Guy Rule Number One
The door closed and the ignition started. Clark stole a glance next to him at Lois who was looking out the window. The memory of her body so closely intertwined with his continued to haunt him. It wouldn’t have taken much. All she would have had to do was ask him one more time, and he would have caved.
He was grateful she hadn’t.
There was still so much they needed to work through. She still didn’t know about Superman. Before they ever crossed any threshold like that he had to tell her.
He’d promised himself he’d never take that step with anyone unless he could share everything with them. He’d known for a long time that Lois was that person. That was why it had hurt him when she’d tried to push other women at him—even if it was through Jimmy. It had been just another reminder of how little she’d regarded him. Superman would always come first—or so he thought.
Her tone with his alter-ego and the confrontation about last summer on the rooftop replayed in his mind. He’d hurt her. Both sides of him. Superman by rejecting her. Clark by walking away from her and refusing to come to her wedding. It had been a painful time for both of them. He had thought taking back his confession would help let them recover from the pain and hurt they’d put one another through. Little did he know doing so would have robbed them of any closure.
<<“I love you.” >>
They were three simple words that had meant so much. After all the pain and almost losing Lois to Luthor, he’d almost given up hope of every fulfilling his dream of having someone he could share everything with. When he’d heard her walking up the steps to his apartment tonight he’d been prepared to pick things up where they’d left off earlier. All day seemed to be nothing but fighting—it’d even crossed over with Superman.
He’d made a slip of the tongue and talked about himself in the third person—in front of Lois—something his mom had warned him about just a week ago. He was going to have to tell her soon. There was no way he’d be able to have a relationship with her without telling her. She would figure it out. How she hadn’t already was by chance and luck. She’d come so close so many times….
Tonight she’d done something he hadn’t expected—she’d apologized. Really apologized. After hearing her half-baked plan to go after his alter-ego—again—he’d been angry. He’d been ready to tell her to leave and not to bother coming back—a warning he knew he’d never be able to follow through on. It wasn’t until he’d heard the remark about them being ‘just friends’ and how he’d made it clear that that was what he had wanted that his tone had changed.
The hurt in her eyes made him press for an explanation. An explanation that had led to them both confessing what had been suppressed for so long. He had been madly in love with her for almost a year. Finally being able to hold her and kiss her the way he’d wanted to for so long—so much wasted time.
He’d enjoyed every second of the torture she’d put him through tonight. His lips still tingled from where they had been pressed against hers. He’d never kissed anyone like that. So much emotion that had been suppressed for so long bubbled over after hearing her say those three words he’d longed to hear from her for so long.
It would have been so easy to let those emotions take over. They could have very easily ended the night in the bedroom. It was clear where Lois stood on the idea of crossing that threshold. It wouldn’t have taken very much to convince him. He may be Superman, but he was still a man. Holding Lois like that, kissing her—the effect wasn’t lost on him. He still had so much to tell her before they were ready for that step. Hopefully, she would give him a chance to earn her trust back after he told her about his alter-ego.
She’d agreed to ‘several dates’ with him which he would spend earning her trust back and show her the real ‘Clark Kent’ that no one but his parents got a chance to see. Once they put a stop to Ryan Wiley’s terrorist scheme and rescued Molly, he would spend every second delivering on his promise to make her fall ‘head over heels’ in love with him—the real him.
The Jeep came to a stop, and they looked toward the gate they were approaching where three armed guards stood. “Get your IDs ready.” The Admiral instructed.
Clark nodded, pulling his wallet out and finding his ID.
After showing their IDs and a few minute of banter between the guard and Admiral they were let in with instructions to go directly to Special Operations to meet the MPs.
Admiral took a deep breath, “Smells like home. Perry tell you I used to be Command here before I retired?”
“No.” Lois perked up, looking at the Admiral in surprise before sharing a look with him. It was clear from the long gaze she’d given him where her mind had wandered on the drive as well. He gave her a warm smile before turning to the Admiral who was looking at them waiting for someone to continue the conversation with him.
“So, Admiral, you used to be Base Commander?” Clark asked as they drove through the base looking for the Special Operations division.
“For thirteen years,” Admiral said proudly. “Perry and I served in ‘Nam back in ’63 before he settled down at the Planet. If you’d have met him back then—” He grinned. “He was a pistol. Still is to this day.”
“Sounds like you’ve got quite a few stories to tell,” Lois observed with a grin. “Thank you for doing this. I can’t get anyone in Washington to look into this or take me seriously.”
“Well, I always liked Perry’s open mind about the possibilities in the world. I figured if you took the time to make up a story you’d make one up a bit more creative than that being a writer and all.”
“One would think.” Clark grinned back at her.
“Check the red folder in the dash. There’s a copy of that Wiley character’s personnel file.” Admiral continued as he veered off to the left down a long line of brick homes.
“Where is this?” Lois asked.
“Officers’ housing for civilian families,” Admiral explained. “Just around the corner is the Specials Operations where the Hawkeye was originally developed. If what you’re saying is true I’d guess Wiley would be there. It was never finished so he’d need Ms. Flynn to finish it.”
