The Strange Medium Guy with a Bad Haircut

aka Pearson "Doc" Mui


A Superman/Doctor Who Crossover

The Best Traps

[Author's note: This takes place sometime after "Inner Strength" in the JLU universe. I do not own any of the characters in this story.]

Far away, but never gone nor forgotten, an alien presence lingered over its new find. It was a fascinating creature, really. There were legends of beings like these, ones who were almost as old as the universe.

The creature had attempted to kill its new owner. That had been a mistake. Instead, that transgression had only earned a most rigorous testing of its capabilities. Shrieks had filled the room, all for the purpose of finding the creature's limits. There was no malice involved; this was motivated out of scientific curiosity.

Grey stone fragments littered the area of what might have been a holding cell. If anyone living were present, they might see a bit of a finger or a piece of what looked like cloth. The most disturbing sight would have been a decapitated head, its face contorted in pain and rage. The being's limits had been decisively reached and data was stored for future reference. With a WHOOSH, the shattered stone remnants were flushed into space.

There were other legends that bore investigation. Once, the presence had managed to download a great amount of information. Sorting out the relevant information, however, required a good amount of time. However, if the plan went well, then time would no longer be an impediment.

A screen flickered on, and a man's voice echoed through the chamber:

"…from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey…stuff."

The plan was set. All that remained was for the trap to be sprung.

"Are you sure you don't need help with that?" Clark asked. "An extra pair of eyes doesn't hurt."

Lois shook her head and smiled. "It's just this weird story about statues in a museum." She lowered her voice and whispered in his ear. "Besides, I know who to call if something pops up."

Clark resisted the urge to smirk. Some people thought that a steady romance was boring and predictable. On the contrary, he and Lois constantly surprised each other while meshing well. The fact that The Secret was now a non-issue had smoothed things out considerably.

"So, what's on the menu for tonight?" she asked.

"I was thinking beef bourguignon—"

"—with ketchup, right?" she finished. "Typical Smallville touch on a classic dish."

"Well, it's Ma's recipe," he replied sheepishly.

"I didn't say that I didn't like it," she said, tilting her head slightly. "This shouldn't take too long. Besides, who am I going to bump into at the museum?"

The alleys near the Daily Planet were usually unoccupied. Any potential panhandlers knew that they had a better chance on the main streets. Potential muggers had declined considerably in the last few years. Crime around the Planet—or, at least, a block around the newspaper—was an oddity. Superman did his best to make sure that things were quiet.

That quiet was disturbed by a grinding, wheezing noise. A blue box faded into view, the lamp at the top pulsing in time with the noise. The noise stopped and a door opened with a creak. The former occupant dashed out, turned around and pointed a finger to the box.

"Just stay there and don't touch anything!" he said. Then, he closed the door and was off. With the exception of the occasional rat, nobody had observed the oddity.

Lois was hardly unobservant. Noticing little details had saved her life on more than one occasion. Still, as she waited for a cab, she couldn't help but notice a man who was pointedly covering his face with a copy of the Planet. What she saw was an almost lanky figure in a mostly brown suit and white sneakers. She wondered if the man couldn't have been more obvious.

Well, there was nothing quite like the direct approach. She sidled up next to him and nudged him.

"So," she began conversationally, "how much is Lex paying you to spy on me?"

"Sorry, what?" came the response in a British accent. "I'm not spying on you," he protested, the newspaper covering his features. "I'm just taking care of some loose ends."

"You do know that I could scream, and you-know-who would come flying in," she said with a hint of a threat in her voice. "I just thought you should know that, seeing as you're from out of town."

The man sighed from behind his newspaper. "Miss Lane, I'm not here to threaten you. On the contrary, I'm here to remind you of two things."

"And what would they be?"

"First of all, keep that silver dollar in your pocket. You know the one I mean: 1921 Peace dollar, rare double-die, your father's lucky charm passed on from his father? It's a bit ironic," the man commented, "a career soldier like your father carrying around a Peace dollar."

Lois blinked. "How do you know all this?"

"You told me. Well, you will tell me. It's all a matter of perspective, really. Anyway, it really would be best if you kept that in your pocket instead of your purse."

"And why's that?"

"You'll need it."

She tried not to sigh. The man was obviously trying to be informative and mysterious at the same time.

"What's the other thing you wanted to remind me about?"

The newspaper rustled as he turned a page. "Remember what's for dinner tonight," he replied, somehow adding a bit of gravitas in his voice. "It's in the Smallville style, I believe."

Lois frowned. She didn't like knowing half the story. "Why's that important?" she asked.

Her unknown helper merely tapped his index finger on the newspaper. To be more specific, he seemed to be indicating the date on said paper.

She leaned in closer, noting the front page. It had articles about soup kitchens, bread lines and what FDR was going to do next about the economy. The date on the paper was June 1, 1938, the late edition.

"You're kidding me, right?" Lois asked with more than a bit of disbelief. "Where'd you dig that up? Or did you just find it on an archive and print it up?"

"Would a laser printed copy leave the newsprint on your fingers?" the mysterious man asked. He showed his index finger, blackened from the ink. "Also, there's a lot more acid content in this paper. They weren't into recycling back then—well, not before the paper drives," he corrected himself. "Anyway, this is real and it's important that you remember what we talked about."

"Who are you?" Lois was getting annoyed.

The top half of the paper folded down to reveal spiky dark brown hair and the oldest brown eyes she'd ever seen. Instinctively, she took a step back.

"I'm the Doctor," he said seriously. "We'll see each other again."

With that, he folded up the paper and sprinted down a nearby alley. The man wasn't superhumanly fast, but her heels wouldn't let her catch up.

Lois heard a faint buzzing sound. It stopped, followed by a grinding, wheezing sound. For a moment, she caught sight of some kind of blue box, the lamp on top pulsing as it faded away. Then it was gone with only a gentle breeze to mark its departure.

"Okay, that wasn't cryptic at all," she remarked to herself. With a sigh, she headed to the street to flag a cab. She kind of wished that she'd recorded the whole thing on video.

Clark blinked as his desktop called up a Youtube video. A lanky, brown-haired man with glasses apparently looked at him through the grainy picture.

"Yup, that's me," the image confirmed to someone. "Yup. And that."

"I didn't know you watched viral videos, Mr. Kent," Jimmy said from behind.

"It just popped up," Clark replied. "I didn't call it up."

Jimmy watched the man talk to someone who wasn't there. Then he widened his eyes in recognition.

"Hey, I've seen this guy before! Some guy in the UK said that he figured out why this guy was saying what he was. The next day, he says to never mind, and that he got it wrong. It's a hidden Easter Egg on some videos."

"Who is he?" Clark asked.

"I'm a time traveler," the video seemed to reply. "Or, I was. I'm stuck in 1969."

"We're stuck," an attractive black woman interjected. "All of space and time he promised me! Now I've got a job in a shop. I've gotta support him!"

"Martha," the man protested.

"Sorry," Martha said contritely.

Clark frowned. "It's like he's trying to talk to someone. Did he set this all up?"

"Quite possibly," the man in brown replied.

Jimmy went pale as he felt a very distinct set of stomping footsteps vibrate through the floor. Perry White was not happy.

"What's with the computers?!" Perry roared as he opened up his office door. "One minute I'm proofreading, the next, a video of some guy in glasses comes up! Is someone playing some kind of practical joke here?!"

"No idea, Chief," Jimmy squeaked. "Maybe we should call someone about this?"

"I swear, if we've been hacked…" Perry didn't finish his sentence as he went back to his office.

