Word count: 9,850
Spoilers: Season 8 (up to Identity)
Acknowledgements: I don’t know what I would do without bop_radar. Believe me when I say, the first draft of this story was absolutely nothing like the finished product and that’s all down to K’s brilliant beta-reading skills. Thank you my love!! <3
Dedications: For radioreverie.
Summary: Lois and Clark crash a party and get more than they bargained for.
Feedback: Yes please!
Secrets She’ll Never Tell, by Kate
Lucy saunters into the kitchen in typical adolescent fashion, all snotty demands and thinly veiled accusations, the arrogance and ignorance of a twelve-going-on-thirteen year old female. "What's for dinner?" she asks suspiciously, looking around the room for clues. Lois grits her teeth and tries not to feel guilty.
"Pizza," Lois says authoritatively.
"When are you going to learn to cook, Lois? I'm sick of take out, and look! I'm putting on weight." She demonstrates by lifting up her t-shirt and pinching at a tiny bit of flesh at her waist.
Lois grimaces. "Cooking is for women who like to sew and knit, and shut up, you're skinny."
Lucy shrugs, and stands up. "I'm out of here," she announces without moving.
"Where are you going?"
"Somewhere with real food."
"What do you want from me?" Lois sighs. "I'm doing my best, Luce. I'm just--" Tired. Fifteen year olds shouldn't be this tired all the time.
"You're just what?"
Lois looks her right in the eye, steady and self assured. "I just don't feel like cooking, okay? It's Friday night and Friday nights are not conducive to learning new skills. We'll get some pizza, we'll watch a movie, we'll keep quiet about how hard done by we are. Got it?" Then Lois will sneak out and meet up with Wes.
“Fine,” Lucy concedes, treating Lois to a rare smile.
The truth is, Lucy loves pizza more than anything else in the world, except maybe behaving like a brat. She's one misdemeanor away from being shipped off to boarding school and that threat -- delivered with typical severity by their hands-off father -- has scared her into being better behaved these past few weeks. When The General's around at any rate. When it's just the two of them, like it is tonight, Lucy is unpredictable and as inclined as ever toward rebellious behavior, despite Lois’s best efforts to keep her in line. Lois goes above and beyond for Lucy, including lying to her father: Lucy is a perfect angel. Lucy is a good person. Lucy didn't sneak out again, to meet up with her seventeen year old boyfriend, probably to have sex with him. All of Lucy's friends are age appropriate, good girls just like Lucy.
The General doesn't smile or look convinced. He may not pay much attention to them but he knows his daughters well. He's waiting for Lucy to screw up again, and so is Lois. She's just not sure if she's dreading it or looking forward to it.
Wes is the one thing she's got in her life right now that makes her feel her age, and while she knows he's not "the one" she's grateful for him, and, as far as she's concerned, a relationship based on need is as valid as one based on want.
They meet in the deserted car park behind the cinema and share a bottle of Glenmorangie's single malt scotch, stolen from her dad's liquor cabinet. Shot after shot, because Lois might not have an interest in cooking but it's necessary that she learns to drink. It's a man's world and she needs to be able to navigate it like a man. Shot after shot, and she can out drink Wes now, whose head is lolling about, saliva collecting at the corners of his mouth, eyes crossing.
"C'mere," he slurs, and Lois falls onto him, but their kisses are too sloppy and uncoordinated to be enjoyable. She's not ready to have sex yet, not with Wes, so they drink themselves into oblivion instead, make out like the dumb teenagers they are, and stagger home before sunrise. They say goodbye and see ya tomorrow, and Lois goes upstairs, throws up and passes out, the responsibility of being a mother and a father and a sister all at the same time temporarily forgotten.
She wakes with a blinding headache, and there's Lucy, standing next to her bed with a frown on her face. "Where were you last night?"
Lois wipes the drool from her chin with the back of her hand. "Out."
"You left me here alone?" Lucy demands, outraged. "How could you?"
"Oh for God's sake," Lois groans, pulling her pillow out from underneath her head and covering her face with it, muffling her voice. "You're old enough to handle yourself."
"That's not the point. You should have at least told me you were going out." Her voice is getting higher, louder. "I was looking for you. I completely freaked out when I couldn't find you!" She sounds really upset.
Lois pushes the pillow aside and looks up at Lucy's distraught face. "Sorry, Mom," she says flatly.
"Shut up!" Lucy squawks. "Don't say that!"
Lois sits up, her stomach lurching unpleasantly. "Right. Sorry. Because you're not the mom, are you. That's my job."
Tears spring into big blue eyes, and Lucy suddenly looks less like the little monster Lois has been living with for the past year and more like a vulnerable child. "What's wrong with you?" she asks, voice small and scared.
"I'm hungover," Lois snaps. "Now get out of my bedroom, and stay the hell away from me for the rest of the morning."
Lucy's mouth falls open and she gapes at Lois in disbelief, before slinking out of the room, head hanging.
Lois would feel bad if she didn't already feel like shit. Lucy needs to learn to respect her and if that means pushing her away, setting some boundaries, treating her like the brat that she is, then so be it. She falls onto her back and shuts her eyes, eventually drifting off to sleep again.
Later that day Lois gets a call from Major Ronson. Lucy has crashed The General's car into a tree, cracked her head open on the steering wheel, and is now residing in hospital, allegedly still drunk.
Lucy’s going to boarding school now for sure, and it’s all Lois’s fault.
Lois barely sees her sister over the next two years. During summer holidays she's around but distant, although she'll sometimes get bored with hating Lois and let herself be taken out to the movies or the skating rink. One night she tags along on Lois's date, but it's more out of a desire to flirt with Lois's boyfriend than wanting to spend quality time with Lois.
