Disclaimer: The familiar characters and settings in this story are not
mine. They belong to DC Comics, Warner Bros., December 3rd Productions and
whoever else may have any legal right to claim them, nor am I profiting by
their use. The story is based on the Lois and Clark script "That Old Gang
of Mine" and all parts taken from that script are hereby credited to the
writers of the show. Any new characters, settings, and any changes in the
story, belong to me.
The situation that occurred in the gambling parlor depended on a number of
factors. If any one of them had not happened, things would have been quite
different. Well, here's my interpretation of the way things would have
turned out if one minor detail had changed just slightly...
On the Turn of a Card
By Nan Smith
"Clark!" Lois Lane grabbed her partner by the arm. "I just found out
Georgie Hairdo is dead."
"Well, Bonnie and Clyde are both here," Clark said. "We've got to call the
police. Come on!"
"You go," Lois said. "I've gotta find a grey-haired lady with a bucket of
A burst of automatic gunfire interrupted her. Lois whirled, to see several
men in classic gangster garb, all holding machine guns, standing
confidently before the mass of shocked gamblers. From behind Clark, a man
and a blond-haired woman pushed forward, and faced the crowd, both
brandishing handguns. Bonnie and Clyde, she guessed.
"My apologies, ladies and gentlemen, for this little interruption." The
speaker was a middle-aged man with a prominent scar on one cheekbone. "I
just dropped by to inform you that Georgie Hairdo has wisely decided to
retire from the hospitality business. So from this day forward, this joint
is owned by Al Capone."
Capone? Lois moved a little closer to Clark, although he was as helpless
as anyone else here with all those guns in the hands of the gangster
clones. Irrelevantly, it crossed her mind to wonder about the scar. You
couldn't clone something like that. Would the gangster have actually
scarred his own cheekbone to make himself look like the original Capone?
"Hey, Al." That was a taller, more slender member of the group.
Dillinger? He sauntered toward Lois. "Maybe we could make this little
cutie our head hostess. I was always partial to a lady in red." He
reached up to brush her cheek with a careless forefinger. Lois drew back.
Clark pushed the hand away. "Leave her alone."
"Who are you?" the gangster snarled, thrusting Clark forcefully back. "Her
Clark started to step forward and then, all hell broke loose. Clyde Barrow
lifted his handgun and fired. Struck in the chest, Clark seemed surprised
and then fell.
Lois grabbed him, breaking his fall. "Clark --" She didn't recognize her
own voice. "No!"
"You moron!" Capone's voice said in the background. "What did you do that
for? Now we gotta get outta here! Joey, pick up the stiff. I can't be
linked to a murder."
One of Capone's crowd tried to push Lois aside to seize Clark by the arm,
but she flung herself across him. "No! You can't take him!"
And, at that moment, the sound of sirens, distant but growing rapidly
closer, became audible.
"Cops!" She heard Capone's voice again. "Forget him. We gotta get outta
here, now! Come on, out the back!"
The gangsters were suddenly gone, and around her, Lois was barely aware of
confused motion as the patrons of the illegal gambling parlor attempted to
make their escape out the side and rear exits.
She didn't move. It was as if the life had been sucked from her when her
partner had been shot. Nothing mattered, anymore. Besides, there might be
the slightest chance that Clark could still be alive. She couldn't see him
breathing, but in spite of the holes in the front of his shirt, she didn't
see any blood. She had to get help! The thought occurred to her suddenly.
If there was the slightest chance that she could still save him --
The sirens drew up outside and abruptly cut off. And that was when it
Clark's eyes popped open. For an instant, they stared at each other.
"Clark?" Lois whispered. "Oh, Clark! Don't move. Help will be here in a
He sat up. "I don't have time to explain," he said, quickly. "Come on."
Incredibly, he was on his feet, tugging her with him. Lois felt as if she
were moving in a fog. Her mind felt numb from too many shocks. From the
front of the club, she heard the thump as someone slammed a shoulder
against the doors. Clark lowered his glasses and glanced quickly around.
"We're surrounded." She barely heard his voice. Then, she felt herself
swept up in a pair of powerful arms and they were rising toward the
ceiling. Below them, the front door splintered and burst open, but Clark
had thrust open the skylight and they were soaring up into the night sky.
Lois closed her eyes and opened them again. She wasn't dreaming. She was
clasped in Clark's arms and they were flying! Slowly, she reached out and
touched his glasses. "Clark?"
He wasn't smiling. His expression was hard to read, but she thought she
could see the faintest of frown lines between his brows.
They were hovering outside a window and with a start, Lois realized that
she was facing the window of her own fifth floor apartment -- from the
outside. Almost automatically, she reached out and pushed the sliding
glass open. Clark steadied her carefully as she slid over the sill and
braced her feet on the rug.
She turned back and saw that he hadn't moved. He still hovered outside the
The fog was at last beginning to lift from her brain and the thought
processes had begun to grind slowly into motion, once more. "What are you
waiting out there for?" she demanded. "Somebody will see you!"
"I wasn't sure you wanted me to come in," he said, his voice sounding very
"Oh, for heaven's sake! Get in here!"
He obeyed. A moment later, they were facing each other inside the
apartment. Lois closed the window and pulled the drapes. She turned back
to face him. He didn't speak, and for a long moment, they simply stood
there. Then, Lois reached forward to grasp his glasses.
He stood statue-still. Slowly, she slid the glasses off, and watched
Superman's face emerge from behind the disguising spectacles. Still, he
"I guess this explains a lot," she said, after several seconds.
"Yeah," he said.
Carefully, she folded the glasses and laid them on a side table, never
removing her eyes from his face. He didn't seem amused, she thought. He
had fooled everyone for the better part of two years, ever since Clark Kent
had come to work at the Daily Planet. He had listened to her make
disparaging comments about him, comparing him unfavorably with Superman.
Why didn't he seem pleased to see her comeuppance?
He looked seriously back at her, meeting her eyes squarely.
"How mad are you?" he asked, finally.
"I --" Her voice wanted to crack. "I don't know."
He nodded. "I guess I understand that."
"Why didn't you tell me?" she burst out. She hadn't known she was going to
ask it until she said it out loud. "Didn't you trust me?"
He shrugged, uncomfortably. "I wanted to tell you," he said, unexpectedly.
"I've been trying to figure out how to do it. I guess I waited too long."
"I guess so." Her knees were beginning to shake and she sank suddenly onto
the nearest chair. Clark stepped quickly forward and then stopped, as if
unsure whether she wanted his help.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
She nodded. "Yeah. Just a little -- stunned, I guess." The enormity of
the situation was beginning to dawn on her and she felt a wave of
embarrassment. "I guess you think I'm pretty stupid, don't you?"
"What?" The question obviously took him by surprise.
"Stupid. For not seeing it after all this time working next to you."
"No," Clark said. "Not stupid. There's an old saying -- you see what you
expect to see. I didn't want you to know, in the beginning. At first,
Superman was just a big news story. Then, just about the time I began to
think that I could trust you, you began to seriously date Lex Luthor. I
didn't believe that you would tell him if I asked you not to, but if he'd
somehow found out about me -- " He broke off. "As it was, he nearly
"At your wedding. He locked me in a cage flooded with Kryptonite
radiation. I barely escaped. That was why I couldn't save him when he --
" He stopped.
"Clark -- " She broke off. What should she say? It was obvious that she
had completely misjudged the situation. Wait a minute... "You mean he had
*Kryptonite*? Back then?"
"He nearly *killed* you?"
Again, he nodded. "I'm sorry, Lois. I know how you felt about Superman.
I'm sorry to have to disillusion you."
"What do you mean, 'disillusion' me?"
"To find out that Superman was just me, Clark Kent. I'm sorry."
That brought her out of her half-shock. "Clark, do you have any idea how I
would be feeling if he *had* killed you? Or if those bullets tonight had --
" She couldn't go on. To her embarrassment, tears had begun to slide down
her cheeks. "Why do you think I wouldn't let you go?"
He had stepped forward and was kneeling beside her chair, thrusting a
handkerchief into her hands. "Don't cry, Lois. I'm sorry."
She snatched the square of cloth and wiped her face, smearing the mascara
she had so carefully applied some hours earlier. "You *should* be! I
thought I'd lost you! I thought I'd lost my partner and my best friend!
If you'd died, and I never told you how much I --"
He froze, and his eyes widened, slightly. She stopped. She couldn't say
it. He'd said he didn't love her, after the wedding. She couldn't
humiliate herself that way.
"Lois --" He rested a hand on her arm. "Told me what?"
She shook her head. "Never mind. I'd just embarrass myself, again."
"Oh." His eyes remained fixed on her face for several seconds,
questioning, then, at last, he smiled. "It was you that saved me that day
in Luthor's basement, you know," he said, changing the subject, abruptly.
"Luthor told me that he thought you were too independent, but that he'd
take care of that, after you were married. That was what gave me the extra
determination to escape from his trap. I couldn't let him do that to you."
He sat down on the arm of the chair. "Am I still your partner and best
"You're Superman! Do you have a best friend?"
"I hope I do." He dropped a hand gently on top of hers. "If she still
wants to be."
"Of course I still want to be!"
"Even after tonight?"
"*Especially* after tonight!" She turned her hand under his palm and her
fingers curled around his. "I don't want to lose you -- ever!"