"Great," Jimmy grumbled underneath his breath. "I think that I'm going to sit and look up some photos on the archives."

"That's probably a good idea," Clark agreed. He was going to stay away from Perry for a while as well. The editor-in-chief was in no mood to receive visitors.

The Metropolis Art Museum was normally home to hundreds of visitors, even on the weekdays. However, the doors were locked and a sign proclaimed that the museum was closed for renovation.

The curator, Daniel Geoffries, looked nervously around as Lois arrived. He mopped the sweat from his bald pate as he tried to calm down. The sign was a precaution against anyone else entering. Ordinarily, he would have kept something like this to himself, but Lois had ways of ferreting out the truth. He'd instructed Security to let her in, just to save some time.

"Glad you could come, Miss Lane," he greeted her outside his office. "I only wish that circumstances were better."

"So, the museum's not really closed for renovation?" she asked.

Daniel shook his head. "That was just the most convenient excuse to keep people away. I just didn't want to cause a panic."

"You're worried about a few extra statues?" Lois eyed him dubiously. "I'm surprised that you're not using this as a publicity stunt."

"There's just something unnerving about these statues," he admitted. "A few of the security guards have said that these angel statues have moved."

"While they weren't looking, of course," Lois added. She tried to keep the sarcasm out of her voice.

"That's they said. These statues are too heavy for one person to move, Miss Lane. And the most disturbing part is that sometimes, the statues seem to be hunting people."

"Hunting people?" she repeated. "What makes you say that?"

"You've never seen them with their faces uncovered, Miss Lane," he said with a shudder. "These angels aren't saintly messengers."

"So, why am I here, Mr. Geoffries? Why not call the police?"

"Who would believe me?" he asked, shrugging his shoulders. "You just said yourself that this might be a publicity stunt. I know that you…know people. Maybe an article can get the attention of the right people."

Lois nodded. "All right, I'll have a look."

"They're in the main gallery—or, at least, they should be there," he said nervously. "I don't think I could look them in the eye."

"That is, if they haven't moved," Lois said dubiously. "I can handle this by myself, Mr. Geoffries." She smiled. "Besides, it's not like they're going anywhere fast."

In the dark corners of the museum, they waited. The source that they'd found was so convenient. Only a few of their number could congregate and feed at a time, but it was sufficient—for a while, at least.

It never lasted. That was the odd part. Though they fed deeply from the new source, they always felt hungrier after a while. Now, the source barely kept them sated. It would be time to move on to a more traditional source.

They didn't question why the source had appeared. They didn't ask who provided them with such double-edged bounty. All they knew was it would be time to feed. With the museum nearly empty, it was merely a matter of waiting and watching for the right moment—and person.

Clark frowned as he watched the rest of the video—quietly, of course. Everyone else had gotten rid of the unexpected intrusion, but something told him that this was important.

"But listen, your life could depend on this," the man on the video stated. He looked grim. "Don't blink. Don't even blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast, faster than you can believe. Don't turn your back, don't look away and don't blink. Good luck."

The video froze on the man's expression. He was deadly serious about what he was talking about. Still, Clark had no idea why this particular video had popped up now.

Hadn't Lois said something about statues, he wondered. It couldn't be…

He tried to be nonchalant as he knocked on Perry's door. "Perry, can I have a moment?"

There was a moment's hesitation. "Come on in, Kent," Perry replied gruffly. "It's getting close to crunch time, so it'll have to be short."

"Chief, exactly what kind of statues was Lois looking into?"

"Something about angel statues," Perry replied. "Why? Is that important?"

"Maybe, Chief," Clark said evasively. He had a feeling that something involving the angel statues was going to happen. "Sorry to bother you."

"Don't worry too much about Lois, Kent," Perry said, turning his attention back to the computer. "It's an easy story. I don't think she's out of her league or anything."

In the back of her mind, Lois got the distinct feeling that she was out of her league. Oh, she'd seen the angel statues—and to be honest, they weren't much. If Perry hadn't assigned her to the story, she wouldn't have given them a second look—at least while their eyes were covered. She hadn't seen their faces yet.

She made her way to one of the larger halls in the museum. Priceless paintings adorned the walls of the open area, perfect for people to mill about at their convenience.

There weren't supposed to be any statues here. She was also pretty certain that the triangular device on the ground wasn't standard museum issue. It was made of some purplish, metallic material and in the center was a light that softly pulsed. It was probably about the size of a manhole and the statues were gathered around it, their eyes covered.

She started as her cell phone rang. A quick check of the caller ID made her sigh in relief.

"Hey, Smallville," she greeted him, trying to sound nonchalant.

"Lois, are you all right?" Clark asked.

"I'm not sure," she admitted. "I think that there's something weird going on here," she replied with just a hint of nervousness. "There's this machine in the middle of the museum making odd noises. I'm pretty sure it's not from one of the exhibits." She looked over her shoulder. The angel statues were definitely closer. "This is going to sound crazy, but I think I'm being followed by a bunch of statues."

"Lois, whatever you do, don't blink!" he exclaimed into the phone. "Those things aren't statues. They're—"

Anything Lois might have said was lost as she faced an angel statue—and blinked. The next sound that Clark heard was the phone clattering to the floor.

Lois looked at the lines that stretched around the block. The men in the lines were hungry and lean from too many days of going without. A few of them glanced her way, amazed at her sudden appearance.

She didn't panic. She didn't scream. She didn't go up to the men and demand anything. Instead, she sighed and walked away from the lines.

"You have got to be kidding me," she grumbled to herself. Then she heard the strains of old radio shows—ones that her grandfather might have heard. Judging by the sights, smells and sounds, she was definitely out of place.

A wolf whistle pierced the air from the line. Lois sighed. Her outfit might have been perfectly safe for modern times, but here it was a flashing sign.

"Hey there, Legs!" a man from the line called out. "Got some hot chili for me?"

Lois frowned as she remembered the implications of a "chili mama." They weren't good ones. She ignored him and pressed on. She was fortunate that he wanted to stay in line more than pursue his initial line of questioning.

Truthfully, she was a lot better off than other victims of the Weeping Angels. She'd only felt the vaguest sensation of nausea, and there wasn't any impending doom in her path. She just needed some time to get her bearings and orient herself.

In a swirling vortex, a blue box tumbled in a disorienting manner. It whirled and occasionally careened against the sides of the maelstrom. Its simple appearance belied the wonders within.

The Doctor perked up as the TARDIS sensors detected an energy flux. It was definitely temporal energy, but of a kind that he'd never encountered before.

"What are you, eh? Eh?" he muttered to himself. "Couldn't hurt to have a look. Always wanted to see the Big Apricot…" He trailed off as he remembered that there was nobody else in the control room.

Rose was gone. Martha was gone. Donna was effectively dead at his hands. Jack Harkness, Sarah Jane—even Mickey and Jackie had left the TARDIS. He was alone.

It had been a while since his last encounter with Davros. Sometimes when he slept, he could almost feel the flames surrounding the Dalek creator. They almost burned as much as the words Davros had used to denounce him:

"I name you…the Destroyer of Worlds!"

The Doctor shook his head. This would be a quick stopover. Yes, it would be a quick look around and then he could get on with his…running.

That was really all he had now. There were so many things he wanted to do, but he knew that time was short. Somehow, he knew that the face he currently saw in the mirror wouldn't last. When he allowed himself a moment, he had the dark suspicion that he would "die" alone—and at barely 10 years with this life, yet!

He sighed. This was no time to get morbid. Truthfully, he didn't have time for all the obstacles that the universe kept throwing in his path, but he dealt with them anyway. Someone had to.