It doesn't matter, the boyfriends don't last long, don't mean much. They're the sons of officers, boys she goes to school with, or they're sweet, young, patriotic soldiers who think Lois is the most beautiful thing they've ever seen. And then she moves on; next base, next town, next country. She's used to male attention, but she's not interested in being defined by her physical assets, so she lets her personality overshadow everything else. She'll make them laugh but she won't let them go below the belt. She'll tolerate the flattery but she won't accept their compliments. She'll talk but she won't emote. She’ll punch them in the face if they get too fresh. She'll secretly care about each and every one of them but she'll never, ever tell.
Until she meets Private Matthew Albright, who flips her world upside down and teaches Lois the meaning of love -- and of heartbreak. At first he doesn't seem that different from the others -- he's fresh faced, idealistic and horny -- but as she gets to know him something happens to her that she can't control. He's utterly charming, with big, soulful, down-turned eyes and a crazy, infectious need to make the world a better place, and Lois lets herself get swept up in his passion, because passion in a place like Andrew's Military Base is a rare commodity.
"I don't know if this is the best way for me to make a difference, but it's a start," he says, smiling down at Lois, eyes shining. "I want to learn everything I can here. And I don't just mean about serving my country." He lifts her chin with his index finger and leans down, kissing her on the lips.
Lois shivers with pleasure and cackles. "I get it. You want to learn all about women too, and you're starting with me."
"Starting?" He raises an eyebrow, but he can't hold the expression and soon his face breaks into a shy grin. "Okay, you caught me. But I don't want to learn about women, Lois. I want to learn about you."
She squirms with embarrassment and glee. "Shut up, Matty."
"And love," he finishes softly, kissing her on one cheek then the other.
Her heart swells and she can't stop herself from swiveling around, straddling him in one fluid movement, and planting a hard, hot kiss on his waiting mouth. And when his hands creep under her shirt and slide up over her bare back she doesn't bat them away like she has in the past, with him, with every other guy.
"Was that a line?" she gasps against his mouth, not caring at this point if it was or wasn't.
He grins and unhooks her bra. "It worked, didn't it?" Which causes Lois to punch him in the arm, but he just laughs and flips her onto her back, pushing her top up over her breasts, pulling her loosened bra down over her nipples, pinching them gently as he kisses away her objections. "I'm falling for you, Lois," he whispers, sitting up on his knees and shedding his white t-shirt, revealing a long, lean, brown, beautiful chest. The torpedo in his pants make his words sound less than romantic, but Lois can't say she minds. She's so glad she saved herself for this, for him.
"Me too," she thinks, but she doesn’t say it out loud. Instead she reaches up, curls her hands around his neck and draws him forward. The General would tell her that a boy will say anything to get into a girl's panties, but Lois knows better. She's heard all the lines and they've never turned her on. But the way Matt looks at her is different; like he knows it's going to hurt when they have to say goodbye.
They undress with no finesse, clumsy and funny, both giggling and gasping between bumps and gropes and kisses. Lois feels comfortable and warm, pleasantly aroused and full of affection for the boy in her arms. It takes an age to put the condom on -- he really is as much of a virgin as she is, hallelujah! -- even longer to get it inside her, and it doesn't so much hurt as feel unusual. The expression on his face is one she's never seen before: he looks strange but she likes it. He moves in and out of her for about thirty seconds before he stops abruptly, grunts, collapses.
For a first time it was not too bad, Lois decides with satisfaction. It certainly could have been worse and really, it can only get better. She smiles and wraps her arms around him, holding him close, kissing him out of his sleepiness.
He's ready to go again a couple of minutes later and this time it lasts a lot longer; not long enough for Lois to have an orgasm but she got pretty close a few times. It'll happen and there's no doubt that Matt wants to practice just as much as she does.
Three weeks later Private Albright is sent to Afghanistan. He tells Lois he'll be back for her, he tells her not to cry, he tells her he loves her.
She never sees him again.
Six Years Later
Lois never intended to have feelings for AC or Ollie or Grant, the men since Matty who've come, loved her, left her. Each time it took her by surprise and each time she was unable to make it work. But she doesn't regret any of her relationships because as much as it hurts to say goodbye she learned a lot from each man, the most valuable lesson being that she doesn't need anyone but herself.
Which is fortunate, because she doesn't have time for relationships these days; the Daily Planet keeps her so busy, and so satisfied, a man would only inconvenience her. She wants a Pulitzer not a boyfriend, and maybe that makes her weird, but there's a reason she's the most famous reporter in Metropolis at the age of twenty three, and it's not because she spends her free time thinking about men.
"Do I look okay?" Clark asks, sounding dubious.
Clark is the only man in her life. They work together, every day, and they make a good team, even if Clark lacks drive. He’s been there nearly a year but he doesn't take it seriously and Lois isn't sure why, because he's a good writer, a natural, and what's he doing here if not to succeed in journalism?
It niggles at her, the truth about Clark, as if she knows it but can't access the knowledge. There's something about the way he disappears without warning whenever there's trouble brewing nearby that makes Lois feel she should probably investigate, but something stops her. It's as if -- it's as if she knows it will all become clear when the time is right. Because she trusts Clark, more than anyone else -- even Chloe -- and when you trust someone you don't question them. Simple as that.
Aside from anything else, she has no desire to mess with the current dynamic between them, which is working well for her. Yeah, okay, she has feelings for Clark, feelings that some might describe as love. Lust. Whatever! It doesn't matter because Clark is a doofus with absolutely no clue about women and Lois does not need a boyfriend like that, no sir.
Clark is … family, which is maybe a weird to think about a man she has feelings for, but apart from Chloe who else does she have? The General certainly doesn’t count, and the last time she saw her sister was four years ago, and that didn’t end well at all. It never ends well when Lucy is involved, so Lois doesn’t waste her time thinking about it anymore because what’s the point? She failed her sister just like she failed at all her relationships. She knows this. But dwelling on her failures is not Lois’s style. She’s all about looking to the future now, and her future is going to be so full of success no one will ever believe that she was once the girl who flunked out of high school.
"You look fine," she replies, glancing at him to make sure. "Wait." She turns to face him and eyes his bow tie suspiciously. "That's not straight. Hold on." She fiddles about with it until she's satisfied. "There. Perfect. How do I look?"