Gently, he lifted her hand and dropped a light kiss on her knuckles. "Am I
She mopped at her face once more. "I'm working on that."
"How about a bribe?" he asked, smiling hopefully.
She looked at him suspiciously. "What sort of a bribe?"
"Swiss chocolate straight from the source?" He raised his eyebrows. "And
after that, you and I need to get back to work finding Capone and his
friends. They're still a menace to the city."
"That's for sure," Lois said. Was it her imagination or was there
something different about his attitude ever since she had almost confessed
-- a look in his eyes that she had never seen before. "I guess I can
forgive you this time. But don't let it happen again."
"Lois, I haven't got any other secrets to hide from you." He paused, and
an odd, almost embarrassed look crossed his face. "At least no important
Just as she opened her mouth to ask him what other secrets he might be
harboring, the phone began to ring.
Lois answered it, mildly irritated that someone had chosen to call her in
the middle of the most important conversation she had ever had. If it
turned out to be a telemarketer, the guy was going to be toast. "Lois
"Lois, honey!" It was Perry, sounding agitated. "Do you know where Clark
"Huh? Sure, Perry. He's right here. Why?"
Her editor blew out a noisy breath. "Thank Elvis!"
"What's the matter?"
"Henderson called me," Perry said. "There was a shooting inside an illegal
gambling parlor this evening: Georgie Hairdo's, he called it. Capone and
his gangsters again. Some of the witnesses said that you and Clark were
there and that he was the one that got shot."
"No, it wasn't him," Lois said. "We were at the club, all right, but we
left before Capone arrived, I guess. Did the police catch any of the
"No," Perry said. "They caught a few of the patrons, though. They picked
up the mayor and his wife trying to slip out a side door, so there's a
potential scandal there, but the gang got clean away. Are you sure you and
Clark are okay?"
"Positive. We were looking for Georgie Hairdo, but Capone apparently
killed him, too."
"Yeah, I know. They hauled him out of the river a couple of hours ago.
You two watch your step, got it?"
"We will," Lois said. "Good night, Perry."
She hung up and turned to her partner. He was frowning slightly. "Someone
"Someone *thought* they recognized us. I've already told Perry that we
left before the shooting. I doubt anyone will be that sure of what really
"Probably not," he agreed. "It's amazing what people don't notice in
"I guess you'd know, wouldn't you," she said, recollecting his alter ego.
He nodded. "In an emergency situation, five witnesses will remember five
different ways it happened. I think we're safe." He stood up. "I'm
headed for Switzerland to get you your bribe." A smile creased his face.
"And when I get back, I guess we need to brainstorm a bit about Capone and
"While you're gone, I'm going to see what I can find out about this
Professor Emil Hamilton, the guy Jimmy said took the samples of the
original gangsters' DNA," Lois said. "I'd say he's suspect number one for
where they came from."
"I'd say you're probably right," Clark said. "Does he work for a lab here
in Metropolis? He must have an address, somewhere."
"I'd think so," Lois said. She reached for the phone. "I hope Jimmy isn't
out on a date."
"So do I. Be right back." He stepped back from her and all at once became
a spinning blur. Lois's jaw fell open and she stared, the receiver held in
mid air, as the blur resolved itself into Superman. Then he was gone in a
gust of air.
For a long moment, she stared after him, stunned, and finally managed to
shake herself out of her abstraction. "Wow," she said, softly.
She was just hanging up the phone when Clark returned. He landed on her
rug and held out a wrapped package, looking so smug that she laughed. "You
look just like a little kid who managed to make off with the cookie jar!"
He grinned and sank down on the sofa, sweeping his cape backwards as he did
so. "I don't want to sit on it," he said, in response to her questioning
look. "I'd choke myself."
"Oh," she said.
"And my other shirt will never be the same," he added. "What did Jimmy
"He's going to find out where Hamilton lives and where he works," she said.
"He said he'll call me back."
He nodded. "I guess we wait. Do you mind?"
"No." She couldn't help staring at the costume. "You know, I'd have sworn
that you, Superman, was bigger than you, Clark," she said. "I guess it
shows you what a flashy image will do."
"I guess. I'm careful to hold myself up straight as Superman. I guess it
makes me look taller."
"I suppose so." She found herself looking at him critically, trying to see
one man in the other. Where did Clark Kent end and Superman begin?
The phone rang.
The sound made her jump almost out of her skin. It rang again, and she
belatedly reached out to answer it. "Lois Lane."
"Lois, I found Hamilton's address." It was Jimmy's voice. "He has a
private lab over on Yarley Street."
"Give me the number," she said.
Jimmy did so. She thanked him and hung up.
Clark had risen to his feet. "I'm going to check out the lab," he began.