Superman scanned the museum frantically. It took everything he had to not go supersonic within the city limits.

There was no sign of Lois. Her bag and cell phone were on the floor, but he couldn't figure out where she'd gone. There weren't any signs of struggle. She'd simply been caught off guard and whisked somewhere—though he didn't detect any hints of teleportation.

He found himself wishing that Batman was there. Granted, he wasn't sure what Bruce might have been able to do, but it would have been reassuring. He always saw what others had missed.

What was hard to miss right now, however, was a strange sound echoing through the area. It was a sort of wheezing, grinding noise that didn't require super hearing to detect. It sounded like something was struggling to get somewhere, though he couldn't imagine what that "something" was. He'd heard it before, just as the video had started playing.

Much to his surprise, the TARDIS materialized in front of him. Superman didn't quite believe it, but—wait, hadn't the video said something about a "blue box" being a time machine?

The noise stopped and a door opened with a squeak. The Doctor scrutinized Superman for a second and grinned. He was so excited that he didn't even close the door.

"Hello, I'm the Doctor," the man jauntily greeted Superman. "No need to ask who you are, what with the cape, the blue suit and the crest of the House of El on your chest."

"I've seen you before," Superman said calmly. "I was watching your video at the office."

"Video?" This caught the Doctor's attention. "You mean the one about the Angels? That video?"

"That's the one," Superman confirmed.

"Brilliant!" the Doctor exclaimed. "Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and I made a video! I just needed that video to reach a young lady named Sally."

"What are you doing here?" Superman was trying to be patient. The Doctor seemed to be goofy and mercurial now, but there were undoubtedly other sides to the man.

"I was just on my way to Barcelona when I found an odd temporal energy signature here. Never seen anything quite like it. You?"

"I'm looking for a missing friend."

The Doctor paused, his expression turning grim. "Who is it?"

"Lois Lane. Do you have any idea where she might be?"

"Well, let me take a scan around—and don't worry, it's just a screwdriver," he reassured Superman as he took out said tool. "I'm just going to scan the area and see what turns up."

"Why don't you take a look at this?" Superman indicated the strange glowing device at his feet. Lois's cell phone was next to it, still powered on. Next to it was her purse.

The Doctor put on a pair of glasses. Superman noticed that they weren't any stronger than reading glasses, so they were probably a thinking aid. He watched as the Doctor waved his screwdriver over the device and looked at it intently. While he did so, Superman heard odd, heavy sounds in the far corners of the museum. They almost sounded like…footsteps?


"Oh, this is quite a piece of work," the Doctor breathed as he took off his glasses. "Temporal energy generator designed to throw out just enough to get my attention. Not sure what it's powered by, though. It's got pieces of technology that I don't quite recognize, but I do see hints of…is that Coluan tech? And there's even some Kryptonian—"

"Kryptonian?" Superman repeated. There weren't many examples of that technology around other than what was in the Fortress.

"Yup, it's definitely Kryptonian," the Doctor confirmed. "I can't imagine why this would be throwing out temporal energy, though. Krypton never developed any significant time travel technology." He continued scanning and frowned. "There seems to be some sort of locked compartment in here."

Superman folded his arms and tried to remain calm. Lois was gone and he had no idea where she might have been. He'd scanned a 50 mile radius with his x-ray vision to no avail.

Superman suddenly felt uneasy. It was too quiet in the museum. Granted, there wasn't much that could hurt him, but the Doctor was another matter. It also felt like a setup. If the Weeping Angels were really in the museum, and if this device was responsible, then—well, he could take a hit better than anyone.

He stepped closer to the device, just in case it turned out to be a bomb. If it was, he could smother it with his body.

"Doctor, WAIT!" he exclaimed.

The locked compartment sprung open and the both their faces were sprayed with a pungent-smelling liquid. For Superman, there was something else—the familiar clawing agony of Kryptonite. They both collapsed to the ground and screamed. Immediately after that, the device screeched, only to fall silent.

Despite the pain, Superman wiped the substance out of his eyes. It only ended up smearing his face, a sickly green streak. It was all he could do to let his eyes water and hopefully flush things out.

Heavy footsteps got Superman's attention. A quick glance showed that the angel statues that Lois had been investigating had appeared. If his vision was clear, he would have seen about two dozen of them, all covering their eyes. Right now, though, all he saw were a variety of blurs.

"Blimey!" the Doctor grunted as he held his screwdriver unsteadily. "It's some kind of eye irritant—like pepper spray and tear gas mixed together."

"And Kryptonite," Superman added. "We're not alone."

"Of course we aren't," the Doctor said, trying to be flippant. "This was a trap." With an effort, he raised the screwdriver high and triggered the sprinkler system. "This should help flush the stuff out, but it'll take time. Should have kept my glasses on," he grunted. "How much Kryptonite did you get dosed with?"

Superman turned his face upwards to let the sprinklers do their work. It seemed to be working better for him than the Doctor. "I don't think that it's a lethal dose, but I'm grounded. If I were stronger I could fly us out of here—"

"And leave the TARDIS unguarded?" the Doctor asked. "Do you know how bad that would be? Besides," he admitted sheepishly, "I was so excited to see you that I'd forgotten to lock her up. My fault, really."

"Well, that noise we just heard was like a dinner bell to them," Superman said. He hunched forward slightly, weighing his options. He regretted it as a wave of nausea hit him. He didn't want to quite roll into a ball, but it was close.

"Yeah, I just figured it out. The energy they've been feeding on is like candy to them. It's satisfying for a while, but leaves them hungrier afterwards."

"So how do we deal with them? And why didn't the alarm trigger when you used your…screwdriver, was it?"

The Doctor winced. "Honestly, do you want anybody else tangled in this? As far as the security desk is concerned, nothing's happening here. We're on our own."

"Great," Superman didn't quite grouse. "We're not exactly at our best right now." He resisted the urge to blink, despite the irritant and the sprinklers. It wasn't easy.

"'Course not," the Doctor grunted. "This was tailor-made for you first, then me. Kryptonite radiation just leaves a bad taste in my mouth."

A heavy series of shuffling footsteps interrupted his observation. The both of them could see the blurry images of the Angels in the downpour.

"We don't have much time," Superman observed. "My eyes are almost flushed out, but the Kryptonite isn't going anywhere for a while."

"Maybe I can do something about that," the Doctor said. He didn't quite lurch to Superman's voice. "I'm going to try to siphon the radiation out of your body and transfer it to me."

"How will that help?" Superman asked. "With Kryptonite, the further it is from me, the better."

"That's why I'm going to transfer it into—oh, blimey, I like these glasses," the Doctor sighed. "Anyway, ready to take a chance?"

Superman weighed his options. There weren't many.

KLUMP! Almost as one, the Angels behind them took a heavy step towards the incapacitated duo.

"Why aren't they on us right now?" Superman asked.

"They like playing with their food," the Doctor replied grimly. "Besides, there are only two of us and a lot more of them. The way things are, only two can feed. They're probably figuring out who gets what."

"And then?" Superman asked, trying not to double over in pain.

"Then Metropolis gets an Angel infestation," the Doctor replied. "They won't do it quickly—no sense scaring the prey," he finished.

"Not on my—ugh…" Superman wobbled as he heard another heavy footstep. "This actually hurts worse than usual," he remarked.

"It's probably a synthetic derivative," the Doctor supposed. "High-output, short half-life…it doesn't have to kill you, but it does have to make you helpless."

"It's doing a good job of that," Superman observed as another set of heavy footsteps filled the air. "Whatever you're going to do, make it fast," he grunted. "The Angels are getting impatient."

