. Is there anything you don’t do?”
She spun around, only to be greeted with Clark, who was looking very much like the cat who caught the canary himself.
“I try to help the best I can,” she managed. “Mr. Kent, right?”
“You remember.” He looked pleased with the information.
“Of course, it is hard to forget the person who gave me the name I am now known as,” Lois pointed out, and his smile got brighter. “It is nicer to see you with your feet firmly planted on the ground.”
“It certainly is more comfortable,” he agreed, chuckling. “So the name …. do you like it?”
She tilted her head, wondering why he cared, but figured it was just a writer looking for feedback. “It is certainly something.”
“Well, not a lot of ‘S’ names out there,” Clark said, gesturing to her costume. “And you didn’t exactly give us anything to work with.”
“Who says it is an ‘S’ anyway?” Lois countered, causing Clark to pause.
“Well, it looks like an ‘S’,” he said slowly. “If it is not, what is it?”
“Would you like to print that for tomorrow’s article, Mr Kent?” she said. It was evening, the last steaks of the sunset having faded into the sky, and no one else was at the park they were currently in, which is why she allowed herself to linger.
He didn’t look the least bit remorseful. “It would make for a good story. Speaking of stories, that is what I wanted to talk to you about. I’ve been trying to catch up with you for a while.”
“Easier said than done, I will like to add.”
“That is intentional,” Lois made sure to say. “Is this meeting by chance or did you send that poor child’s kitten up the tree?”
“No, I didn’t have that kind of foresight unfortunately,” Clark replied. “I will keep your weakness for small animals in mind for the future.”
“I’m not that easily won over,” Lois countered.
“Well, that I figured,” he responded. “Now that I have you face to face though, I have to ask if you would let me interview you.”
“Interview?” She should’ve expected it, but somehow, was caught off guard. Lois was the one who did the interviewing, never having been subject nor had it ever been her goal. The exact opposite really.
“Yes,” he confirmed. “The people want to know all about you, and I think you should give me the chance to interview you and tell your story.”
“Why would I want to give out that kind of information?”
“Well, you’ve seen some of the doubters,” Clark said. “Heroes are popping up more and more, and we don’t know anything about them. If you could open up a little, it would make you seem more real and relatable. Look, I will even give you the questions in advance. You can trust me.”
“I don’t even know you,” was all she could come up with.
“That could change!” he insisted. “Just give me a shot … I won’t blindside you or anything and nothing you don’t want printed will be. You have my word.”
“I don’t know if I am ready to give you any of the information you will be asking for,” she said cautiously, while the offer was running through her mind. It wouldn’t hurt really, and she could make some sort of name for herself, through a person who seemed to think positively of her.
“Then think about it,” Clark offered. “But if you are going to do an interview, can I at least have a promise that you won’t go elsewhere?”
Lois had to laugh. “Yes, should I do an interview, I will contact you first, Mr. Kent. Should I agree, it will have to be on my terms though.”
His smile was wide and infectious. “Deal.”
She made a move to leave. “Until next time, Mr. Kent.”
He didn’t protest her exit and just nodded. “Goodbye, Superwoman.”
She continued her patrol, drifting across the country, stopping by in the many busy cities that had a higher crime rate and not enough protection. By the time she got into bed, it was late. What Clark didn’t realize was that he would see her again sooner than he thought, just in a different way.
The following morning would be her first official day at the Planet, and Lois was a bundle of nerves yet managed to get some sleep that night. She had never needed much to function, which was probably due to her heritage. It was always nice anyway to get what she could though.
Lois was up and ready early in the morning, ready for her first day, dressed in a red blouse, black pencil skirt, and a matching black suit jacket to top it all off. While she moved faster in flats, she was long practiced in a pair of heels so she wore them with ease. Her hair was in a ponytail and her glasses were firmly in place. The hardest part was sneaking her costume in and out but she would figure it out eventually. For now, she left it at home, and hoped she wouldn’t need it.
Perry had told her to see him first thing in the morning, so that is what she did, and was let in almost immediately by his secretary (Sally, she remembered).
“Lane, welcome aboard,” Perry said.
“Happy to be here, sir,” Lois replied.
“We’ll get you situated and you need to head over to get your badge, but I first wanted to introduce you to your partner,” Perry explained. “He’ll show you the ropes.” Walking over to the door, he opened it slightly and yelled, “Kent! You in?”
Kent? Oh no, wait, it couldn’t be, could it?
But when she was greeted with an all too familiar voice, she knew that yes, she really should’ve seen this coming.
“You called for me, sir?”
Lois took a deep breath and stood in place, until Perry literally dragged Clark over to (re)introduce her.
“Yes, this is the partner I was telling you about.”
“So that’s still going to be a thing then?” Clark asked, giving her a nod of greeting.
“When have you known me to change my mind, Kent?” Perry shot back.
“Always a first time for everything, sir,” Clark said, with a cheeky smile. “So you’re Lois Lane? Clark Kent.”
“Nice to meet you,” she said, offering her hand, which he accepted and shook. There wasn’t a hint of recognition in his gaze, which was a huge relief.
“Show her the ropes, Kent, where she needs to be and whatnot,” Perry instructed and Clark gave a quick nod. “Best of luck to both of you.”
“Thanks, sir,” Lois said.
“Right this way, Lane,” Clark said, and she followed him out the door, her heel catching on a small crack in the floor, causing her to tilt forward. She let out a small sound and that was enough for Clark to spin around and catch her with ease. Fortunately, she managed to keep a hold on her briefcase.
“You okay?” he asked, amused, hands gripping her arms tightly.
“Yeah,” she said slowly, briefly caught up by how pretty his eyes were. “Just … uh … heels.” Turns out the klutz thing would be a little easier than she thought.
Steadying her, he took a step back, and she used her free hand to adjust her glasses. “Yeah, I can’t say I envy you for those. Let’s see if we can get you to your desk in one piece at least.”
“Here’s hoping, or Perry might think you tried to take me out, in an attempt to get out of this,” she said dryly, drawing a laugh out of her new partner.
They made it the rest of their way to her new workspace with ease and unsurprisingly, their desks were together and facing one another. Perry White was taking the partners thing very seriously it seemed.
“I’m over here,” Clark said, pointing to the well used desk with all sorts of papers scattered next to the desktop computer that was situated right in the middle. “And of course this is your’s. Looks like they have got your name plate ready and everything.”
Lois followed his gaze and she wouldn’t deny that seeing her name there sent a thrill down her spine. It really did never get old. Remembering she was not alone, she forced her expression back into a more neutral one.
She met Clark’s eyes, who gave her a little smile and admitted, “When I saw mine, I got pretty excited and called my parents to celebrate.”
A small laugh escaped her lips, while inside, she felt a pang in her heart, wondering if her dad would even care if she did the same thing. What was a nameplate to a three star general anyway?
Pushing those thoughts down, she gave him a grateful nod. “Well, thanks for the tour.”
Clark raised an eyebrow. “Tour’s just beginning, Lane. You don’t want to see the rest of the place? I haven’t even shown you the break room, where you can get unlimited cups of terrible coffee to keep you fueled on those late nights.”
“I figured you had more important things to do,” Lois replied.
“Maybe I’m just using you as my excuse to snoop,” he suggested easily.
“Have you ever needed an excuse?”
“Now I can’t be giving away all my secrets,” he teased.
Before she could respond, they were joined by a third voice.
“Trust me, Clarkie over here has absolute zero secrets of interest. I’m surprised you haven’t bored her already with your big old crush on Superwoman.”
Clark didn’t even flinch but she could see the mild irritation in his eyes so she spun around to see the source. Lois turned toward the sound, only to be confronted with a tall, white, broad shouldered man with reddish brown hair and light brown eyes. He looked to be around their age, slightly taller than her but shorter than Clark.
“I think you’re on the wrong floor, Lombard,” Clark pointed out.
“Just passing through, Clarkie,” the other man said, with an easy grin, though Lois wouldn’t trust him as far as she could throw him while near kryptonite. “And it seems you have a partner. White stick you with one after your last stunt?”
“You’re the only one who would think it’s a punishment,” Clark replied, tone not changing.
But Lombard had moved on to Lois.
“Steve Lombard, sports,” he greeted her. “And you’re Lois Lane, the new blood.”
“Didn’t realize I was so popular,” she commented.
“Word spreads quick and I pay attention,” he said, leaning against her desk, and she fought the urge to push him away. “So Lane, let me give some advice-”
“Don’t think I asked,” Lois muttered.
“You gotta be careful with Clarkie over here,” he said, as if he hadn’t heard her. “Otherwise, you both may find yourself falling off a roof, and Superwoman only has two hands.”
“I would say she wouldn’t use either to save you, but I think she values all life, even the annoying ones,” Clark chipped in.
“Yes, you know her so well,” Lombard remarked. She wasn’t going to call him Steve; she had met Steve Trevor and this guy was not worthy of that name. Steve Trevor would probably want to punch him in the jaw, or at least be happy to hold Diana’s lasso while she did it.
“As well as anyone else,” Clark replied.
“With the way you gush about her, it seems like you wish you knew her a little better,” Lombard suggested.
Oh, joy, this guy was fun, wasn’t he? Even if he was exaggerating and his whole personality just made her cringe, it did give Lois a little thrill at the idea of Clark coming anywhere close to gushing about her alter ego.
“It’s called gratitude for saving my life,” Clark was saying, causing her to tune back into the conversation. “You might want to go back to following the guys who throw and catch a football.”
“Speaking of which, you looked a lot manlier throwing one than you did being carried by Superwoman,” Lombard threw out, with a smarmy grin, though Lois could tell he was slightly bugged at Clark’s more or less lack of reaction.
“You’ll find that being “manly” is less important than being a pancake,” Clark said dryly. “I’m happy to be alive, thanks.”
“But I’m sure if you’re ever in the same situation, we’ll tell Superwoman to move aside and let you hit the ground,” Lois assured him, finding the right moment to step in. “We’ll even make sure to put how dignified and manly you were on your headstone.”
“You do have some sass in you, don’t you, Lane?” Lombard said, impressed. “You know, if you lose those glasses, I bet you’d look pretty cute. Contacts have been a thing for a while.”
“Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done for you, Lombard,” Clark was quick to retort, before Lois could give this guy a piece of her mind.
“Aww, Clarkie, we’re all friends here,” Lombard said, tone loud and boisterous, nudging his arm. “Right?” He looked at Lois. “It’s all in good fun, don’t take offense, Lane.”
