Knight & Day
Thanks go to Princess Paula and Djinn for the Beta.
Bruce Wayne was mildly surprised when Lois decided to see him off at Lex Luthor's private airfield. A Wayne Enterprises 767 was already spooling its engines, waiting to take him back to Gotham City. They'd said their goodbyes earlier at his hotel suite but she'd surprised him by following him to the airfield.
"Are you sure I can't change your mind?" he inquired, but there was a tone at the edge of his voice that betrayed him. Based on the defiant set of her jaw alone, Bruce knew she was going to refuse him.
"I adore you, Bruce," she replied sadly. "But there are some things about you that I don't know about… and I'm not sure that I want to."
Betraying nothing outwardly while yet another part of Bruce Wayne's humanity withered away, stoically, he murmured, "I understand."
"Take care of yourself,"Lois whispered. Stepping forward, she surprised him again, lifting her head to peck him on the cheek. He shrugged with resignation, then turned and strode towards the plane. Normally a paragon of control, it took every ounce of his being to bite back the urge to go back to her and beg for her to come with him.
Ignoring the tug of his heartstrings, he soldiered on towards the plane. 'It's no use,' he thought. Resigned to his solitary fate once again, he trudged to the jet way. His feet felt like they weighed a couple hundred pounds.
Bruce allowed himself a small double take when he saw Clark Kent patiently waiting for him.
"Come to make sure I leave?" Bruce rasped, a hint of menace audible in his tone.
"Actually, I thought we worked pretty well together," Clark replied evenly, then his expression tightened. "Not that I want to make it a regular thing."
Bruce turned to look at Lois, disappearing behind the hangar wall. "She's all yours now. But be good to her. Remember," he warned. "I know where you live."
Clark didn't respond but instead allowed a small smile as the doorway closed behind the Dark Knight. It wasn't a friendly smile, instead reflecting Clark's relief that he still had an opportunity to pursue Lois in his old-fashioned, determined, but never aggressive manner.
He waited a few minutes for the WayneTech plane to taxi down the jet way, then felt a final sense of closure when the jet thundered down the runway. Once airborne, the pilot dipped the left wing then headed northwest. As the plane disappeared over the Metropolitan Skyline, Clark made strides for his car. Part of him was hoping to find Lois still in the parking lot so he could provide a shoulder to cry on, if needed, but she'd already left.
'Tomorrow will be the right time. