Guy Rule Number One
Lois angrily stalked down the stairwell with Clark behind her. After the fight they’d gotten into earlier, she was doing everything she could not to talk to him. He was being such a…
“Here.” Clark opened the door, “This is the Lobby.”
“Oh.” She mumbled, walking through the open door. She pushed her way through the lobby that was darkened from the lack of lights. They made their way outside in silence and headed toward the parking garage. “We need to go back to Molly’s shop. See if we can find anything.”
“Fine,” Clark said flatly.
She climbed into the Jeep and slammed the door, shooting Clark a glance as he got in on the passenger side. She was still angry at him, but she had to work with him. She couldn’t do that with him acting like a two-year-old.
“You sticking to one-word answers for the rest of the day or are you actually going to help find Molly?” She snapped irritably.
“For now, I think it’s best if we don’t talk.” He said with an eerie calm in his voice. “I’ll help you find Molly, and I’ll help with the investigation, but don’t expect me to just ignore what you and Jimmy did.”
“Fine.” Lois snapped, turning the key in the ignition.
“Fine.” He echoed.
Perry watched Lois and Clark leave through the stairwell and sighed. Somedays he wanted to hug those two and others, he wanted to pull his hair out with them. He looked back at Jimmy and the other reporters that were looking at him for direction, “Okay, everybody, listen up. We may have lost the battle, but not the war. We’ve still got a paper to put out.”
“Chief, we’re fully computerized,” Jimmy argued.
Perry sighed, “Olsen, you’re young, so I’ll excuse that. Believe it or not, there was a Daily Planet before there were computers.”
“But there’s no wire service or faxes…” Jimmy stammered.
“So we pound the pavement, just like the old days. First rule of journalism: publish or perish!” He barked, turning to the staff, “Kathy, rustle up some typewriters! Virgil, see if that old linotype machine down in the basement still works…” He looked around, “Jimmy?”
“Right here, Chief,” Jimmy said from behind him.
“I want you to stick with me like glue. You’re gonna learn what it’s like to be a real newspaper man.”
It took everything in him not to get out of the car and fly off. Lois had managed to press every button today. She didn’t even realize what she’d done was wrong; that was the mind-boggling part in all of this.
“We’re here,” Lois said, parking on the left side of Molly’s shop. He nodded, waiting a few minutes for her to get out before following. He was angry with her, but he still wanted to help find Molly. He’d been too angry with her at the time to focus on what was going on. By the time they both realized what had happened Ryan was long gone with Molly; thus igniting Lois’ anger at him.
It had been a madhouse on the streets. Police were directing traffic and keeping everyone off the roads. He kept a close ear out for anything the authorities weren’t able to handle. Finding Molly was priority number one though. Lois said she used to be a computer engineer. Though he didn’t think she seemed like the type to perform terroristic acts like shutting the power down on an entire city…He knew there were two sides to everyone. They had to find out who was behind the sabotage on the power-grid system and get the power restored.
Lois walked from the door to Molly’s shop to the parking spot she told him she saw Ryan parked at. “There’s nothing here.” She kicked at the gravel angrily.
Clark lowered his glasses, checking for anything that might be invisible to the naked eye and smiled when he spotted an expired military badge beneath the gravel by Lois’ foot. “Do that again.”
“Do what?” She kicked the gravel and more of the badge stuck out.
“Right there.” He pointed, leaning down to pick the badge up. Unable to resist he added, “I guess your temper does come in handy sometimes.” Before she could respond, he showed her the badge, “Looks like Molly left a clue.”
“That’s her old military badge from when she worked on the Hawkeye,” Lois said, taking it from him.
“Think she’s trying to tell us something?”
“Well, the badge was issued for access on Fort Truman.” Lois sighed, “I guess we start there.”
“How?” Clark asked. “They’re not going to just let us walk on base.”
“No, but maybe one of Perry’s army buddies has an idea on how we could get on base,” Lois commented. Sirens began going off around them, and they looked up to see several tanks driving down the road and several soldiers marching down the main road in cadence. She moved toward the sirens, “What in the world?”
Lois moved to follow them, and he reached out to stop her. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Finding out what’s going on,” Lois responded, annoyed.
“Lois, this isn’t some criminal you’re trying to follow. That’s the Army. You can’t just interfere with their patrol.” Clark argued.