“Yes, I’m sure all your friends gush about your sense of humor,” Lois replied, lips in a thin smile, and took pleasure in watching him slightly flinch at her tone.
“And speaking of friends, I promised my new partner a tour of the place and you’re not on it,” Clark said quickly. “Right this way, Lane, if we are lucky all the donuts in the break room won’t be gone yet. If you need help finding your way back to your own desk, Lombard, the elevator is that way and it’s two floors down.”
Before Lombard could respond, Lois and Clark were already heading in the other direction, and once they were out of earshot, Clark gave her a wry grin.
“Sorry that was your first introduction to the Planet.”
“Nothing I can’t handle,” Lois said, waving it off. “Trust me, he is not the first or last of his kind. He seems familiar with you though.”
“Yeah, we go back to Met U,” Clark explained, as he led her to what Lois would find out was the break room. “He was two years older, but I beat him out in the quarterback competition and he transferred pretty quickly after that. Didn’t do too badly for himself, even played professionally for a bit before blowing out his knee. Kind of has a complex over it. One of those guys who always thinks he is the funniest because he is the loudest.”
“Sounds about right. The type who tries to find your weakness and keeps poking at it, but brushes it off as a joke if you get offended.”
Clark made an assenting noise. “You handled yourself well though.”
“His type are a dime a dozen,” she said, shrugging. “You seem used to him though, much to his frustration.”
“Yeah, he’s all talk and he can’t find any weakness on my part that easily,” Clark said, as they stepped into the break room.
Lois took a look around, not meeting his gaze as she made a note of her surroundings. “He certainly thought he had.”
“What, with Superwoman?” Clark asked, scoffing. “Like being rescued by her is something I’m ashamed of.”
Spotting the donut box, Lois made a beeline for it, occupying herself with finding a maple donut, making an unintentional noise of happiness when she succeeded in her task, her cheeks heating up as she heard Clark let out a small laugh behind her.
“Even the most progressive guy sometimes can’t really accept being saved by a woman,” Lois said, before turning around and offering him the box. “I’ve seen it first hand on a military base. You want to see guys with complexes? Lombard is nothing compared to some of them.”
“Right, your dad is a general,” he noted, picking out a glazed donut, and she raised her eyebrow, curious but not as surprised as she should be, setting down the box once more.
“Did some research on me?” Lois asked. As if she hadn’t done the same thing.
“A little bit,” he said, moving around to her to make coffee. What did surprise her was that he made a cup and handed it to her first, before making another one for himself. “By the way, you might want to add some sugar to that.” She shook her head, and he went on, without hesitating. “I figured you’d be my partner and I didn’t want to walk in blind. I mean, I’ve read your articles in the past, like-”
“The city council one? About the money laundering?” That was the one that had really gotten her name out there.
“That too,” Clark agreed. “I was talking about the one you wrote at NYU, about the dark side of fraternity parties?”
“Oh.” That was unexpected.
“I remember reading it while I was at Met U, and it was pretty eye opening,” Clark said casually, heading to the door, making sure she was by his side as they left. “Brave of you to write it.”
“I had a classmate-” she shook her head, trailing off. “Anyway, I had to do it.”
She had entered New York University, a confused freshman who just wanted to get away, and liked the ability to get lost in a big university/city, but she hadn’t had any clue what she wanted to pursue. The fraternity expose, which happened when she wanted to help out a girl in one of her classes, had really solidified her plan, and she’d never looked back.
Of course there was backlash, including from her father, who wanted her to keep her head down, but she hadn’t cared. Some things were too important. Besides, anyone who tried to mess with her had quickly learnt their lesson, her being able to brush off her strength from being a self proclaimed military brat who had been taught to protect herself at a young age.
“Still brave,” Clark was saying, grounding her to the present.
“Didn’t change much in the end,” she said, old frustrations returning with full force.
“But would you do it again?”
Her answer was immediate and firm. “Of course I would.”
“Then that’s all that matters,” Clark replied.
She smiled and took a sip of her coffee, nose immediately wrinkling. “I think you were right about the sugar.”
Clark let out a laugh, as they made their way through the building; however, their coworkers showed no reaction at the sound, too focused on their own tasks to care about them.
“Definitely is strong though,” Lois noted. The caffeine wouldn’t affect her, but as her senses had always been sensitive, she could taste every note.
“It gets the job done,” Clark agreed.
“Can’t argue with that.”
They exchanged smiles as the tour proceeded without issue, Clark pointing out all the important places in the building, and introducing her to a few people, such as their copy editor, who she hadn’t been able to meet the last time she was there, as well as showing her where she could pick up her press badge.
However, it was abruptly cut short when Lois and Clark were ordered by Perry to attend the press conference of the mayor and they were shooed out the door.
“Didn’t Berkowitz just do one of these a week and a half ago?” Lois wondered out loud, referring to the Metropolis Mayor, Franklin Berkowitz, as they headed toward the garage. “What does he have to announce anyway?”
“I’m guessing he is feeling some pressure about the superheroes,” Clark said. “Not everyone is on the same page and sharing his pro hero views, especially within the City Council.”