“Yeah, but why try to resurrect an old military weapon?” Clark thought aloud.
Lois read through the file in her hand and shoved the file in Clark’s face, “Clark look! The officer that investigated Ryan Wiley’s alleged death? Colonel Charles Fane.”
“Fane!?! As in the new base commander that’s been ducking our calls.” Clark shook his head in disgust.
“Mighty hard to explain how a man you swore was dead is walking around your base,” Admiral observed.
“I wonder if they're all in this together,” Lois said. “I mean, he takes over Fort Truman after General Marshall dies thanks to that ATAS malfunctioning.”
“Or was it?” Clark asked, “It could have been a setup to allow Colonel Fane to takeover as base commander.”
“Base Command is right up front. If Fane is responsible, he’ll have the MP’s to answer to…”
Lois watched in frustration as the Admiral walked toward the Military Police post. She had a feeling Colonel Fane wasn’t going to be as respectful to the Military Code of Honor as the Admiral thought. “Come one, let’s go.” She pointed to the open door in the building marked ‘Base Command.’
“Lois, you heard him we need to—”
“Unhand me! Do you know who I am??”
“Still think we need to stick around and wait?” Lois asked with a pointed look.
“Come on!” He scanned the area for any sign of MPs, but it seemed to be clear. They ducked down behind the Jeep and walked toward the Base Command unnoticed behind the line of military Jeeps parked out front.
Lois pressed herself against the wall, flattening herself against the back wall between the small closet and opening where anyone could walk in and catch them. She spotted several uniforms hanging up from dry cleaning on the wall behind her. The sound of tapping from the other side of the office could be heard. They needed to get inside but how?
Checking to make sure no one was coming she turned around to check the tag on the uniforms. “What are you doing?” Clark asked.
“We need to blend in. We stick out like sore thumbs.” Lois reasoned, finding a uniform that she knew would fit Clark she pulled the hanger down and handed it to him. It was a Class A uniform not the typical ACUs that many of the soldiers patrolling Metropolis and the base wore, but it would fit.
“I cannot believe I’m doing this…” He muttered, turning to open the door. She let out a sigh of relief, turning to check that the movement had gone unnoticed before sifting through the rack for a uniform that would fit her. In the back of the rack, she found her size. “Well, here goes nothing.” She mumbled to herself.
She turned back to the wall and spotted Clark stepping out of the closet, readjusting his tie. He looked good...really really good in just about anything, but seeing him in that uniform with the material stretched so perfectly over his muscles sent a chill down her spine. It really wasn’t fair that he looked that good all the time.
He pointed to the door, and she nodded with a whisper, “Right.”
“Come on,” Clark motioned for her to follow him down the hallway after the officer that had been working down the hall left. “The coast looks clear,” He said, scanning the office and finding no one else around.
Lois visibly relaxed when they turned the corner and saw the empty cubicles. “Fane must be around somewhere. I have a feeling he was behind the Admiral’s arrest.”
Clark began sifting through the files on the desk next to the fax machine. “Nothing here on Hawkeye.”
“Would there be?” Lois asked, grabbing the paper off the fax machine from the feed tray. Her face changed to a frown as she read it, “Clark, look at this!”
He moved to read over her shoulder, “’To the Joint Chiefs. Fort Truman has just been destroyed. The Hawkeye Satellite is now under our control. Like my book says, ‘Technology is killing us. Literally.’”
“They’re willing to risk the lives of hundreds of civilians and soldiers for what???” Lois fumed angrily.
“And frame Molly.” He pointed out. “Quoting directly from her book.”
“We’ve got to find her,” Lois said, panicked.
“When’s this set to be sent?” he asked.
Lois eyed the fax machine, “The timer’s set for nine a.m.” Her face turned to worry. “That’s fifteen minutes from now.”
“It was a diversion,” Clark said, realizing the events over the last twenty-four hours had been a setup.
“Metropolis. The city being shut down and under siege by soldiers? Don’t you see? They killed General Marshall so they could empty the base and hi-jack the satellite without interference.” Clark explained.
“We’ve got to find Molly. She built the satellite. There’s got to be a way she can stop it.” Lois said, heading for the door.
“Okay, I’ll see if I can find Superman and get him to help find her. Maybe there’s something he can do to stop the satellite from space.” He said, following her.
“Okay,” She took a deep breath, turning back to him.
“Be careful.” He said, following her through the doorway down the hall.
“One more thing?” Lois said, turning to him. She leaned in to kiss him, grabbing him by the knot of his tie and pulling him to her. Before he could respond, she pulled away and headed out the door.
He grinned to himself, watching her leave, “Whoa,”
He scanned the hall he was about to turn on and stopped when he saw Colonel Fane with three officers with him. He quickly spun into his Superman suit and confronted the Colonel on his misdeeds.
“You sure you saw them headed this way?” The Colonel asked as he turned the corner with the fellow officers behind him.
He stopped when he saw Clark standing there in his Superman pose, “Colonel Fane, I believe you have some explaining to do.” He held up the letter from the fax machine with a scowl.