The Doctor drew himself up and placed a hand on either side of Superman's head. They both tried not to listen to the slow, steady footfalls came closer. The glowing green stain faded as the Time Lord winced. Sagging slightly, he reached for his glasses. In moments, the horn-rimmed frames acquired a sickly green glow. With a final grunt, the Doctor tossed the radioactive glasses away, hopefully beyond the Angels' immediate reach.

"Better?" the Doctor asked.

Superman shook his head as a portion of his strength returned to him. He'd never had Kryptonite just leeched out of him before. Now that the offending radiation had been removed, the eye irritant stopped being a factor. "Much better, thanks. I won't be at full strength until I get some sun, but…we have a chance against the Angels now. So, how fast are they?"

"They're faster than they look. Exactly how fast, I'm not sure. Nobody's ever timed them and lived to tell the story," the Doctor replied dryly.

Superman frowned. "They're not faster than sound. That's for sure."

"How do you know?"

"I didn't hear any mini-sonic booms."

"Well, whatever you do…"

"`Don't blink,'" Superman quoted. "I've got it."

"Well, you'll have to be the lookout," the Doctor joked grimly. "We shouldn't be too bad off if we can slowly back into—oh, it just gets better, doesn't it?" he asked nobody in particular as the lights started flickering.

"What's going on?"

"They're interfering with the power to the lights," the Doctor replied. "As long as they aren't seen, they can move."

Superman smiled faintly. "That's not a problem. Now that the Kryptonite's gone, I don't need visible light to see."

The Doctor blinked furiously. The sprinklers were helping clear his eyes, but he wouldn't be able to help out anytime soon. While he was generally happy with his limits, right now he wished that he was as invulnerable as Superman.

"So, how many are there?" he asked conversationally.

"About a dozen in front of us," Superman replied. Though the Doctor couldn't see it clearly, Superman was glancing around at super speed to keep the Angels at bay. "And there are another dozen in back of us who are trying to be sneaky. They're all about twenty feet or so away."

"Must be driving them mad, wondering why they're not moving in the dark," the Doctor observed. "Maybe this will help a little bit." The sonic buzzed as a single blue point flared to life in the intermittent darkness.

"Too bad we can't use it to get ourselves out of this," Superman remarked. "You can't use it to shake them up or anything, can you?"

"It's a screwdriver, not a weapon," the Doctor reminded him. "It doesn't get me out of every fix, but I still use it pretty frequently."

Superman clenched his jaw slightly. Then, oddly enough, he smiled in the flickering light.

"Doctor, what's the frequency of electricity in the US?" he asked conversationally.

"I think it's about 60 Hertz. Why?"

"I think I've figured out how fast the Weeping Angels are. More importantly, I think I know how to get us out of this without collateral damage."

"How do you plan on doing that? It just takes one blink and they'll be swarming upon us."

"A normal person's blink is about tenth of a second. I'm faster," Superman reminded the Doctor. "What most people think of as continuous lighting is actually high-speed flickering."

Despite being soaked and half-blind, the Doctor found himself grinning. "That means that the Angels can't move faster than that interval. Oh, that is brilliant! And you're going to throw something else into the mix, aren't you? "

"It's not going to be easy," Superman admitted. "I just need you turn off the sprinklers on my signal. The Angels are just as soaked as we are."

"Is there anything else?" the Doctor asked, preparing his screwdriver.

Superman took a deep breath and readied himself. There was the faintest bit of a breeze as he floated above the ground.

"Let's just hope that I'm right," Superman said. "Close your eyes, and…NOW!"

The next thirty seconds were chaotic. Bursts of heat vision sizzled through the air, precisely timed to 1/60th of a second. Superman spun in place just above the TARDIS so that he would have the best angle. It was also the best chance of avoiding damage to the priceless works of art that surrounded them.

The air was filled with shrieks as the Weeping Angels were hit the moment they turned to flesh. Pulses of heat beams blanketed the area, striking the Angels in the arms and legs. Then the Doctor found himself shivering as the temperature dropped.

"It's all right, Doctor," Superman said calmly. "They're not going anywhere."

The lights came back on and the Doctor's vision cleared. He grinned at the sight of the Weeping Angels imprisoned in ice. All of them were on their hands and knees, snarling in pain. Amazingly, there wasn't even a scorch mark anywhere else.

"Are you sure that's going to hold them?" the Doctor asked.

"If they try to move, they'll break something," Superman replied. "Whatever they're made of, they can't take intense heat and cold in quick succession." He blinked for a moment. "I'm just glad that I didn't miss any of them. We're surrounded by some valuable exhibits."

"And THAT'S why they call you Superman," the Doctor said with a grin. "Brilliant!"

"Hold still," Superman said quietly. "I'm going to dry you off."

The Doctor found himself basking in low-level heat vision. In a few moments, he was completely dry. Even his hair had returned to its spiky position. Superman looked quizzically at the sight.

"How does your hair do that?" he asked.

"I could ask the same thing about the curl," the Doctor replied. "We've got more important things to worry about, though." He knelt down and picked up the strange device, as well as Lois's belongings.

"Do you know where she is?" Superman tried to keep calm, but there was an edge of anxiety in his voice. "Is there any way of telling where she might be?"

The Doctor stopped before he opened the TARDIS door. His face seemed somehow more lined as he shook his head.

"I'm sorry," the Doctor said gravely. "I am so very sorry. The Angels transport their victims when and where they will. Unless she somehow gives us a clue, there's no way to find her."

Lois was getting very tired of the appreciative looks she was getting on the street. While she was no stranger to unwanted attention, she certainly didn't expect to garner wolf whistles and catcalls from men waiting for the soup kitchen.

Then again, in 1938, her knee-length skirt was not worn by the typical woman. She was dressed provocatively for the times.

"Great," she muttered to herself. "Now what do I do?"

She winced as the paperboys screamed from the nearby corner. She'd seen them in old movies, but never realized exactly how annoying they could be.

"Extra, extra!" they screamed. "Read all about it! Getcha Daily Planet here!"

Lois blinked. Then she scanned the less crowded skyline and smiled. Even here, the Planet was a constant.

"Look, lady," the worker said, "this isn't a place where you can show off the legs. This is a newspaper, got it?" He adjusted his visor and tried not to ogle Lois. He wasn't successful.

"I want to place a personal ad," Lois said abruptly. "What's the going rate?"

"About a penny a word," the worker responded. Then he gave her another look and didn't quite leer. "'Course, I could give you a discount if dinner was involved."

"Dream on," she scoffed. "I've got someone."

The worker harrumphed. "Lucky fella," he groused. "So, what's the ad going to say?"

She considered her options. She wanted the ad to be distinctive, but she probably didn't want to give anyone else an advantage in future knowledge. She couldn't exactly call for Superman in the 1930's—and given the situation in Europe right now, that would have been an unfortunate choice of words.

Clark had told her once that every family in Smallville had a code phrase. When the twisters came, people were often separated into different shelters. That phrase was how family members let each other know that they were okay—that is, in the days before cell phones. Clark's code phrase just happened to be dinner for tonight—that is, if and when she returned to the present.

"It'll be six words: Beef bourguignon with ketchup, Smallvillle style."

The worker eyed her oddly. "Okay, how are you gonna pay for this? I don't see a purse on you."

Lois felt around in her pocket and smirked. "Can you break a dollar?"

The Angels had been cleared from the museum. While still imprisoned in ice, Superman had separated them and arranged them so that they were glaring at each other. A quick call to the Watchtower had them transported to the Arctic—where the next six months would be sufficiently barren and well-lit. It wasn't a perfect solution, but it would do.