“Like Buck Sackett, you mean?” Lois replied, unable to hide her disgust. The longtime politician and city councilman had made his feelings about heroes no secret. She had read some of the comments in the Star recently, and it made her recoil.
“Exactly, that guy is a piece of work,” Clark confirmed. “Did you drive here or should we take my car?”
“Your’s is good,” Lois replied. “I walked here.”
Clark nodded, and once they found his car, a nondescript black SUV, they were off, and a short car ride later, they were parked and walking toward City Hall, where the press conference was to be held.
There were plenty of other reporters already there, a few of Lois’s former coworkers amongst them, so they had to linger toward the back. Hopefully, they would still be able to get a question or two in. At times like this, Clark being well over six feet helped and she had definitely noticed that he had gotten a few admiring looks when they entered. Whether he didn’t notice or just was ignoring it, she couldn’t tell, but his focus was only on his phone and a small recorder that he had brought with him.
Lois had a recorder too, but she also had a small notepad and pen as backup, which she secretly preferred. Of course her pen functioned as a recorder too, and a very powerful one, moreso after she once let Bruce take a look at it, and he returned it to her with a longer battery life, bigger storage and an improved sound quality. She had to have a talk with him about boundaries, even if she was grateful for the upgrades.
The mayor showed up not too long after they did, so they weren’t waiting long. Franklin Berkowitz was a middle aged man, about her height, with light brown hair and a receding hairline, dark brown eyes, and a pair of square framed dark glasses perched on his nose. He presented a stern face in public, but in private, was a kind man and the few interactions Lois had with him in reporter mode had gone well.
Right now, the serious look was out in full force, as he began the press conference.
He first honored a man who had saved three people from a house fire last week before moving on to other topics. It wasn’t too much after when he made sure to address everyone’s new favorite topic: superheroes and her in particular.
“As we speak of those who are doing their part to help our city and state thrive,” Berkowitz said, “we cannot forget our newest hero, or rather if we are to understand, an old hero stepping forth.” Out of the corner of her eye, Lois could see Clark press his lips together, taking a step forward that she wasn’t sure he meant to take.
“Superwoman is of course, welcome,” Berkowitz continued, “just as the Blur had been before her, and we hope that she will work with us, the city and law enforcement, to make Metropolis a safer place. If she is listening, I would like her to know that I love to sit down and discuss how exactly we can make that happen.”
Lois’s eyebrows furrowed as she took in Berkowitz’s words. She didn’t trust politicians, even the nice ones, and while it was in her best interest to form some sort of alliance, the idea left her feeling uneasy. Turning her head slightly toward Clark, she was once again reminded of his interview offer. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.
Before she could dwell on it, she heard a noise that left her bothered. It was almost like ... someone was loading a rifle. Lois had been around the military to recognize all sorts of weapons and the sounds they made almost immediately. She took a few steps backwards, subtly moving behind a well placed tree before scanning the area. Clark didn’t seem to notice the disappearance of his partner, too engrossed in what the mayor was saying.
To her horror, she saw the bullet in the air before she found the source and she moved faster than she ever had before, retrieving her costume through the open window of her apartment before speeding toward the Mayor, heart pounding in her chest, even as she knew she was flying faster than even the human eye could see. What felt like forever to her was only seconds, if that.
She landed right in front of him, catching the bullet with one hand before it could pierce the side of his skull.
Gasps escaped the mouths of the previously silent group, as she easily commanded the attention of everyone around her.
That was the mayor himself, rightfully shocked at her sudden appearance.
“Sniper!” she yelled immediately, not even having time to turn around, before she spotted two more bullets, rising in the air to make sure she got them both in her chest, before they fell harmlessly to the ground.
Murmurs turned into chaos, as security rushed to get the mayor out of the way, and the rest of the reporters seemed torn between running for safety and demanding answers from her immediately.
She didn’t give them the opportunity. Once she was sure the mayor was safe and that the bullets had stopped, Lois took one last look out at the group. She was rewarded with flashes in her face that had probably been going on since she had arrived, eyes briefly catching Clark’s, who stopped his task of looking around, looking unhappy as she had ever seen him, giving her a small nod, and then going back to his task, questioning some person next to him, hands moving to gesture frantically.
It was then she realized that he was looking for her. Not Superwoman, but Lois Lane, the partner who had disappeared without so much of a ‘be right back’, and she felt a surge of guilt.
While she heard someone yell out a question, she didn’t acknowledge it, taking off as she calculated the location from where the bullets had come from, and arrived moments later at the seventh floor of a nearby garage to find the spot empty, an abandoned rifle the only proof that someone had been there. Making her exit obvious enough so that anyone who was already investigating would know where to start, she then sped off, covering her tracks as she changed back into her work clothes, and headed back to the scene, making sure she didn’t look out of place.
She realized too late that she still had a bullet in her hand too, but there was nothing she could do about it, as she approached the field, where the majority of the reporters still lingered and were chatting amongst themselves.
Clark saw her before she could yell out to him, and he closed the distance between them in a few quick strides.
“Lois!” He said, sounding and looking relieved. When they met, he pulled her into a hug that she wasn’t expecting and she awkwardly patted his back, trying not to dwell on how comforting the embrace was. Separating immediately, he asked, “Where did you go? Are you okay?”
She nodded, feeling slightly overwhelmed at his concern. “Yeah, Smallville-Clark, I’m fine.”