Lois grabbed his arm. "Not without me!" she informed him. "This is my
scoop, too, and besides, I have a personal stake in it!"
"Lois -- "
"Forget it, Clark! Those retread gangsters tried to kill my partner, and
no thanks to them that they didn't!"
He closed his mouth. Good, she thought. Even Superman knew when to shut
Two hours later, Lois and Clark walked out of William Henderson's office,
stopping to watch as the last of the clones was hustled through the door
that led to the holding cells. John Dillinger was practically incoherent,
but his raving and cursing availed him nothing as he was hauled away by two
"One more job done, partner," she said. She glanced at the subdued form of
the scientist, Emil Hamilton, sitting dejectedly next to the desk of a
young police officer, answering questions put to him by the man. Superman
had found him locked in his lab, being forced by Capone to grow more clones
of the members of his former gang. "Come on. We need to phone this in to
the Planet before anyone else gets the story."
Clark followed her out, and a few moments later, Superman was setting her
on the carpet of her apartment just inside the window. Lois headed
straight for the phone and called the office. Moments later, she hung up
with a triumphant gesture. "There! Another headline for Lane and Kent!"
Clark was sitting in one of her armchairs, watching her. He smiled,
slightly. "Nice work."
She frowned. "Is something wrong, Clark? You caught the whole batch
before they could do any more harm."
"Not really." His smile disappeared. "It was really the work of Lois Lane
and Clark Kent, not Superman. If you and I hadn't figured out where to
look, Superman couldn't have done anything."
She stared at him in astonishment. "Do you always talk about yourself in
the third person?"
He looked down at his hands. "It's just a costume, you know. I'm the same
guy I was this morning. Just Clark Kent."
"Clark, you're Superman!"
He shook his head. "Superman is what I can do; nothing more. Clark is who
I am, Lois -- who I've always been. I've been trying to figure out for
months how to explain it to you, but it just kept getting so complicated --
" He stopped. "Remember what I told you, after I found out that Luthor
had asked you to -- "
"I remember." She hoped he wouldn't notice that she was blushing in
remembered embarrassment. She'd insulted him unforgivably that day, she
knew now. He'd told her that he loved her, and she'd rejected him -- and
then she'd asked him to contact Superman for her. No wonder Superman had
been so cool to her that night, especially after she'd told him she would
love him if he had been an ordinary man. She had just told that ordinary
man that he wasn't good enough. She wasn't sure she would ever live that
down, at least in the privacy of her own thoughts. "You were trying to
stop me from marrying Lex."
"Yes, I was. But, Lois -- " He hadn't lifted his eyes from his hands. "I
didn't lie to you about Superman. I just told you certain facts to keep
you from finding out other facts. I've only actually lied to you once --
and then, I had my fingers crossed. And, it wasn't that day."
"But, I thought ... " Her mind was whirling. Was Clark saying what she
thought he was saying?
"You didn't need the pressure, then. You needed a friend." Finally, he
looked up at her. "I didn't want to destroy our friendship, so I took it
"And you crossed your fingers?"
He gave a sheepish shrug. "Yeah."
"Do you know what I was going to say, that day?"
"I was going to say that I'd been thinking about what you said. I stopped
my wedding because of it, because I realized I wasn't in love with Lex.
All the way down the aisle, I was thinking about you."
"No, about *you*."
"Oh." He dropped his gaze to his hands again and then looked back at her.
"Do you still feel that way?"
She sat down on the arm of the chair. "At the time, I wasn't sure, Clark.
I was only sure that I didn't love Lex and that if I married him, I'd lose
my best friend who loved me and whom I might love. I was going to suggest
that we date and find out how we did, together."
"Now, I know I don't want to do without you. Dillinger showed me that,
tonight. I know I never want to lose you, but I don't want to jump into
anything that fast. I thought I was in love with Superman --" She found
that she was staring at her hands, as well. "You were right, though. I
didn't know you at all. Obviously. But there was a reason I thought I
loved Superman. He was my best friend."
"Are you saying -- "
"I'm saying, I want the chance to find out. If you hadn't been Superman, I
would have lost you, tonight. Nothing would ever have been the same,
Clark, and I'd have missed you for the rest of my life. Does that make
Her eyes were fixed on her hands, just as his had been, earlier. Suddenly
his hand was within her range of vision, and he laid it atop hers.
"I've never heard anything make more sense in my life, Lois."
"No." With his free hand, he raised her chin until she was looking
directly at him. "I think it's one of the best ideas you've ever had.
Would you like to go out to dinner with me tomorrow evening, Ms. Lane?"
She felt the corners of her mouth curling in a smile. "Yes, Mr. Kent. I
She could have sworn his grin lit up the room.
"Great. Now tell me, which would you prefer -- New Orleans or Venice?"