"Good," Clark says, nodding fast.
They're about to bullshit their way into a black tie event in the Metropolis Hilton so appearances are important - if they don't look the part they'll never get past the doorman.
"Tickets?" he asks them, holding out his hand.
Lois looks at Clark expectantly, who looks back at her with the same expression. "What?" she asks.
"Give the man our tickets, honey," Clark says, like she's stupid.
"I don't have the tickets, you have the tickets."
"No, you have the tickets, remember? When we left I asked you if you had them and you said yes."
"Wrong. You started to ask me something but then your phone rang."
Clark squints off into the distance. "Oh yeah," he says slowly, remembering. Clark used to be the worst at going undercover but he's gotten pretty good at it over the past year. He even seems to quite enjoy it now.
Lois turns to the doorman, shaking her head in exasperation. "I'm really sorry about this, but as you can see, my husband was meant to bring our tickets with him and failed to do so--"
"That's both unfair and untrue," Clark says mildly.
"It's okay, ma'am," the doorman says. "This kind of thing happens all the time - that's why we also have a guest list. What are your names?" He looks down at the list on his desk, which is hidden from sight behind the desk's barrier, and waits for Lois to speak.
Okay Lois, think fast.
"We're Harold and Jemima Aldridge," Clark says, smiling graciously at the doorman.
The doorman's eyes travel down the list, then back up again. Time freezes.
He looks up at them with a smile, but his eyes are knowing. "Very good, Sir Aldridge." He gestures inside. "Please enjoy the party."
Lois gapes at the man until Clark hisses at her, "Close your mouth, Lois," before placing a hand on the small of her back and pushing her into the ballroom.
"How did you--"
"I memorized the guest list earlier today," he interjects, shiftily.
"You're kidding me? That's..." Lois lets it sink in. "Very impressive. But Harold and Jemima Aldridge, Clark? Really? We hardly pass for English royalty."
"We got in didn't we? Now," Clark says, clapping his hands together and looking around with interest. "What's the plan?"
Lois scans the ballroom slowly, drinking in the sight of the Metropolis elite: dressed up to the nines, supping champagne, preening and posing in case anyone important is watching them. The room is huge and grand, the buffet colorful and sumptuous, the champagne copious, the dance floor busy. It's Adrian Benedict's birthday and everyone who's anyone is here.
"We need to find Benedict," Lois says. "Can you see him?"
Adrian Benedict. A wily, eccentric, property tycoon with hair like Einstein’s and a known interest in the paranormal. Rumor has it that he and Lex were in cahoots before Lex's disappearance, and it's Lois's theory that Benedict was connected somehow with Project Gemini -- Lex's ill-fated cloning project which Lois has written extensively about in her as-yet-unpublished-due-to-lack-of-eviden
According to Chloe, Tess Mercer was seen leaving Benedict's office last week and Lois wants to know why. Have they been meeting with each other a lot? Is Project Gemini still active? Are they planning something even more diabolical? Most importantly, does Benedict know where Lex is?
Clark nods towards the dance floor, where several couples are getting their groove on, and there he is, dancing with a woman about thirty years his junior.
"Let's go," Clark says, grabbing Lois's hand and leading her onto the floor; he pulls her in close and they dance their way over towards Benedict, clumsily. She really should take Clark to some dance lessons some time soon because this is ridiculous. "What are you going to say to him?"
"I don't know yet," Lois admits. "I'll play it by ear; he's not exactly going to tell me straight off what he and Tess are up to. I'll have to tease it out of him."
"You're going to flirt with him then?" Clark asks casually.
"Maybe," she replies, equally casual. "Is that a problem?"
"No," Clark says defensively. "I'm just curious about your methods, that's all."
Lois sighs. What is with all the mixed signals from this guy? Not that she's interested in having a relationship with Clark, of course, but really, one minute he's looking at her all doe-eyed, the next he's rushing off somewhere without a word about where he's going, leaving Lois alone and confused, and you know, if he does care about who she flirts with and why, it shouldn't be too difficult to go ahead and make a move on her, right? God. Men.
"Well I may be too old for his tastes anyway. Look at that girl he's dancing with. She can't be more than eighteen!"
"That's his daughter, Lois," Clark murmurs in her ear, voice so full of fondness and amusement it makes Lois shiver.
"I knew that," she says. "Okay, this is what we're going to do. You're going to cut in and take the girl away for a dance, I'm going to go for a spin with Benedict."
"Okay," Clark says, submissive as ever, steering them over until they're directly behind Benedict. He lets Lois go and taps Benedict on the shoulder, clearing his throat. "May I cut in?" he asks politely, with a quick, unthreatening smile in the girl's direction.
"You sure can," the girl says, rather too lasciviously for Lois's liking. Without a second glance at her father, the little harlot slips into Clark's waiting arms, wide eyes gazing up into his smiling face. They dance off before Benedict can protest, and Lois steps into the girl's place.
"Hi there," she says. "Do you mind?"
Benedict looks almost as delighted with the arrangement as his daughter had been. "Not at all!" he exclaims, grasping Lois's hand and waist. "My name is Adrian Benedict, and you are?"
"Lane," she says. "Lois Lane." Screw pretending to be a Lady.
His eyes lose focus as he tries to place her name, a reaction Lois always enjoys; she likes how well known she's becoming.
"Let me cut to the chase, Mr Benedict," she says. "You had a meeting with Tess Mercer last Wednesday and I'd like to know why."
Benedict's eyebrows shoot up in surprise. "My goodness," he says. "You're Lois Lane of the Daily Planet! This is a real honor, I must say." He smiles at her guilelessly.
"Yes, well. Thank you." she says, her face heating up. She tries to remember why she's here, but the way he's beaming at her is disarming. She coughs a little. "Tess Mercer," she says. "Tess Mercer. What's going on with you two?" Oh for pete's sake, Lois, pull yourself together.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," he responds cheerfully. "I've crossed paths with Miss Mercer a couple of times -- what an intense young woman she is -- but I have nothing of interest to report, I assure you."