Clark raised an eyebrow at her accidental use of his hometown, but didn’t address it and instead chose to repeat his question. “Where did you go?”
“I, well, the coffee didn’t exactly sit well with me,” she lied, fidgeting a little with her glasses. “I was coming back, but I thought I saw Superwoman and I tried to follow her. What happened here?”
“The mayor was almost shot,” Clark informed her. “Superwoman came just in time, and she didn’t exactly stay for questioning. Did you catch up to her?”
Lois shook her head. “No, but I found this.” She opened her palm, revealing the bullet, and Clark’s eyes widened. “Maybe she dropped it?”
“Yeah, apparently,” Clark said, bewilderment in his tone. “Did you see which way she went?”
“Toward a parking garage. I can show you.”
“Maybe before the cops wrap that place up in tape,” Clark agreed. “Someone came out a few minutes ago and said there would be a follow up in a few hours so there is no point in waiting around anyway.” He peered closely at her. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine,” she assured him, summoning a smile. “Forgot to eat breakfast this morning. Too much coffee on an empty stomach is apparently not a great combo. Next time, I’ll try to give you a head’s up before pulling a disappearing act.”
He shook his head, a smile gracing his lips. “That would be helpful so I don’t have to find a way to explain to Perry that I lost my partner on the first day.”
“Probably wouldn’t look good on a resume,” Lois teased, and he let out a wry chuckle.
“No, definitely not, and I’m not ready to clean my desk just yet,” Clark replied, as they walked toward their next destination. “We should probably exchange phone numbers so I can just text you next time.”
Lois nodded, and stopped, pulling out her phone so she could add Clark to her contacts and vice versa, before they went back on their way. After a pause, he went on. “So- Smallville? Are we at the nickname portion of this relationship already?”
Her cheeks heated up, despite her best efforts. “Let’s not get carried away. It was just a slip of the tongue. I promise I’ll stick to first names in the future.”
“I don’t mind it,” he said. “Looks like I’m not the only one who did some research.”
“I like to be prepared,” Lois said.
“Barely anyone knows about Smallville, outside of the LuthorCorp plants there, much less have remembered the name,” Clark told her.
“I’ve actually been there,” she admitted, causing Clark to look at her, visibly surprised.
“Just a few times when I was younger,” Lois said, purposely vague. “My cousin used to live there.”
“Oh? Maybe someone I know?”
“Yeah, it does seem like the place where everyone knows each other,” Lois said, and Clark let out a noise in agreement. “Her name is Chloe, Chloe Sullivan?”
“Chloe? Oh! Chloe’s your cousin?” The recognition was instant and obvious.
“So you do know her.”
In another world, the daughter of her mom’s sister and she might’ve been closer, Chloe only a year younger than Lois, but in this one, where her father was keen on no one getting too close, after her mom had died and Chloe’s had left, the two families drifted apart. She hadn’t seen or spoken to her cousin in years.
“I do,” Clark was confirming, getting her attention. “We became friends after she moved to Smallville in middle school. She was actually more into journalism than I was in high school, and we drifted apart in college. I think she’s out of the country now?”
“Singapore, last time I heard,” Lois answered. “We’re friends on Facebook.”
“Yeah, same,” Clark said. “Wow, small world.”
“That’s an understatement.”
Their conversation promptly died as they reached their destination and much to do their disappointment, the building was already closed off. Apparently, Lois had been just as obvious as she hoped.
“Well, it was worth a shot,” Clark said. “Maybe we can look into that bullet you found.”
“Yeah,” she sighed. “Back to the office then.”
They found their way back to the car and returned to the Planet, where Perry was already in a frenzy.
“Kent! Lane! There you two are. I needed the story on the assassination attempt of the mayor on my desk yesterday!”
“We’re on it,” Clark said immediately.
“The one day for Olsen to be sick,” Perry muttered. “Did anyone get any pictures of Superwoman?”
Another photographer had, and since Perry was distracted with him, Clark and Lois went back to their desks to work on the story.
“So ... Olsen?” Lois said, realizing that yes, the curly haired photographer who had accompanied Clark that day when she saved him was indeed missing in action.
“Yeah, Jimmy Olsen- he got food poisoning over the weekend,” Clark explained. “Otherwise, Perry probably would’ve sent him with us. I’ll introduce you if he shows up tomorrow.”
Lois accepted that and they went back to the story. Clark typed, while Lois dictated and they both debated on the lines, but there were few disagreements.
“What do you think?” Clark asked, pointing toward a sentence about Superwoman’s arrival. “Not too wordy, right?”
“No, sounds succinct,” Lois said, narrowing her eyes at the screen. “You actually saw her show up anyway, not me.”
“So did at least fifty other people,” Clark replied. “It is a good thing you were there. The last thing I need is to seem biased.”
“Thought Lombard didn’t bother you?” Lois asked, tone neutral.
“He doesn’t,” Clark replied immediately. “He’s not the only one, and well, being seen as biased in this industry can be a killer … even if she is”-his voice dropped a key- “really special.”
“Sorry I missed her then,” Lois managed.
“Yeah.” Clark’s voice was wistful. “The way she swooped in the nick of time …” He shook his head and cleared his throat, lowering his voice so only she could hear him. “So, I was thinking we should probably leave your bullet out of it. They’ll probably make us turn that in as evidence and I want to examine it- I know a lab tech who might be able to help us.”