“Then what do you suggest we do? Sit here and wait for the Metropolis STAR to tell us what’s going on?” Lois snapped irritably.
“No, that’s not what I meant, and you know it. There’s got to be a better way to…”
“I’m sure asking a few questions wouldn’t hurt.”
“Of course, go barreling in guns a blazing like you always do. Although you might want to consider that when you get arrested and thrown into military prison, Superman might have a hard time getting you out.” He snapped angrily.
“You’re a jerk!” She spat out.
“Takes one to know one.” He retorted.
“You have no right to throw Superman in my face like that. Who do you think you are?” She poked her finger in his chest.
“Just giving you the facts. Sorry, it doesn’t fit into your self-absorbed bubble.” He snapped back irritably. “Even Superman has to follow the law.”
“Oh, give me a break! This has nothing to do with my wanting to talk to those soldiers, and you know it. You’re still bent out of shape at me for earlier…”
“We gonna work on the story or continue arguing?” Clark asked, trying to change the subject. He really didn’t want to get into this with her right now.
“You’ve got a lot of nerve!”
“I guess we’re going to do this, huh?”
“You’re damn right! You abandoned me today, and then you tried to turn it around on me! What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Wrong with me??? You’re the one that had Jimmy poking his nose in my personal life like the local paparazzi!”
“I did not!” Lois snapped back.
“Really so it became common knowledge on the Planet Grapevine that I need a date by accident?”
“What are you talking about?” Lois fumed. “I never told anyone…”
“You told Jimmy!” He pointed out.
“He knows more about everyone’s personal lives. He’d never ….”
“Obviously he did.” Clark snapped. “I can’t believe you’d do something like this! After everything, you went through this summer…How would you feel if you had random people coming up to you trying to proposition you at work?”
“I had nothing to do with that!” Lois argued. “I would never do something like that. You should know me better than to…”
“Newsflash: Lois! It did happen. You did have something to do with it. Right now you’re no better than the paparazzi that was harassing you after Luthor’s death!”
“I am not!” Lois snapped angrily. “That was different!”
“How? My personal life is being aired just like yours was. Please explain the difference.”
She glared at him, uncertainly, “I think we should get back to the story.”
“Good idea.” Clark retorted.
Lois walked back to her Jeep, but he remained where he was. “Are you coming?”
“Fine!” She slammed the door, and he watched her drive off,
He let out a long breath. Everything seemed to be setting both of them off today. Lois still didn’t see what she’d done was wrong. Then when they were trying to work together on a story, throwing caution to the wind once again—he crossed a line. He knew it from the minute he made the remark. He was trying to get a reaction. She’d hurt him. Even if it was unintentional, she’d hurt him. This was something he couldn’t just sweep under the rug as he had with her past transgressions.
With all his gifts growing up he’d always had to keep his guard up; keeping friends at a distance. It wasn’t until he’d invented Superman that he’d felt he could really let his guard down, solidifying the separate personas to the world and feeling at ease with himself as Clark Kent. Lois was the first person he’d really let see past the walls he’d built up over the years. Having his life put out there as gossip among his colleagues had been hard –but learning it had been done by someone he trusted so completely—that had been the part that hurt him the most. He knew he needed to find a way to forgive her. They couldn’t continue to work with one another like this, and he couldn’t stop Ryan Wiley—if that’s who was behind the sabotage of Metropolis’ power grid—without Lois’ help. He just wasn’t sure if he was ready to forgive her yet.
“Help somebody! My wife’s having a baby! Help!!”
Hearing the cries for help he leaped into action, tugging at his tie as he headed for the nearest alleyway. Maybe doing a long patrol around the city would help clear his head.
As Clark came into land, he spotted a man in his late 20’s by the payphone, slamming it down and turning to his pickup truck that was parked on a curb. “The phones are still dead! I can’t get an ambulance…”
He landed by the passenger side of the truck and saw the young woman around the same age crying. With a quick scan, he saw there was no time to fly her to the hospital. The baby’s head was already crowning. “It’s gonna be okay.” He reassured her, leaning into the rear passenger door that was already open.
She let out a loud scream, and he watched in wonder as the rest of the baby finished making her way out and into his grasp. He grabbed a nearby towel that was hanging on the back of the seat and wrapped the baby in it. “He’s going to be fine.” He reassured then turned to the father who was pacing around the street frantically.