Lois narrows her eyes, resisting the urge to believe him, because anyone who associates with Mercy and Lex cannot be trusted. Time to find out for sure.
"I see," she says pleasantly. "I want to believe you, Mr Benedict--"
"Call me Adrian," he interjects.
"--but you see, I know all about your involvement in Project Gemini." That finally wipes the damn smile off his face, much to Lois's relief and excitement.
He looks unsettled, although he doesn't stop dancing -- perfectly in time and with surprising grace for such a kook. "You know about Project Gemini," he says slowly. "That project was terminated." He looks up at her earnestly and his face is so open, and so kind, it's hard not to feel guilty for upsetting him.
"I'm not here about that, Mr Benedict."
"Adrian," he reminds her quietly.
"Adrian. I just want to know what you know about Lex Luthor. Where is he?"
"What makes you think I know where Lex is?" he asks.
Lois has no idea, but so far winging it has worked in her favor. "Why else would Tess go to see you? All she cares about is finding Lex." She hopes she sounds more confident in her theory than she feels.
The way Benedict visibly shuts down -- smiling wanly and clearly uninterested in continuing their conversation -- says a lot more than he probably intends. She didn't come here truly believing Benedict knew anything about Lex's whereabouts. But now...
She's about to continue her inquisition, but the song stops and Benedict takes the opportunity to take his leave. He politely thanks her then walks off the dance floor and is soon surrounded by a group of bejeweled old ladies, all probably hoping for the next dance. Clark appears beside her. "How did it go?"
"I'm not sure," she says vaguely, eyes fixed on Benedict.
"I'm glad you're done anyway," Clark says, sounding disturbed. "His daughter was... Can we go now?"
Lois jerks her head towards him. "His daughter was what?" she asks sharply, bristling with jealousy.
Clark's smug look doesn't help her reign in her rage one bit. Goddamn she hates how he can do this to her. "Oh nothing," Clark says lightly, smiling. "She was just very -- tactile." He now looks absolutely delighted with himself and Lois resists the urge to punch him in the face.
"I have to powder my nose," she says stiffly. "Then we can go."
"Okay," Clark says. "I'll wait for you outside."
Lois stalks off, suddenly cranky. Jealousy is not a familiar emotion to Lois, and Clark is the only person she's ever known who can bring it out in her. It's ugly, feeling like this. Hating that silly little girl for no good reason. Hating Clark for taunting her instead of kissing her. Burying her feelings is the only answer to this problem but that's becoming increasingly difficult, because he's there every day, and she's not exactly loving him less the more time she spends with him.
It's hopeless really. They can't be together because Lois is far too independent, and Clark is Clark. Merely entertaining the idea is crazy, and Lois plans to stop it as soon as possible.
She glances behind her before she reaches the exit nearest the restroom, and something catches her eye. On the balcony on the other side of the ballroom, a flash. Something familiar. Someone familiar. A figure, dressed in black, standing in the shadows, looking directly at her. But when she spins around to get a second look, he's gone.
It can't be.
Lois dashes out into the hallway and runs towards the stairwell, yanking open the door and galloping up the stairs as fast as humanly possible in the four inch heels she's wearing.
It was him, it had to be. He's unmistakable.
The balcony circles the entire ballroom, and she does two full laps before giving up and heading out again, running up another flight of stairs and hurrying through the corridors, desperate for another glimpse. She knows the search is futile, and that there's no chance in hell she can find one man who probably knows she's after him in a hotel this size, but she doesn't stop running until exhaustion, pain and an inability to breathe forces her to.
Gasping for air, tears of frustration burning her eyeballs, she leans against the corridor wall of the seventh floor and wonders if she's gone insane.
And there's Clark, rounding the corner, walking towards her, eyes full of concern. "Lois, what's wrong? What are you doing?"
"How did you--" she can't talk, her lungs are burning. She doubles over, clutching her stomach, panting hard. "How. Did you. Oh God. How did you know where I was?"
"That doesn't matter," Clark says dismissively, and if Lois weren't in so much agony she'd be pleased that at least he's not lying to her. "What's going on?" He's wrapping an arm around her waist, holding her up. Holding her.
"Clark, I saw him."
"Lex, Clark. I saw Lex. He was here."
She can't see it but she can feel Clark shaking his head. "He's not here, Lois. I don't know who you saw but it wasn't Lex."
"How do you-- Oh, never mind." She's learned not to argue with Clark about things like this, because he tends to be right. "I know what I saw," Lois says, burying her head into Clark's chest and clutching onto him because if she doesn't she'll collapse. Both arms are around her now, the strong, solid weight of him sublimely comforting.
"Let me take you home," Clark says to her, so gently Lois wants to fall asleep in his arms.
"My feet hurt," she whimpers, and to her amazement and joy, Clark scoops her up in his arms and carries her to the lift, down to the ground floor, through the hotel foyer and out into the crisp night air. People are looking at them but Lois doesn't care one iota. He doesn't put her down until they reach the car, and, like the gentleman he is, he opens her door for her.
Clark drives in silence but he looks troubled.
"It was him, Clark. He's back. He was there, and he was staring at me."
The silence stretches, and when Clark finally speaks his voice is full of disbelief and -- and something else. Fear? "It doesn't make any sense. If he's back why is he hiding?"
"I don't know, but Benedict reacted awfully strangely when the subject of Lex's whereabouts came up. And really, how many other freaky, black-clad, bald dudes can there possibly be in the world? And why was he so interested in me? Unless he's Lex Luthor and he saw me quizzing Benedict and he's now worried that I know too much."
"Lois, calm down. You don't know anything."
"I do so!" she protests, but it can't be denied that Clark has a point. She learned a lot tonight but has no evidence of anything substantial. Benedict is still in league with Lex, she's positive about that, even though he didn't admit a thing to her. And Lex is back in Metropolis, but she doesn't know why, or for how long, or whether Tess knows, or even if Benedict knows. "We have to find him, Clark."