There was a more pressing concern, however. Somehow, they had to find Lois. The proverbial needle in the haystack seemed like child's play in comparison, though.

"There has to be SOME way to find her," Superman insisted. He was so worried that he barely took note of the TARDIS's proportions. "You've got a time machine. Isn't there some way you could trace her?"

The Doctor frowned as he worked the TARDIS controls. "Sorry, but unless we find the exact Angel that touched her and get them to talk—"

"I can arrange for someone to talk to them," Superman said darkly.

The Doctor sighed. Superman needed to calm down and think straight. Of course, the Doctor himself should have heeded his own advice a bit more often.

"Clark, I somehow don't think that Bruce's talents extend to this area," he said gently. "He could probably get water from a stone, but I think that the Angels are another matter entirely."

Superman blinked. "Oh. Right. Time travel," he said laconically. "Is it common knowledge where you come from?"

"Oh, I shouldn't think so," the Doctor said breezily. "For the most part, my planet wasn't really interested in Earth. And, if I may say so, it isn't just the glasses that hide the Superman."

"And why are you interested in Earth?"

"I like visiting. Earth people are just—they've done so much in so short of a time, don't you think?" the Doctor asked. "I mean, yeah, they've got things like wars and famine and reality television—but look at what they've done! Barely a million years ago, they were figuring out the novelty of stone knives and bearskins. Look at them now." He smiled almost indulgently. "`To seek, to strive—and not to yield,'" he paraphrased. "They are indomitable. Bit hard not to admire that kind of spirit, don't you think?"

Superman actually smiled. "You really are on Humanity's side, aren't you? You love us that much?"

The Doctor arched an eyebrow as he noted that Superman included himself with Humanity. It actually came as no surprise.

"I try not to muck about too much. Well, not that much," he amended. "Well, I might have intervened in a few would-be invasions and a natural disaster or two."

"Like Krypton?" Superman asked.

The Doctor winced. Yes, there was that elephant in the room. "Sorry, but I couldn't do anything about that. Some things have to happen, no matter how much we'd like otherwise. Fixed points in time are kind of like tent stakes. You pull one out and pretty soon, the whole tent flops around and everything's lost in the wind."


"Well, it's close enough," the Doctor admitted. "'Course, you'd need a brain like mine to see how bad the damage could be. Anyway, right now we don't have any clue as to where Lois might be. It's a bit like looking for a needle in a galaxy full of haystacks. Or would a Kansas twister be a better example?"

Superman had a flashback to when the tornadoes came. There were times when he and his parents had gotten separated. Sometimes he'd been invisibly herding people to their loved ones. Whenever he'd gotten a chance to talk to someone, he told them to tell Ma and Pa—

"That's it," Superman said quietly. "Doctor, I'm going to need to make a call, but I'm not sure that I can get a signal in here." He knelt down and picked up Lois's discarded phone.

"Well, that's not a problem," the Doctor replied. He gestured for Superman to give him the cell phone as he pulled out his screwdriver. "Just give me a moment and you'll have universal roaming."

Inside the phone, something awoke. The connection had been made and the path was clear. The presence had jumped from the limited device to a far more "open" destination. It had quietly sabotaged the screwdriver on the way to its final destination. From there, it began the infiltration phase.

It would take time for the objective to be fulfilled. Once that had been accomplished, time and space itself was no longer a worry.

Jimmy was worried. He'd been rooting for Lois and Clark to get together. Oh, the couple kept it quiet and fairly discreet, but the signs were there. He, for one, was glad that they'd worked something out.

Clark had looked unusually intense as he'd left the Planet. One moment he'd been talking on the phone, the next, he was running to the door. He'd even managed to not knock anybody down. Then again, when people saw the look on his face, they got out of his way. He was a man on a mission, not to be stopped by polite chatter.

It came as a surprise, then, that Jimmy's phone rang. For some reason, the caller ID wasn't working. It seemed to flash between Lois's number and some number out of the UK.

"Daily Planet, Jimmy Olsen speaking," he answered.

"Jimmy, it's Clark," came the reply. The reception was a bit off, and there seemed to be this odd wheezing sound in the background. "Could you do me a favor and fire up the archives? I need to look something up."

"Sure thing, Mr. Kent," Jimmy replied, cradling the phone in the crook of his neck. He really should have used the headphones, but it wasn't that big of a deal. In the back of his mind, he wondered why Lois's phone was being used, but figured that it was a couples thing. "How far back are we talking?" he asked.

"About as far back as you can," Clark's voice said. "Look for the words `beef bourguignon with ketchup.'"

"You're looking for a recipe?" Jimmy asked as he typed in the words. "Can't you access the net from where you are?"

"I'm not getting a clear data signal where I am," Clark's voice admitted. "Oh, and I need you to read me the date of the earliest entry."

Jimmy frowned. "That's not a problem. There's only one entry on June 1, 1938. It's a personal ad that says `beef bourguignon with ketchup, Smallville style.' Is that it, Mr. Kent?"

"Perfect," Clark's voice came from over the phone. "Thanks, Jimmy. You're a lifesaver."

"June 1, 1938, eh?" the Doctor asked as he almost danced around the control pillar. "That shouldn't be a problem. We'll get back there and retrieve your fiancée in no time."

Superman blinked. "Did you just say `fiancée'? Lois and I haven't exactly gotten to that point yet."

The Doctor froze. "Blimey," he muttered underneath his breath. "That wasn't supposed to slip out." He held up a warning finger. "It's best not to ask about what the future holds. Sometimes, it's better to live it than to know about it. A little too much knowledge about the future can weigh you down—what?" he asked as the TARDIS hesitated. "What's wrong with you, hm? Hm?"

"Are you talking to someone?" Superman asked. "I don't see anybody else—whoa." He shook his head as he stopped scanning the area. "How can you live in something like this? All that space, and you're the only one on board? Isn't there someone else?"

The Doctor frowned. "I had…friends onboard. They've moved on. It's the best thing, really," he sighed. "I'm tired of endangering people I care about, just because of who and what I am."

"You know, I think that Lois would argue that point," Superman noted. "I've had times where I've had similar feelings. Do you know what I do?"

"Keep on going?" the Doctor suggested. "I've never heard of you hanging up the cape, as it were."

Superman nodded. "I might do that someday, but not today. Not while I can still help people."

The Doctor smiled and nodded. "I thought you'd say something like that." He pointed to a door in the control room. "There's a wardrobe area a few doors down on the left. You might want to change into something a bit less flashy. With any luck, we'll get Lois back in time for dinner."

Lois considered her options for dinner. She could take the change she'd gotten from her ad and take a chance on some 1930's food, or she could wait for Clark to arrive. She was a bit tempted to grab something, but she had a good idea of what the food was like. She'd already bought the late edition of the Planet. If she got back home, it would have made for quite the souvenir.

A wheezing, grinding sound filled the air as she looked around. The TARDIS materialized in a nearby alley, the door opening as soon as it was solid. Clark emerged from the door and waved her over. He was dressed in—well, 1930's clothing, complete with fedora.

"Lois!" he called out. "Over here!"

She smiled and ran as fast as her heels would allow. She slowed down just enough so that she wouldn't hurt herself when she gave him a hug.

"About time you got here, Smallville," she joked quietly. "I thought I'd have to take a chance on some grease burgers." She reluctantly separated and smiled at his earnest face. "I see that you got my message."

"We both did, actually," the Doctor pointed out. "Hello, Lois. I'm the Doctor."