“Not how you planned it I'm sure, but still the same result.” He handed the man his daughter, “Take your daughter and get in the car. I’m gonna fly all of you to the hospital…”
“I can't believe it. My daughter was delivered by Superman...”
Lois headed back to the Planet, making her way through the backroads that were now being directed by the National Guard soldiers and local police officers. Luckily there was a bit of a delay when merging onto Main Street and she was able to get some information from one of the soldiers. The governor had declared a state of emergency, and New Troy’s National Guard had been deployed from Fort Truman. She found it very odd the same base that Molly had worked on the Hawkeye with Ryan and the same base that had the faulty weapon’s demonstration was where all the troops were coming from. There was a connection there she just knew it. Unfortunately, thinking about the possible connection wasn’t coming easily to her. All she could think about was her argument with Clark today.
How dare he throw her feelings for Superman back in her face like that?
How dare he imply that…
She let out a long breath.
<<“Well, sorry for not feeling very generous. I’d just found out my supposed friend was over there talking about me behind my back.”>>
<<“Finding your superhero so you can fawn all over him weren’t exactly high on my list of priorities.” >>
<<“You have no right to throw Superman in my face like that. Who do you think you are?” >>
Over and over everything came running through her head. Every snide remark. Every dig. They’d fought before but never like this. Clark was angry at her in a way he’d never been before. Every time they fought, it was usually her starting it. Today had been different.
Yes, she’d gone behind his back.
Yes, she’d talked about his personal life with Jimmy.
Yes, she’d enlisted Jimmy’s help in finding a suitable date for Clark.
Did she intend for everyone at the Planet to be talking about Clark’s dating life?
She parked in the parking garage and made her way through the stairwell, climbing the steps until she reached the floor of the newsroom.
Would he be there?
Would he talk to her?
<<“You’re the one that had Jimmy poking his nose in my personal life like the local paparazzi!”>>
<< “I can’t believe you’d do something like this! After everything, you went through this summer…How would you feel if you had random people coming up to you trying to proposition you at work?”>>
She’d been so focused on trying to fix this ‘guy rule’ between Clark and Superman she’d forgotten to consider how Clark would react in all of this. Yes, she was trying to be a good friend and set him up with someone less obnoxious than Mayson Drake, but she’d forgotten to ask him. She’d forgotten to talk to him.
She opened the door and suppressed a groan when she saw his empty desk. It had been hours since their fight, and she’d been caught in traffic. Surely he could have walked there in faster time. He’d done it countless times.
Was he avoiding her?
<<“I would never do something like that. You should know me better than to…”>>
<<“Newsflash: Lois! It did happen. You did have something to do with it. Right now you’re no better than the paparazzi that was harassing you after Luthor’s death!”>>
<<“That was different!”
“How? My personal life is being aired just like yours was. Please explain the difference.”>>
He’d compared her to the paparazzi that had been hounding her after Lex’s death.
That had hurt.
But he wasn’t wrong.
She’d crossed a line.
She needed to make it right.
The question was ‘how?’
She didn’t anticipate a conversation with Clark going over very well right now, but she needed to try. He was typically the first person to apologize after their fights—whether he’d been in the wrong or not.
She was going to have to be the one to make the first move this time. To do that she needed to find him. Typically Clark was able to pass along a message to Superman for her. Maybe it would work the other way around?
The city was dark as he flew above the downtown area. Most of the disasters had been diverted fairly easily. There were a few medical emergencies he’d had to intervene with and many instances of road rage as drivers sat in their cars for hours trying to make their way through the city that had essentially been shut off from all technology. The power, phones, internet… Everything was cut off. What he couldn’t figure out was how.
A sharp beeping echoed in his eardrums. He looked around and groaned when he realized the source.
Lois stood on the roof of the Daily Planet holding up what looked like the old watch of Jimmy’s.
He could fly away and ignore her.
He should fly away.
After their fight, earlier talking to Lois wasn’t exactly high on his priorities.
She’d hurt him.
Betrayed his trust.
Holding a conversation with her as Superman would be hard.
He should fly away.
But he couldn’t.
He landed on the roof.
“Do you mind?” He pointed to the watch in her hand.
“Sorry.” She clicked the button. “I didn’t know how else to get ahold of you without falling out a window or—”
She was quiet.
“—or talk to Clark?”
“Yeah.” She gave him a weak smile.
“Well, I’m here, and for the moment there aren’t any calls for help. What do you need?”