"We will, Lois. We will."
Lois stares at his rigid profile, trying to figure out what he's thinking. She thought he might find the news more exciting, because it is exciting, isn't it? Lex, back in Metropolis after being missing, presumed dead, for more than ten months. That's huge, and surely Clark is as desperate to find out where he was as Lois is. Fantasies of the headlines alone are making Lois giddy. This is going to be the biggest story of her career, it's going to change her life. But Clark's mood is seriously tainting her joy.
"What's wrong with you, Clark?" she snaps at him after a while.
"Nothing," he says, clearly lying.
"Then why so glum?"
He doesn't respond and Lois's mind is working overtime. She knows that Clark has an intense history with Lex, and she thinks Clark knows more about Lex's disappearance than he's letting on. Questioning him about it is ultimately fruitless though, as Clark is the master at avoiding talking about things that make him uncomfortable, much to Lois's frustration. For the life of her, she cannot figure out why Clark would be so upset to hear that Lex is back.
The call Lois gets during her walk to work the next morning shocks her into spilling her scolding hot cappuccino all over her hand and wrist. She curses loudly, sets the cup carefully down on the ground and wipes her hand on her skirt.
“What did you say?” she asks, picking up her coffee and ducking into a nearby tobacco shop to get away from the noise of the street.
“You heard me,” Tess says coolly. “Lex Luthor is back on Earth and he’s holding a press conference today in the foyer of Luthorcorp Tower at ten o’clock this morning. Don’t be late.”
Back on Earth? What the hell’s that supposed to mean? Most importantly though, Lois was right, and she needs to inform Clark straight away. Except that he’s not answering his phone. She leaves him a quick message telling him to get to work ASAP. By a quarter to ten he still hasn’t turned up, so Lois goes next door to Luthorcorp on her own, slightly less excited than she otherwise would be about this momentous event. Clark should be here.
Lex is nowhere to be seen, and by ten thirty the crowd is restless. When Adrian Benedict walks up onto the podium instead, a reporter shouts, “Where’s Lex?” at him and a smattering of others start booing.
“My sincerest apologies,” Benedict says mildly, unfazed by the frosty reception. “Mr Luthor will not be joining us in person today, but I can assure you that he is safe and well.”
“Where’s he been?!” someone yells.
Benedict smiles. “That’s an excellent question,” he says. “Although I should warn you - the answer is one you might have some trouble believing.” He pauses until everyone is completely silent, eyeing him warily. “Lex Luthor was on another planet.”
A shocked murmur ripples through the crowd, disrupted by a few guffaws. “Yes, that’s right,” he goes on. “I found him and I helped him escape.”
What the hell is this guy talking about? The other journalists are now firing questions at him but he’s paying no attention to them. He just smiles that dopey smile of his and waits for them to quiet down so he can continue his absurd tale.
“The planet he was on is called Krypton. Believe it or not, it was destroyed in this dimension more than twenty years ago. But Lex was not in this dimension.”
Surely no one can possibly believe this?
“He was a prisoner on Krypton, subjected to horrors you can’t possibly imagine. Kryptonians may be more scientifically advanced than humans, but they are a race of tyrants, they are evil, and they are coming for us.”
Her heart thumping, Lois scribbles everything down on her notepad.
“Lex has a message for you,” Benedict continues. “Please turn your attention to the screen behind me.” He presses a button on the small remote in his hand and a picture of Lex -- dressed immaculately in black and sitting behind a desk in what looks like the mansion in Smallville –- appears on the giant screen attached to the wall behind Benedict.
Oh God, what is going on? And where is Clark?
“People of Metropolis,” Lex says, his voice silky smooth and cold as ice. “As crazy as it must sound, what Mr Benedict just told you is true. There is life on other planets.” He pauses, letting the news sink in. The crowd is deathly silent. “But what you might not be aware of is that some of those aliens are here on Earth, living among us, pretending to be human. Pretending to be good. Mark my words, friends, they are a threat to us. I am living proof of this.” He holds up his right hand, clad in a black leather glove, and he looks at it for a while, his bitterness and resentment so palpable it makes Lois’s blood run cold. What happened to Lex’s hand? “If not for Adrian Benedict, I would not be alive today, and I would not have the opportunity to warn you, or to protect you.”
Lois feels like throwing up. There’s something about what Lex is saying that feels threatening to her, but it’s not the aliens she’s worried about. He goes on and on and on, scare mongering like the born politician he is. And when he starts talking about Metropolis’s self-appointed mystery hero, claiming that he’s a dangerous alien who’s lulling the city into a false sense of security; a dark force that must be stopped and Lex is the man for the job, Lois knows the truth deep in her gut: Lex Luthor is the real enemy of Metropolis, and his time away has made him more dangerous than ever.
When it’s over she calls Clark again and leaves an angry message on his phone. “Where the hell are you? I need you here, and I cannot honestly believe you just missed that press conference. Lex Luthor is seriously deranged, Clark. Talking about aliens invading the planet. No wait, living among us. Which might be true I suppose, but still. Dammit, Smallville, call me back.”
She hangs up and heads back to the office to write what has got to be the most sensational story of her career.
It's midnight and Lois has been pacing the office for the past hour, sipping on coffee so black and sweet it's more syrup than beverage. She still hasn't heard from Clark and she’s going mad with worry and fear. Is there a connection between Lex’s return and Clark’s disappearance? It makes no sense but the timing of it is awfully convenient, and Clark was visibly distressed last night by the news that Lex was back in town.
Oh God, where is he? It’s been more than twenty four hours since she last saw him and this feels worse than nicotine withdrawal. She shouldn’t let herself get like this but it’s Clark, and okay, so maybe she does need him just a little bit.
The sight of him walking into the office at that moment sends Lois instantly into a rage.