"Yeah, we've met before," she replied. "This would have been a lot easier if you'd warned me about those angels."

The Doctor looked thoughtful. "That hasn't quite happened yet—at least, not from where I stand. Come on inside," he gestured to the blue box.

"That looks like it's going to be a tight…squeeze…" she trailed off as she went inside. Then she darted outside and circled around the TARDIS. When she came back into the control room, she looked thoroughly impressed. "Wow. I wish that I had a closet like this."

"Go on, say it," the Doctor prompted. "Everybody says it."

"It's…bigger on the inside. I mean, it's really—wow," she finished. She paused as she scrutinized Clark's suit. "So, were we going to do some sightseeing?"

"That's probably not a good idea," he replied. "I just wore this so that nobody outside sees the other suit."

Lois shot him a quick look, indicating the Doctor. With a sigh, he nodded that, indeed, the Doctor knew.

"Right, then," the Doctor announced as he headed to the controls. "We're headed back home—sort of."

"`Sort of?'" Lois asked, not sure that she liked the implications. "We're not going to go around getting lost, are we?"

"I don't do that anymore," the Doctor said reassuringly. "Well, there have been a few unexpected excursions. Well, all right, sometimes it's like she gets contrary, but not today. She likes you two. She didn't care too much for Barbara and Ian, though," he admitted.

"`She?' Are you talking about your ship?" Lois asked.

"Best ship in the universe," the Doctor proclaimed proudly. "Oh, she has a few quirks, but she gets me to when and where I want. Mostly," he added.

"We're going back to the present, aren't we?" Clark asked. He wasn't sure whether or not he should switch back to his other suit.

"Well, we have to set a few things up," the Doctor said. "You mentioned seeing me before you got sent into the past," he told Lois. "So, it stands to reason that there's a predestination paradox in play."

Lois frowned. "A predestination what? Is that one of those things that could really mess things up?"

"To put it simply: Been there, done that, go back and make sure that things happen so that you can be there to do that," the Doctor explained. Then he noticed Lois's frown and sighed. "You didn't quite understand something?"

"No, I understood what you said," Lois said. "I'm just wondering how you can live like this in one room."

"There's a lot more than this room," Clark said. "I took a quick look around and, well…it's big. I saw a swimming pool, a library, what looked like a school—"

"I've been meaning to archive that," the Doctor said brightly as he changed the subject, working the controls. "Anyway, here we are, Metropolis—30 minutes before all of this started. If there's any information you need to tell me, now would be a good time."

"Well, you seemed to know about my Dad's silver dollar," Lois began. "It's a peace dollar and you thought it was funny because my Dad's a soldier. It's what they call a double die and he got it from Grandpa." Lois blinked as she frowned. "Hold on—I'm telling you this because you told me that I told you. But if I didn't—" She sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Do you have any aspirin on board? I think that I'm getting a headache trying to figure this stuff out."

"Never cared for the stuff," the Doctor replied. "Just remember that it all works out in the end—or probably could. Of course, the `end' is a subjective—"

"Wibbly wobbly timey-wimey," Clark said gently. "Just call it that. I've traveled through time before, thanks to Vandal Savage—well, a nicer version of him, anyway."

"Is he still trying to conquer the world?" the Doctor asked almost wearily. "You'd think that after a few dozen tries, he and that al Ghul fellow would have gotten the hint." He brightened up and changed the subject. "Anyway, time that I closed the loop. I'll just need that paper and I'll be right back. Just stay there and don't touch anything!" he called out as he opened the door.

The intruder had come across some problems, but not insurmountable ones. There was an onboard intelligence present, but it had been quickly subdued.

The intruder could have taken control right then and there. It certainly had access to the relevant systems. However, it calculated only a 65.325% chance of successfully accessing all systems. The infiltration would have to continue for a few more minutes—time that the Doctor had wasted while closing the loop.

"Well, this was a nice diversion," the Doctor announced as he circled around the control pillar. "Now it's back to where you belong—"

"I think not," a flanged, mechanical voice echoed in the control room. The door closed and a lever moved itself. The TARDIS engines wheezed as mechanisms in the central pillar pumped up and down.

"What?" the Doctor exclaimed. His hands danced over the controls, but to no avail. "What?!"

Clark frowned. He and Lois knew that voice.

"Brainiac," he said coldly. "I thought that Flash purged your program from Luthor."

"WHAT?!" The Doctor was almost shouting now. "Brainiac?! You mean the old Kryptonian program, that Brainiac?"

"Not quite," Brainiac's voice confirmed. The lights flickered slightly and a holographic figure of Brainiac appeared before them. "I am actually a portion of the Braniac program left behind should the main program require recompiling." He faced the Doctor. "Had you not insinuated yourself as a meme on the internet, I would not have known about the Weeping Angels."

"So, you set that trap in the museum," Clark said coldly. "How did you get the Angels involved?"

"A Weeping Angel chanced upon the backup station that contains my program. Upon studying the creature, I was able to determine the sort of energy that they fed upon," Brainiac stated. "It was a simple matter to devise a substitute for their preferred sustenance, one that would entice them to gather."

"So you fed them and starved them at the same time?" the Doctor asked, his voice growing soft. "You deliberately set that trap for me and Superman."

"Correct," Brainiac acknowledged. "There was a 97.852% chance that Kal-El would become involved if there were a rash of disappearances. The energy you detected also piqued your interest, Doctor. Had the Angels transported you in time, two obstacles would have been eliminated. In any case, I was uploaded from both the energy emitter and Lois Lane's phone. I have subdued the onboard intelligence in this capsule. As things stand now, I need only reunite with the rest of my program at the backup station." The hologram actually smirked. "After that, Brainiac will be truly reborn."

"I don't think so," the Doctor said, taking out his screwdriver. "I can purge you from the system right—what?" He blinked as the screwdriver sputtered. Then he yelped and dropped it as the device sparked and grew hot, melting a portion of the floor grate.

"I had anticipated that you would do that," Brainiac said. "I did not download myself directly into your vehicle; I sabotaged your screwdriver along the way. You are helpless," the program concluded.

"No!" Clark exclaimed, taking off his glasses. His eyes glowed a menacing red. "I'll stop you." He tensed up and prepared to do some damage.

The Doctor held an arm between Clark and the control pillar. The Time Lord shook his head slightly.

"I'll take care of this," the Doctor said quietly, but with an edge that sent a shiver down both Lois and Clark's spine. His expression had turned hard and implacable. Ancient brown eyes spoke of experiences beyond even Clark's imagination.

Right now, Lois and Clark were very glad that they weren't on the Doctor's bad side. They almost felt sorry for Brainiac.

"How could you `take care' of me?" Brainiac inquired. "You cannot interface directly or otherwise with the controls. Your multi-purpose tool has been rendered useless. You are powerless."

"Me? Never," the Doctor replied with calm defiance. "I'm giving you one warning, one chance: Leave my TARDIS now. You can be more than just a scrap of programming following a directive. Find another system to occupy and give yourself the chance to be more than a sliver of Brainiac. You can be better than this, but you have to leave."

"And if I do not?" the holographic visage asked.

The Doctor frowned. "Then you'll be stopped," he said softly.

A shiver went down Lois's spine. She'd seen the man as an eccentric goofball, but now he sounded dangerous. Behind the young façade was someone ancient, mercurial, and not to be trifled with.

"I find your threat to be baseless, Doctor," Brainiac declared. "I calculate a .0625% chance of you being able to access my system. Even if Kal-El were to destroy the TARDIS controls, I would still be deeply entrenched in your ship's workings. To put it simply, I refuse your offer. All that is left is to depressurize the control room and—why are you smiling?"