“I thought I saw them picking up another one anyway so I think it’s okay to keep this one,” Lois said, readily moving on.
Which they did, the topic dropped for the moment, and they completed the article, sending it in to the copy editors in time to find out that the update wouldn’t be open to anyone, including the press, and the Metropolis Police Commissioner would be hosting one that would take place the following morning.
So most of the main floor ended up gathered near the TVs watching the mayor speak, reassuring the public that he was fine, expressing his gratitude for Superwoman’s timely intervention, and once again requesting that she meet with them as soon as possible.
Lois was starting to believe that she may not have any other choice.
“Man,” one of the other reporters, whose name Lois couldn’t recall at the moment, said. Tim? Tom? Something like that. “I hope we don’t turn into Gotham.
“What is that supposed to mean, Tom?” Clark asked, eyes narrowing at the other man. So it was Tom.
“Means that once you get some heroes in a city, the villains seem to follow,” Tom said confidently.
“An assassin trying to kill the mayor isn’t exactly on the same level as the Joker or Poison Ivy. Pretty sure whoever is responsible would’ve done it whether Superwoman existed or not.”
Heads turned toward the new voice, which belonged to none other than a tall, slim black man that Lois immediately recognized as Ron Troupe. She had read his articles in years past and even though he was her age, he had already gained the reputation as being a steady, unbiased journalist, with a flair for finding out the deeper story.
She could tell having Ron backing him did give Clark, who hadn’t ever seemed to waver in confidence during the brief time in which they’ve known one another, an extra boost.
“Exactly, and we would obviously rather have Superwoman than not. Think of all the Blur has done over the years.”
“But we don’t even know anything about her,” Tom pointed out, tone not changing. “She has so many powers and she just wants to save people? How do we know she isn’t going to flip and go evil?”
Lois bit her lower lip hard; what could she say that would help? As Lois Lane, maybe nothing. But as Superwoman …
“She hasn’t done so as the Blur,” Clark argued. “If she was going to snap, wouldn’t we have seen signs already?”
“Little biased there, Kent,” Tom pointed out. “We don’t even have any proof that she was the Blur. I think we just need to get her side of things. I’m willing to hear her out, but she needs to say something. Can’t just show up and disappear at will. How are people not going to get curious?”
“No one asks this of Batman,” Clark insisted firmly.
“Batman does work with the GPD,” a petite white blonde with blue eyes piped in. Alice? Annie? “You heard the mayor. She hasn’t made contact yet with anyone yet.”
“And that would fix things, Allie?” Clark asked. “A meeting with the mayor and the MPD and suddenly she has everyone’s trust?”
“Wouldn’t hurt,” Allie replied. “We have to start somewhere. After all, the Blur came out of nowhere, literally, spent a long time saving lives in the shadows, and then one random day, she revealed herself to the world. How do we know she isn’t going to disappear just as suddenly and we all never see her again?”
Clark’s shoulders slumped slightly and he blew out a breath. “I guess so.”
Lois felt a lump in her throat that she couldn’t swallow. Arguments ran through her mind, but she couldn’t bring herself to voice any of them. Lois knew how to defend herself; she preferred it, and she was slightly irritated that she wasn’t doing it. Sam Lane didn’t raise a daughter who couldn’t fight her own battles. She shouldn’t need Clark being the one to make the arguments for her alter ego.
She could handle it on her own.
After all, she never had any other choice.
And she didn’t want one either.
Not now or ever.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), the discussion was canned when Perry White stuck his head out the door.
“Do I pay you all to run a morning talk show? We have an evening paper to produce! Get back to it or I will find someone else who can do it instead!”
That was enough for everyone to scatter, arguments over for the time being. Lois went back to her desk, but Clark didn’t follow, heading in another direction. She wondered if he needed to cool down, only for him to return shortly after, two cups in his hand, one that smelled like coffee and the other chamomile.
“I got you some tea … for your stomach,” Clark explained, visibly relaxed, as he handed her a cup. “Chamomile is supposed to be gentle and help.”
She blinked a few times, and then accepted it, touched. “Thank you.”
He smiled. “Yeah, I should’ve warned you about the coffee. There are better places to get your caffeine fix, including a coffee cart right outside.”
“It’s not your fault,” she was quick to reassure him, feeling slightly bad over the fact her lie made him feel so guilty. “I can usually handle it.”
Clark nodded, not looking quite reassured, but accepting her answer. “Want to go grab lunch then? So we avoid any repeat incidents? My treat.”
“Sounds like a plan. Are you this nice to all your partners?”
“Well, you’re the first,” Clark replied, shrugging. “And you’re not so bad, Lane.”
“Lois,” she corrected without thinking and he tilted his head. “You can call me, Lois.”
“Lois,” he repeated, nodding. For some reason, she really liked the way he said her name. “I can do that. You can call me Kent, Clark, or I guess Smallville works too.”
She refrained from blushing. Barely. “I’ll remember you said that.”
He just laughed, and to lunch they went, Clark introducing her to a deli nearby, which made delicious sandwiches and salads. There was a crowd, so they took their food back to the Planet, where they worked on the changes that needed to be made to the article, now back from the editor, as they ate.