"Where the hell have you been?" she demands, storming up to him and thumping him on the chest with her fist, trying to ignore the fearful expression on his face because it scares her. “You missed Lex’s press conference. I would have thought you’d want to be there. I’m telling you, Clark, the man is crazy.”
"I got your phone message. I know what he said."
The urge to reach out and hug him until they both feel better is disturbingly strong but Lois resists it. “What’s going on? You’re starting to freak me out.”
"Lois, I-" He takes a step towards her, brow furrowed, eyes full of anguish. "I need to talk to you."
It shuts Lois up, the way he looks and sounds, and she can't help but feel nervous. "Okay," she says, walking in front of her desk and sitting down. Clark rolls another chair over and sits down opposite her, close enough that she can feel the warmth radiating off him. "What's up?"
"I went to see Lex," he starts.
"What!" she screeches, then rolls her eyes at herself and takes a few deep breaths. "What?" she says again, more quietly. "What the hell is this? How could you go to see him without me?"
"Lois, let me finish. I have a lot to tell you."
She gulps, then nods reluctantly.
“Lex isn’t crazy. He really was being held prisoner on another planet, in another dimension, and he really does believe that there’s an alien threat here on Earth.”
“But there’s not, right?” Lois asks, needing Clark’s reassurance.
He looks so scared, Lois finds herself reaching out and grabbing his hands, gripping them tightly. "Clark, it's okay. Whatever it is we'll handle it. Together."
He looks up at her then, his eyes shining. "Together," he agrees, but he doesn’t sound convinced. "Lois."
Without another moment's thought, Lois leans over and kisses Clark tenderly on the mouth, and the way he kisses her back, as if it's something he's wanted to do for as long as she's wanted to do it, makes Lois's heart sing with joy.
"Wait," he says before she can kiss him again, but at least he’s finally smiling. "I need to, I need to tell you everything."
Lois nods and sits back in her chair. "I'm all ears," she whispers, her voice breaking. She can hardly believe she just did that, but it felt so right, and Clark feels the same as she does and that's all that matters.
"Firstly," he says. "I love you so much, Lois. I can't imagine my life without you. You're the one."
Tears spring into her eyes and she grabs his face in her hands, planting a hard, brief kiss on his mouth.
Then the smile disappears and the pained look is back. "I’m the alien threat Lex was talking about,” he tells her quietly.
Lois stares at him, unblinking, for several long moments. “What?” she finally says.
“I’m from a planet called Krypton,” he explains.
“But…” Lois frowns. Something isn’t adding up. “But Clark, you’re not a threat.”
Clark eyebrows shoot up. “I know that, Lois,” he says, bewildered, as if her reaction was not quite what he was expecting. “I’ve actually been working undercover for a while now, helping people in need.”
The truth dawns on her like a beautiful sunrise on a clear summer morning. “Oh my,” she manages to say, feeling more than a little overwhelmed. It was Clark all along.
“But now Lex is back he’s going to stop at nothing, until… Well, he’s going to try pretty hard to kill me I think. That’s what he told me when I went to see him anyway, although, on the bright side, he did say he wasn’t interested in telling anyone my secret and he doesn’t have anything against me personally.”
It feels like the ground just disappeared from beneath her, like she's entered some kind of alternative nightmare universe where Clark isn't always there with her. Her stomach lurches and she gulps down the bile rising in the back of her throat. She can barely croak out the words, "He’s going to kill you," before Clark is kneeling on the floor, pulling her onto the floor too, holding her close.
"He won't succeed, Lois," he assures her, dropping tender kisses on the top of her head. "He can't kill me. No one can. I'm invulnerable."
Half an hour later, Lois is sitting on Clark's lap, her arms wound around his neck, listening with rapt attention as Clark finishes telling her about his life. It's all so brilliantly, fantastically insane, and yet it makes sense that he's Metropolis's mystery superhero, and when he demonstrates his powers to her one by one there's no denying that she, Lois Lane, reporter for the Daily Planet, is hopelessly in love with the most incredible being in the universe.
"God, Clark, and you've been helping people, saving people, all this time. It's... you have to--"
"I have to stop hiding," he says, nodding fast.
"Yes," she agrees. "Metropolis needs you out in the open. Especially now that Lex has scared the living daylights out of everyone." She stares at him intently. "But not as Clark Kent. No offence, you're just not inspiring enough."
He sighs with amusement, his eyes twinkling. "I've made a costume. I doubt you'll think it's very stylish," he says drolly, "but it's a brightly colored Kryptonian fashion statement."
Perfect. "No mask?"
"No mask," he says, shaking his head. "Just me. Masks are scary."
"You'll be a symbol of hope," Lois says, pride welling up inside her.
"That's the plan," Clark replies, and he's excited about it, as excited as Lois is. "I think I should go public tomorrow," he finishes, a little triumphantly.
"Yes!" Lois exclaims with a laugh. "Let's steal that bastard's thunder. It'll be the ultimate 'fuck you'."
"Lois," Clark chides with a disapproving frown, but then he grins. "Kind of perfect, isn't it? And the added bonus is that you'll have exclusive access to me. You'll get that first interview you wanted. We're going to make your career."
Lois hops off Clark's lap and takes a step away from him, stares at him hard, then circles his chair, eyeing him critically.
"What?" he asks.
"Clark, if you're not going to wear a mask..." What's to stop people recognizing him? "You're too... You look too much like a hero already. Anyone with half a brain will be able to figure out who you are."
He's looking up at her with interest.
"I think you're going to need two costumes."
"What do you mean?"
She barks out a short laugh. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but you need to make yourself look less stylish. Less built. Less physically intimidating."
"I could wear spectacles?"
"Great. And maybe buy yourself some suits that don't show off your body," she runs her hand slowly over Clark's huge bicep, "quite so well."
They have a moment then; Clark staring down at her, Lois's stomach full of butterflies, unable to take her hand off him.
"Lois," Clark murmurs, the longing in his voice plain as day. He puts his hands on her waist and gazes down at her, and she feels loved, wanted.
"Dammit, Clark," she says. "Will you hurry up and kiss me already?"
