This is my first foray into the DCAU continuity, and I keep getting the feeling that once I start, I won't be able to stop. This has been plaguing me since the episode "A Better World" in which my heart cried out for Lois Lane. Lois was always a favorite of mine, and I always enjoyed how she ended up falling for the man over the hero… only to find out that they were one in the same. Watching her with pure Superman, I came up with this. Hope it's enjoyable.

~*~

Lois stood by the window and overlooked the city. Metropolis. It had always been a symbol, at least for her. Just two years ago it had been her city, two years ago she had been the Daily Planet's ace reporter with Smallville constantly on her heels. Once she, the Daily Planet and Metropolis had stood for truth and hope, as had Superman. Now Metropolis was the Justice Lord's greatest city, and it was a symbol of their way of life.

It was depressing.

The Daily Planet was a shadow of the paper Lois had adored to write for. She could still remember Superman telling Perry what he could and could not write. Perry had quit on the spot. She had stayed, as she had known she would, while her colleagues had slowly walked out of the door. It was only a few months ago that she could bring herself to put down her pen. She still wrote personal pieces, journalistic stories that she would have written back in the day in hopes of a Pulitzer. Now, it seemed she was the only one who would read the bits of truth that she knew.

The streets were no longer the joyful bustle of activity that they had been. People's movements were slower, more cautious. They were afraid of doing something wrong and getting chained to a wall for a week. Of doing something horrible and getting their brain's bored out.

But you got what you wanted didn't you, Lois? You got Superman for yourself. He loves you.

She had been furious when he had told her that his real life persona was none other than Clark "Smallville" Kent, her partner and co-worker of over five years. She had looked forward to the merging of the two people when he had told her there was no need for Clark anymore, or even for the disappearance of Clark altogether.

She hadn't realized how much she would come to miss Clark.

It wasn't odd if you worked with someone day in and out for years to miss them when they went away. She had missed Clark the first time she had thought him dead all those years ago. She had cried and mourned him until she realized he was alive and threatened to break his legs. That made some sort of sense. What was odd was seeing his face every day, minus those stupid glasses(God she hated that disguise), and see no sign of him. No sign of the morals, integrity and justice that he had always put forth.

Superman's list of casualties started with Lex Luthor, but right after he did away with the evil that had plagued him, he killed Clark Kent.

It had been a long time since she had seen the Kents in Metropolis. They had of course come for the "funeral" held for Clark as being a Justice Lord was going to be a full-time job and he wouldn't have time for the two. Martha had called for awhile, and then about a year and a half ago. Martha had been holding back tears as John had led her away, Kara had already sprinted for the car. Martha had given her hand one last squeeze, as if in understanding before she had left.

At the time, she had been foolish enough to think they didn't understand their child. Now she knew they understood too well. Clark Kent, being raised by John and Martha, had given Superman the knowledge of where the lines were and what was going too far.

He no longer had that.

The first time he had taken away someone's mind so that they would be "more useful for society" she had collapsed into tears when she had returned home. Her stunning hero, the one man she put above all else, had just taken away a person's ability to reason, to think things out, to do what they believed in. It wasn't that Lois agreed with what villains did, it was that she believed in one taking control of his or her own life, making their choices.

No one had choices anymore.

"Lois?"

She turned to see him standing there in the doorway, impressive, self-important. 'God Smallville, where the hell are you,' her mind cried out as it used to when he would magically disappear when it was time for Superman to show up somewhere. It was time for Clark to come back.

Instead she forced a smile. "Did you have a long day?" Lois asked, feigning interest.

"Not any longer than usual," he said with a causal shrug as he stepped into the room and let the impenetrable metal door slide shut. "People have learned, for the most part."

The glimpse of the guard she saw outside the door had her ready to do battle, but the fight for that was futile. She had been locked in here for forever. "That's good," she told him, voice empty. She once again looked out over Metropolis. She would give nearly anything for the chaos of lunch hour to this all too orderly way of living.

The rush and noise of the news room with Jimmy skidding through with research in one hand his camera hanging off of his neck. The sound of keys rapidly typing throughout, bits and pieces of phone conversations and water cooler gossip, printers and faxes, Perry's voice. Lois was desperate for that too. This tranquil room was so empty.

"You're upset."

"Why would I be upset?" Lois asked bitterly, turning on him with furious eyes. "I'm just trapped up here, I don't have my job, I don't have my integrity."

"Lois, we've discussed this," he reminded her in that patient, final voice that made her think she was five yet again. "This is for your own safety. If you were down there on the streets--"

"Someone who doesn't like the way you run things could kill me before you got the chance to save me," she finished for him. There was a time when he would let her go out so he could save her, when he would let her try to save herself. "Why don't you just start having J'onn reading their minds so you know ahead of time and prevent all threats."

Superman frowned down at her as if she had injured him in some way. "We only use J'onn's ability in hostile situations."

"So good of you," she grumbled.

But no one could hide conversation from the Man of Steel, especially not in such close range. "Lois." Stupid patronizing voice. "You know why I'm doing this. We're in the right here."

She couldn't scream at him, he was all she had left. She turned away from him again and looked out over the streets. He saw beauty in this, he saw righteousness. "I know you think you are," she murmured eventually.

Strong arms came around her but they offered no comfort like they used to. Instead they caged her, like these rooms caged her, like Metropolis now caged her. There was a time where she would have known a way to get herself free. That too had disappeared with time, with the man who stood behind her.

His head dipped close to hers. "Trust us Lois. Trust me. You used to."

She could hear the answers that she had once given readily. 'I do. I will.' Neither was a fitting response anymore. Instead she answered him only with, "I know."

"Lois."

"Let's go to bed, please," she managed before he could start up on another round of his, you know 'I'm right' speech. She turned in his arms and looked up at him, something she knew would get her what she wanted within reason. "I'm tired."

The look he was giving her made her wonder if he had learned how to read minds. She shifted slightly and then let out a yawn to make her story more convincing.

"Alright, I can do that."

He scooped her up in his arms and flew them to the bedroom. It was odd how the old fantasy had become a reality, and now she fantasized about a man who would simply take her hand as they walked down the street to cover a story or discuss potential leads over a meal.