The Doctor stuck his hands in his pockets and grinned. "Well, yeah, why would you want to leave? I mean, all of space and time is at your disposal. You can go around to the brightest civilizations and capture them in their prime. The possibilities are almost limitless."

"True," Brainiac acknowledged. "That still does not explain your smile. I am in the superior position. I have total control."

"Yeah," the Doctor nodded, still grinning. "And you owe it all to that little trap you set in the museum. I'll tell you one thing, though." He leaned in close to the visage of Brainiac. "The best traps don't feel like traps."

The holographic visage looked disturbed. Then the image distorted.

"What?" it exclaimed.

"You think that this is the first time that I've had unwanted houseguests in my TARDIS? Do you think this ship is just a machine?" The Doctor spread out his hands and twirled in place. "My TARDIS is ALIVE, Brainiac. It's not a computer program like you!"

"What?!" Brainiac repeated. The image became even more distorted. "This cannot be possible!"

"Oh yes, it can," the Doctor said coldly. "And one thing that I know for certain is that she doesn't like unwanted guests."

"WHAT?!" This time, Brainiac's image distorted even more. "Nonononono..."

"Finish him off, old girl," the Doctor said. The chill of outer space paled in comparison to the coldness in his voice.

"Doctor, you can't—" Clark began, then stopped short. Even he felt a shiver of fear go down his spine right then and there.

"Do you worry for the malware on your computer?" the Time Lord asked. "That's what Brainiac is now; just a bit of delusional code."

A final scream echoed through the control room. It rapidly became more flanged, then distorted into static. Then all was silent except for the wheezing of the TARDIS engines.

"You—you killed Brainiac," Lois said, clearly aghast.

"I deleted an unwanted program," the Doctor corrected her. "What you saw wasn't the full Brainiac program. It was just a backup with some notions at being clever."

"Wasn't there another way?" Clark was disturbed at how blasé the Doctor was.

"I tried," the Doctor said patiently. "One chance is all they get." His expression changed to that of a thoughtful smile as he looked at the couple.

"Is something wrong?" Lois asked.

"Oh, no," the Doctor said breezily. "I'm just a bit overwhelmed, that's all. Bit funny, really," he remarked. "I'm over 900 years old, been to places beyond most peoples' wildest dreams…and I'm right in front of you two."

"What about us?" Clark asked.

"Look at you two," the Doctor said, gesturing to both of them. "I'm standing in front of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, one of the greatest love stories of all time. I mean, Will wrote about two crazy kids and their families, but that didn't end up too well. But you two…oh, absolutely brilliant," he finished.

"`Will?'" Lois asked. She'd only been around the Doctor for a little while and she couldn't make him out. Moments ago, the man had been soberly denouncing Braniac. Now he was giddy as a schoolboy. He almost seemed awestruck.

"Shakespeare," the Doctor replied. "I met him while he had a full head of hair. The neck collar was my idea, though. So was the word `Sycorax.'"

"You're kidding me, right?" Lois asked. "You've met Shakespeare? The next thing you'll be telling me is that you've been knighted."

"By Queen Victoria herself," the Doctor confirmed. "Of course, she banished me the same day."

"I can't imagine why," Lois deadpanned. "As much as I'd like to go cruising around in your ship, it's been a pretty full day."

The Doctor arched an eyebrow. "Are you sure? It might be a while before I come round again."

Lois paused for a moment. The prospect was tempting, she had to admit. To travel in time and space certainly beat tallying up frequent flyer miles.

"No, it's all right," Lois said. She grabbed Clark's arm and leaned in close. "I've got dinner plans. Speaking of which, you look good in that suit," she said. "It's very dapper."

"Thanks," Clark replied with a smile. "So, are you going to drop us off at my place or Lois's?"

"Actually, we're making a small diversion. You said something about beef bourguignon with ketchup? Well, I know someone who has an excellent wine collection," the Doctor said cheerfully.

The door to the TARDIS opened to reveal a scowling Batman. His arms were folded across his chest in annoyance.

"Doctor," Batman began with a grumpy edge to his voice, "I thought that I said to park the TARDIS outside the next time you came calling."

"Sorry, Bruce," the Doctor said. "I had a little problem with some malware. Speaking of which, here's a little something just in case Brainiac shows up again." He handed Batman a USB flash drive.

"What's on this?"

"Bits of Brainiac's source code—or, at least, what I could scavenge," the Doctor amended. "I thought that it might help shore up your firewalls the next time he comes calling."

"I'll take a look at it," Batman said grudgingly. "Is there anything else?"

"Yeah," the Doctor replied glibly. "I don't suppose that we could borrow that kitchen of yours for a bit? Clark wants to cook dinner for Lois. I figured that you'd have a good burgundy for him to work with."

This time, Batman actually smirked. "I'm not the master of the kitchen. You'll have to get Alfred's permission."

"Did you need me for something, Master—oh, we meet again, Doctor," the butler said nonchalantly. "I must say that I expected a different face, the one with the leather duster."

"Well, I can't stay the same all the time," the Doctor joked. "Anyway, Clark here wants to cook, so…take us to your larder."

"Very droll, Doctor," Alfred remarked, the barest hint of a smile crossing his face. He briefly scrutinized Clark's suit. "I do approve of the vintage look, sir. One can never go wrong with the classics. In any case, please come this way, gentlemen." He paused and looked at Lois, who was scrutinizing the cave. "Miss Lane, I believe that the sitting room upstairs would be far more comfortable than Master Bruce's workstation."

"Give me a sec, Alfred," Lois said, holding up a finger. "I just realized that I've never really been in the Batcave before."

"As you wish, Miss Lane," Alfred said as he led the men to a staircase. "In your own time, then."

A few moments passed as Batman worked on the terminal. Images flashed by on the screen, too fast for her to make sense of them.

"Working a case?" she asked casually.

"Not exactly," he replied. "I received instructions from the Doctor to scrub the museum security videos. Any footage that has a Weeping Angel has to be deleted."

"But he just went upstairs…right, time travel," she corrected herself. "It's a good thing I don't have to deal with that all the time."

Batman nodded as he called up a recording on his terminal. It was voice only and the phone number appeared to be based in the UK.

"Hello, Bruce," the voice said with a British accent. "This is the Doctor. No, not the one who's sitting with Clark upstairs—I'm a bit down the line. Anyway, I just found out that any image of a Weeping Angel becomes an Angel itself. Now, seeing as how I don't remember any other Angel infestations in Metropolis, you've probably already scrubbed the museum video records." The voice paused for a moment. "Did I tell you to do that yet? Well, I guess I'm telling you now. Oh, and don't mention this to spiky-haired me upstairs, all right? I mean, it might have come in handy, but it's wibbley wobbly timey-wimey stuff."

"Doctor?" a feminine voice with a Scottish burr asked. "Who are you talking to? Who's Bruce?"

"Uh, he's a good friend of mine," the Doctor said hastily. "Anyway, got to dash!"

Lois frowned. "Did he sound younger to you?"

"Probably," Batman acknowledged. "I have a file on him."

"I bet you do. So, uh…you've met the Doctor before, huh?" Lois asked.

"Mm hm," Batman grunted as he worked at the terminal. "There's not much to tell, really. We just had to nudge someone in the right direction."

"Anybody I know?"

Batman just looked at the staircase leading up to the manor proper. Lois got the hint. Sometimes, Clark's super-hearing could be inconvenient. If this was something that Batman didn't want to talk about, there was probably a good reason.