He laughs, pulls her in close and kisses her, thoroughly, passionately, perfectly. In the middle of their office at the Daily Planet at one in the morning, wrapped around each other, lips locked, and the rest of the world an irrelevant blur. It's the most romantic moment of Lois's life, but it's also the sexiest, because the longer Clark kisses the life out of her the more aroused she gets, and when she feels his cock hardening against her thigh she thinks she might explode with desire.
"Oh God," he gasps when Lois rubs herself against him, and his hands on her back move in opposite directions - one glides upwards to cup the back of her neck, the other downwards, over her ass, squeezing gently. "I want you so much," he whispers.
"Back atcha," Lois sighs happily, slipping her hands under his t-shirt and marveling at the expanse of perfectly smooth skin under her palms. He feels so wonderful Lois can't believe they waited so long to let themselves have this.
Kissing her non-stop and pulling at her skirt, hiking it up over her hips, so that he can lift her up and set her down on the edge of the desk behind her, and she can wrap her legs around him. Crotch to crotch, humping through clothes, and Lois is so turned on she could easily keep on going, have sex right here, right now, but she's worried about something.
"Clark, oh God. Wait."
"What is it?" Clark asks her, sounding unconcerned. He steps back, reaches under her skirt and grabs hold of her panties at the sides. Lois has to lift her ass off the desk for a second so that he can tug them down, and as he peels them off and drops them on the floor she momentarily forgets what her concerns are. Because he's going to make love to her right here, right now and she can't honestly think of anything she'd rather do.
He kisses her again and there it is, that's his hand, sliding up her thigh too damn slowly, but when the tips of his fingers finally make contact, she moans helplessly into his mouth. Fingers slip inside her so easily Clark has to break the kiss so he can look down at what he's doing, and the look of lust and wonder on his face is beautiful. "You're so wet," he says, awed.
"And you're so hard," she responds, grabbing him through his jeans and squeezing, making him groan, and Clark's sex sounds are already her favorite sounds in the whole world. "But wait," she says again, unconvincingly. He's moving his long fingers in and out of her achingly slowly, driving her higher with each delectable thrust inside.
"Okay," he says, and he pushes inside her once more then stops moving his hand. "Why am I waiting?"
This just isn't fair. How on earth is she supposed to remember anything about anything now?
"Cheat," she pants, attempting to focus her eyes. "I just wanted to suggest. Maybe we shouldn't do it for the first time in the office, you know?" She must be crazy. There's no way she can wait until they get back to her place, and they're certainly not going to the farm.
Of course, Clark can run really, really fast so it wouldn't exactly take them long to change location. It's no wonder he never complained about the commute.
He starts moving his fingers again. "Maybe you're right," he says, and Lois pops the top button on his jeans, then throws her head back so he can suck on her neck more easily.
"Shoot," he says, freezing, pricking up his ears. "Someone's coming." He pulls his fingers out of her and stares intently at the wall.
"Are you looking through walls right now?" Lois asks, delighted.
He smiles at her. "Yes I am. The cleaner is on her way up in the lift. Come on."
Picking her discarded panties up off the floor with one hand, Clark offers his other to her, helping her hop down off the desk, then he leads her out of the office. "In here." He points the panties at the old phone booth next to the lift. "We can hide in there until the coast is clear," he says with a mischievous smile. "God, Lois, you look fantastic."
She glances down at herself and sees that her skirt is still hiked up over her hips and she's completely on display. "Pervert," she jokes, as he tugs her inside the booth and shuts the door behind them.
"Hell yes," Clark agrees, dropping to his knees and burying his face between her legs, making her squeal. He licks her once before looking up at her sternly. "Quiet, Lois. We don't want the cleaner walking in on us." Then he gets back to work.
Oh God, oh God, oh God. First his fingers, now his tongue, and she's not even allowed to scream.
She hears the lift doors open and the roll of the trolley, past the booth and away into the office.
"Clark," she hisses, her whole body tingling with intense pleasure. "Get up here."
He looks up forlornly, the lower half of his face glistening obscenely. "But I don't wanna," he whines childishly, and Lois can't help but giggle.
"You're driving me crazy," she explains breathlessly. "I can't keep quiet much longer."
"Fair enough," he says, standing up and kissing her wetly, and Lois loves that he tastes like her. That he's still clutching her panties in his hand is both hilarious and hot as hell, and Lois wonders if he's noticed and just enjoys holding on to them or if he's blissfully unaware.
They should probably go but she needs to get her hands on him right now, and Clark doesn't object when she unzips his fly. His mouth falls open and his breathing quickens as he watches her reach inside his jeans, slip her hand into the fly of his boxer shorts and wrap it around his warm, hard cock. He touches her face, palm flat on her cheek, and rubs his thumb over her bottom lip, then as she starts to stroke him he pushes his thumb into her mouth.
It's funny, she thinks, sucking on Clark's thumb. She hasn't had sex with anyone since Matt -- although not always for lack of trying -- and that was six years ago, so she really has no idea why she isn't in the least bit nervous about being with Clark. She should be nervous, shouldn't she? Not only is he the love of her life, he's a super strong alien. He has the ability to break her, both emotionally and physically, and yet.
She trusts him completely.
"That feels so good," he tells her, gently fucking her mouth with his thumb. "Oh God, I--" His eyes are crossing and he thrusts his hips up; Lois thinks he might be about to come. "Stop," he says. "Stop before I--"
She stops moving her hand but keeps it where it is, and when Clark takes his thumb out of her mouth, she says teasingly, "Before you what, Clark?"
Aroused and embarrassed, Clark leans down until his mouth is on her ear. "I was going to come," he whispers sheepishly, as if he honestly thinks Lois wasn't well aware of that.
"Well we can't have that," she replies, thoroughly amused. "Not here anyway."