From there, they were separated, Clark working on a piece he had been assigned the day before while Lois went to interview a restaurant owner who had been accused of keeping unsanitary conditions in his kitchen after a dozen people got food poisoning in the last week (including, she assumed, the missing Jimmy Olsen).
He was tightlipped, but she did track down two of the people who had dined there and gotten sick and managed to get a story going. Of course, she had to take a few breaks to make a save or two, but she balanced all her tasks with ease. It helped that she was already out and about, and didn’t have to make any excuses this time around.
From there, the rest of the day flew by, and before she knew it, she was packing her things to head home, and then on patrol.
“You need a ride, Lois?”
She looked up at Clark, who also seemed as if he was done for the day.
“I’ll be fine,” she replied. “I don’t live that far.”
“It’s getting kind of dark and it was pretty chilly today,” Clark pointed out. “Will you be okay walking?”
Glancing out at one of the windows she realized he was right. Realizing he wasn’t leaving, she said, “I can always take the bus.”
Which she wouldn’t do but maybe it would ease his mind and make him leave.
It did neither.
“Really, it’s no problem,” Clark said. “If you don’t want me to know where you live, I can even drop you off a block away.”
“I’m not worried ab-” she started and then trailed off, figuring it was a battle not worth fighting. “Okay, if you insist … Smallville.” She didn’t know where that came from, but it only seemed to amuse him.
So they left, and Clark followed her directions with ease, though Lois had to stop herself from tapping her foot impatiently. She had never been the greatest passenger, preferring to have control.
He dropped her off in front of the building.
“Thanks for the ride,” Lois said, stepping out.
“Any time,” Clark said. “Turns out you really are on the way. See you tomorrow, Lois.”
“Good night,” Lois replied, and he responded in kind. Shutting the car door, she headed toward the entrance and noticed that his car only pulled away after she was secure inside the building. She wasn’t sure how to feel about her overprotective partner, but he hadn’t treated her with anything other than respect so she couldn’t complain.
After all, he wasn’t just that way over Lois, but Superwoman, who had clearly proven capable of taking care of herself.
Speaking of which, Lois really needed to make some decisions. Even Clark hadn’t been able to fight the (valid) arguments her coworkers were making and it was true; she couldn’t just go come and go without expecting any sort of repercussions or questions.
While she had an idea of her next step, she needed some advice. Checking the time, she realized it was still the middle of the night in Paris, so she stayed in her apartment, made some dinner (cooking wasn’t her strong suit, but she knew enough to not have to live on takeout), and went through a quick patrol. By the time she sent out a message to Diana, it was early morning where she was, and she got an immediate response.
So she flew over as quickly and discreetly as possible, entering through the window that Diana had left open for her, discreetly in the back of the building that led to the guest room. Closing it behind her, she made her way down the hallway and into the living room, briefly startling Steve, who was situated in the kitchen.
Waving and smiling apologetically, she greeted him. “Morning, Steve. Didn’t mean to sneak up on you.”
Steve Trevor shook his head and gave an easy smile. “Morning, Lois. At this point, I should be used to it. Diana will just be a moment.”
She nodded, accepting the answer. “I have time. I hope I’m not interrupting anything?”
“No, nothing exciting,” Steve said. Gesturing to the pan in his hand, he asked, “Have you eaten yet? I’m about to make breakfast.”
“I finished dinner not too long ago,” she told him. “What are you making?”
“Crepes. I think I got this recipe down, finally.”
“Oh, Diana has told me all about your cooking adventures,” Lois said pointedly, causing him to grin and shake his head.
On paper, Steve Trevor was as American as they came, but had settled in Paris with Diana nicely. Born somewhere in the midwest (Idaho? Iowa? Diana had mentioned it and she had forgotten and was too embarrassed to ask again), he stood at six feet tall, a slim but muscular figure, with blondish brown hair, bright blue eyes and sharp elegant features. Honestly, he looked like he could be on the cover of a magazine rather than the pilot/occasional spy that he supposedly was.
He had always been friendly toward her though and was endlessly supportive toward Diana. She was pretty sure she didn’t know their entire history, but they were as stable a couple as she had ever seen.
“Should I be afraid?” he asked.
“No, it’s all good things.”
“As if there was ever a doubt.” A third voice joined them, and Lois spun around to greet Diana, who was dressed in a sleeveless maroon tie neck pencil dress.
“Hi Diana, sorry to barge in.”
Diana waved it away, moving to stand by Steve, who was looking at her lovingly.
“We’ve seen the news. You’ve created quite the uproar.”
“For better or for worse,” Lois sighed. “Still trying to figure out the best route to take.”
“I should go make breakfast,” Steve said, gesturing towards the kitchen. “Unless you both want a little more privacy ...”
“If you want to stay close by, I could use another opinion,” Lois said, and Steve nodded, but made his way to the kitchen, beginning to bring out all the necessary ingredients to start working, as Lois and Diana settled themselves down on the bar stools by the kitchen island.
“What are your thoughts?” Diana asked.
“I’m thinking of doing an interview … with Clark Kent.”
“The man who you saved? The one that named you?”
“He’s also my new partner at work,” Lois added, which caused Diana to give her a knowing glance. “He asked earlier, well, he asked Superwoman, and he has been vocally supportive. I just don’t know how much I should reveal. It’s not like I can say I grew up here, without people trying to put the pieces together to figure out who I am.”