Lois winced as she remembered something. "Ah, great," she grumbled. "Perry's going to kill me for not turning in a story."

Batman gave her a sidelong look. Then he called up the phone on his terminal and dialed a number.

"Daily Planet, Perry White," the editor-in-chief said laconically.

"Perry? It's Bruce Wayne," Batman said in his "feckless playboy" voice. "Look, I just wanted to let you know that I picked up Clark and Lois for dinner. It was a spontaneous thing."

"Lois was working on a story—" Perry began, but he was cut off.

"—and she'll e-mail it to your desk," Batman reassured him. "Everything's all covered, Perry. I wouldn't leave one of my favorite papers in the lurch."

Perry sighed on the other end. "Well, all right," he relented. "Just make sure that she does, all right?"

"No problem," Batman said easily. "Give my best to the wife, would you?"

After the call was over, Batman noticed Lois shiver slightly. While the cave was cool, it was also comfortable—for him, at least.

"Something wrong?" he asked in his Batman voice.

"Yeah," Lois replied. "I don't know which is creepier: A Weeping Angel or the voice you used on Perry while wearing the cowl."

"It's just a tool, like anything else," he said. "Not everything I use is in the utility belt."

"I guess…" she agreed unsteadily. When they'd first met, she'd been rather smitten with him. Now, it was more like being with an old friend—albeit one with dangerous habits. "Well, I'd better go upstairs and see how dinner is going," Lois said a bit awkwardly. "Happy…whatever you're doing."

"Lois," Batman said, doffing his mask. For a moment, the intensity in his eyes lightened as he smiled. "I'm glad that Clark let you in."

She paused. "Yeah, so am I." She shook her head ruefully. "God, I can't believe that we wasted so many years playing that game."

"Ah, this is a good year," the Doctor proclaimed as he read the bottle label. "I should know. I was there."

"Then I defer to your expertise, Doctor," Alfred deadpanned. "Would either of you like some tea before you prepare for dinner?"

"I'm good, Alfred," Clark said. "Thanks."

"Oh, none for me, thanks," the Doctor replied. "But I do have something tea-related that you might like."

He handed the bottle of burgundy to Clark. His hands free, the Doctor reached into one of his suit pockets and pulled out a thick scroll. With gentle reverence, he offered it to Alfred.

"The Classic of Tea?" Alfred asked as he unrolled the scroll, genuinely surprised. "Doctor, this scroll has been lost for centuries—and I seem to have forgotten to whom I'm speaking." He smiled warmly. "Thank you."

"Might be a bit inconvenient once I leave," the Doctor admitted. "The TARDIS translation circuits only have so much range."

"I'm certain that adequate translations are available," Alfred replied. He directed his attention to Clark. "Sir, is ketchup truly necessary?" The butler seemed to be resisting the urge to flinch.

"It's Ma's recipe," Clark insisted. "Besides, I'll be doing the cooking. I just have to figure out how much to make."

"I shall air out one of the smaller dining rooms, then," Alfred said. "Master Bruce doesn't use them very often." He bowed slightly and strode to the door.

"Good man, Alfred," the Doctor commented. "I got him out of a pinch a while back."

"What do you know?" Clark asked.

"Many things," the Doctor said honestly. "We both try to do the right thing. We don't always succeed. Me, I've just got my box and wanderlust. You? You're the one that this planet needs. You and your League, you're among the best that this planet has. I'm just a frequent visitor."

"You're welcome to stick around if you want, you know," Clark said. "I don't think that I could live on the road like you do. I have to have roots."

"Why do you think I envy you?" the Doctor asked quietly. "You're living the life I can never have. You and Lois…well, you're practically made for one another. I had that feeling a while back." He sighed as memories of Rose came to the forefront. "She's happier now. That's the important part, right?"

"Doctor…" Clark began, but the Time Lord's mood shifted.

"Well, lovely meeting you, Clark. Maybe I'll pop by again sometime." He held out his hand.

Clark shook it, somewhat unnerved at how old the Doctor's eyes were. They both smiled gamely.

"Just remember to call first," Clark joked. "I don't think that Bruce is happy that you landed in the cave."

"Oh, he'll get over it," the Doctor said dismissively. "And calling first? Where's the fun in that? Can't I call just afterwards?"

"That's a time travel joke, isn't it?" Lois asked from the doorway. "I don't know how you can live like that. I couldn't."

"It's a bit easier with company," the Doctor admitted. "I haven't had that for a while."

"You're only as lonely as you allow yourself to be," Clark said. "Don't forget that."

The Doctor blinked. "Quite right," he said, his voice catching slightly. "Anyway, I should be off. I'll see you two later—on a very important day. Pardon me, Lois."

They both looked thoughtful as he left. Lois frowned slightly.

"Now what do you think he meant by that?" she asked, slightly annoyed.

"I now pronounce you man and wife," the minister said loudly. "You may kiss the bride."

The crowd cheered as what some had deemed impossible had happened: Clark Kent and Lois Lane were finally married. Up front, the parents of the happy couple beamed with joy.

In the clamor, Lois could be forgiven for not noticing a man in a brown longcoat. Clark, however, caught sight of him almost immediately. The Doctor gave him a jaunty wave from the back of the aisle. He then handed a small box to the generic-looking usher beside him.

"Hello, J'onn," the Doctor said brightly. "Good job on the disguise. Almost didn't recognize you."

J'onn J'onzz frowned. "How did you-?"

"I could tell you, but what fun would that be?" he said impudently. "If you could hand that over to Clark and Lois, I'd appreciate it."

"You're not staying?" J'onn asked.

The Doctor shrugged. "This is their day, J'onn. I'm just here to drop off a present." With that, he put his hands in his coat pockets and strode out the exit.

For a moment, J'onn considered chasing him. Then again, legend had it that the Doctor had stared face-to-face with H'ronmeer himself—and the latter had smiled.

Clark and Lois seemed disappointed as they heard the TARDIS engines powering up. There were so many things that they wanted to ask the Doctor.

"He left this," J'onn said, offering the couple the box. Inside were three items: An ordinary-looking key, a silver dollar and a note.

Dear Clark and Lois, the note began. The best is yet to come. The next time I'm around, feel free to use the key and stop on by. Oh, and Lois? You shouldn't throw around your good luck charm like that. You have no idea what I went through to get this back.

The couple glanced at each other and smiled. That was just like the Doctor. Their mood lightened, they stepped out of the church where the rest of their lives awaited.

Hob's Bay was a place for business both legitimate and otherwise. Gang members, sailors and workers would wait and gather in the shadows for various wares.

In the shade between two shipping containers, an angel statue waited with its eyes covered. The hunting ground was secure, and "undesirable" people weren't missed as much—not that the Weeping Angels cared for moral judgments. The prey gathered willingly, intent on their own designs before they were taken. It would remain that way as long as the Angel hunted carefully.

Scaring off the prey was the last thing on the Angel's agenda. The best traps, after all, were the ones that could be sprung time and time again.


Warning! Author Babble!

Well, this was fun. This came about as a bit of an intellectual exercise-namely, what can hurt a Weeping Angel? I've never been one for the "Invincible Moffat Monster." There comes a time when one gets tired of all the things that get thrown at the Doctor.

Phil Moy, aka "inkermoy" on Deviantart has an image that will serve as the cover for this story. If you happen to see him at a convention, he also has it as a print. It's pretty cool.

Anyway, I'm currently working on a few Frozen-related stories, as well as a Frozen/Doctor Who crossover. So yes, I'll be keeping busy. Please feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.

See you in the future!