"I've got an idea," he says, stepping back from her and zipping himself up. Lois pushes her skirt back down, delighted by the sight of Clark stuffing her panties into the back pocket of his jeans, then offering her his hand. "Let's go." He leads her out of the booth and picks her up in his arms, there's a sudden rush of air and the next thing Lois knows they're on the roof of the Daily Planet building, looking out over the great, twinkling city that has become her home. "You ready?" Clark asks her, kissing her quickly on the lips. She tightens her arms around his neck and nods.
They soar into the cold night air, and it's terrifying, exhilarating and magical. The warmth radiating off Clark's body protects Lois from the cold as they fly over their city, alive and bright below them, and it looks so beautiful Lois has to swallow back the lump in her throat. Nothing can compare to the way it feels to fly with Clark though: as if nothing and no one can touch them. Lois gazes down at Metropolis, and clings on. He's been saving this city for months and they know it but at the moment he's just a rumor, an urban legend, a red blur in a solitary photograph, an alien threat.
Soon Lois will introduce him to the world, and the world will be able to put a face and a name to the myth.
A name. He needs a name...
He lands on the roof of Lois's apartment building, smiles at her, kisses her, and sets her down. "Are you okay?" he asks.
She nods, unable to speak.
"Wow. Lois Lane, speechless. I never thought I'd live to see the day."
She tries again, but when she opens her mouth to say something snappy back at him no sound comes out. Which makes Clark laugh, and kiss her, pick her up again, and dash them downstairs to her place.
Once inside, Lois pushes the door closed with her back and leans against it, her heart thumping so loud she knows Clark will be able to hear it. He takes a step towards her. "Shall we go to the bedroom?" he asks, a little shyly, a lot hopeful.
Lois reaches out and grabs a handful of Clark's t-shirt, drawing him towards her and kissing him until she feels as aroused as she'd been back at the Planet. Clark must be in the same boat because he forgets about getting Lois into the bedroom and instead his hands drift down her back. He unzips her skirt and pushes it down until it falls the rest of the way on its own, puddling around her ankles on the floor.
Naked from the waist down, she steps out of her skirt and kicks it aside. Clark snakes his hand between her thighs again, and slips his fingers inside her, and the next logical step is to get rid of the rest of her clothes, so Lois unbuttons her shirt under Clark's watchful gaze. She drops her shirt, unhooks her bra and flings it to the side and Clark just keeps fingering her, his eyes roving all over her body.
"You're beautiful," he whispers, cupping one of her breasts in his free hand, teasing her rock-hard nipple with his thumb.
Lois smiles at him. "Clark," she pants. "Get your clothes off right now."
A blink later and Clark's naked too, pressing her up against the door with his body, clever fingers working magic inside her, mouth on her throat, her jaw, her lips. Their kisses are so needy Lois suspects Clark is as sex-starved as she is, as desperate to be with her as she is to be with him. When he lifts her up she wraps her legs around his waist, and as the tip of his cock slips inside her, she thumps the back of her head against the door behind her, sinking down onto him, both of them gasping with pleasure.
He holds her up with such inhuman ease, groaning with every upward thrust, kissing her or just staring into her eyes. "I love you," he tells her shakily, speeding up slightly.
She can barely get the words out because she's so close to orgasm, but she has to say it because she hasn't said it yet. "I," she sobs. "Love," thrust, "you", thrust, "too, oh God oh God oh Clark, Clark, Clark." It's an explosion of pure concentrated bliss, rushing through her body from her groin to her fingertips to her toes, and the way he keeps moving just prolongs it, and it goes on and on and on.
Clark is chanting her name, and his hips have slowed down so his thrusts are now long and hard and deep. His face is flushed and wet, his dark hair sticking to his forehead; he's a beautiful, beautiful man.
He's more than a man.
He comes inside her, arms wrapped around her, face distorted with the intense pleasure of it. Many minutes later he is able to let her go, put her down, grab her face in his hands and kiss her until she loses her breath.
They don't make it to the bedroom for another few hours, but they never stop making love.
Much later Lois watches Clark sleep.
He's more than a man, she thinks proudly. And that’s when she comes up with the perfect name.
Two years later
A quiet knock on the door causes Lois to tear her eyes away from her reflection, glance over her shoulder and see the door slowly opening. Lucy’s shyly smiling face appears and Lois spins around in delight.
“You made it!” she gasps in shock, a lump forming in her throat. Lucy enters the room and runs towards her, throwing her arms around her.
“The General said he’d have me hung, drawn and quartered if I didn’t make it to his favorite daughter’s wedding.”
“Technically it’s ‘hanged, drawn and quartered,’” Chloe comments from Lois’s bed.
“He did not describe me as his favorite daughter,” Lois says without letting go of Lucy. She’s trying her hardest not to cry because her makeup is too perfect to mess up.
“Oh God, Lois,” Lucy says, extracting herself and taking a step back from her. “You look so beautiful.”
Lois turns around and has another look at herself in the mirror. “I really do, don’t I,” she agrees happily. The dress is white and elegant, her hair is immaculate, and she’s marrying the man she loves with all her heart in less than an hour. “I’m so happy you’re here, Luce.”
“Me too, Lo,” Lucy replies and they beam at each other in the mirror. She looks fantastic, in a pretty sky blue sundress that brings out her eyes, and cute white high heeled sandals. “I’m sorry I haven’t—“
“Shh,” Lois interrupts. “We don’t need to dwell on the past. Let’s just assume we’re both sorry for whatever went wrong between us and promise each other that we’ll do better in future.”
“Deal,” Lucy says with a grin.
“Yay!” Chloe exclaims, standing up and pointing at her wrist, her eyes sparkling with excitement. “Ladies, it’s time.”
This is it.
In the limo on the way to the church Lois has an idea. “You know, Lucy, I’m short a bridesmaid. Would you…”
“I’d love to,” she says, grabbing hold of Lois’s hand and squeezing. “I can’t believe you’re marrying Clark.” She leans over and kisses Lois on the cheek. “He’s a lucky guy.”
Lois stares out the window of the car, watching the world go past, and smiles.
He sure is.