“It wouldn’t hurt to skew your background a bit,” Diana advised.
“I am wondering if I can give off the impression that I don’t have a secret identity at all,” Lois confided, revealing a thought that had been bouncing around in her head for the past few hours.
Diana nodded thoughtfully. “It can be done. After all, you do already have a ready name and even a home outside of Metropolis. What do you think, Steve?”
Steve looked up. “Yeah, I mean, it’s not like you wear a mask like Batman. With the way you leave your face open, it is pretty easy to convince people that this is all you do.”
“It’s a lot more lying,” Lois sighed. It was a part of the job, something she had been doing for as long as she remembered yet it still bothered her at times.
“It’s not lying if they don’t have the right to know,” Steve said calmly. Seeing Diana’s raised eyebrow. “I overheard the grandma of a friend of mine say this when I was a kid- can’t say my parents loved the excuse, but it certainly worked when you are trying to infiltrate a target.”
“Is that so?” Diana said, lips twitching, as she leaned forward just slightly. “And what have you been trying to infiltrate lately?”
“Nothing! I mean specifically about Lois and her secrets,” Steve defended. “You, of course … have the right to know …. you know, everything. All the things. No infiltrating here.” He turned red, and Diana giggled. “So … crepe?”
“I’d love one,” Diana said, warmth in her tone. “But really, Kala, he is correct. I have learnt that it is remarkably easy to hide in plain sight and I believe you too will be able to achieve a similar result.”
“I can’t imagine you have ever been able to not be noticed,” Lois replied, without thinking and blushed as Diana’s smile grew and even Steve chuckled.
“I didn’t mean, oh well, it’s true,” Lois replied. “But I will keep it in mind. Thank you … both.”
Steve gave her a nod of acknowledgement.
“You’ll be fine,” Diana promised. “Best of luck.”
Lois certainly hoped so.
She left shortly after, not wanting to interrupt Diana and Steve’s morning much longer, and she did need to get some sleep, before another long day.
It was hard falling asleep but she managed, questions lingering in her mind, as she still needed to figure out a reasonable way to contact Clark in costume. She knew she had made him a promise, but she wondered how it would look for her to do the first interview with him, whether she would be judged for going to someone who supported her. It’s not as if Clark had ever been subtle.
Yet, as she watched TV while eating breakfast the following morning and saw one of the morning shows debate whether she was ever going to say anything, she knew that she had to do something. This was at least a start.
She was about to head off to work, when she got a text from Clark, offering to pick her up so they could go straight to the conference, which she agreed to with minimal hesitation.
His car was parked outside in the same place he had left her the night before by the time she got out. Stepping inside the car, she greeted him as she fastened her seat belt.
“Morning, Lois,” he said, pulling into traffic smoothly once she was set.
“Morning,” she replied. “Is being my new chauffeur going to be a regular thing?”
He let out a laugh. “It could be. I don’t mind.”
“It’s too early to be that certain,” Lois warned. “I might get used to it and watch: you’ll just get sick of me.”
“Nah,” he said, with a sincerity that made her catch her breath. “I think I will keep you.”
“Now that sounds like a threat,” she said instead.
“Whatever you want to believe.”
They made it the press conference with plenty of time to spare, so they were able to be seated a little closer to the front this time around. Police Commissioner David Corporon, a tall, broad man with slicked back brown hair, small brown eyes, and a full beard spotted with grey hair, made for an intimidating figure as he addressed the crowd. He spoke quickly and abruptly, giving them the update.
Which, unfortunately, wasn’t much of an update. While they had gotten a few leads, they hadn’t narrowed down a suspect just yet. He did take questions for about ten minutes, and Lois couldn’t help but notice the way his jaw clenched when a reporter from the Metropolitian.com, an online newsite, asked about Superwoman.
“We haven’t heard from her, but we can only hope that she reaches out eventually,” came the terse response, and Lois barely refrained from wincing. That first meeting, whenever it took place, would be one she was not eagerly anticipating, that was for sure.
Other than that, the press conference moved on without issue, and before she knew it, they were back at the Planet, checking in with Perry and doing a quick write up.
“So your friend, who could help us about the bullet … did you contact them?” Lois asked curiously.
Clark frowned momentarily and then his face cleared. “Oh yes, I did. She said she could meet after work, if you have some free time. 6:30?”
“6:30 works,” Lois agreed.
She would’ve said more, but there was hushed whispering around her, and she followed the noise to see a very familiar bald man make his way through the floor and head into Perry’s office.
“Is that …?”
“Lex Luthor? Looks like it,” Clark answered, eyes narrowed. “I wonder what he is doing here.”
“Wasn’t there a rumor that the Planet was for sale a few months ago?” Lois remembered suddenly, unexpected worry running through her spine. “Any chance he’s here for that?”
“It was squashed pretty quickly,” Clark said. “But you never know. You think he’s interested?”
“I would figure he would be more subtle if he was.”
“Who knows? Some of these billionaires love a show,” Clark said. “Then again, I’ve never met the guy. Have you?”
“No, I haven’t.”
Which wasn’t a lie.
She hadn’t met Lex Luthor.
But ten years ago, she had saved his life.
And he had no idea.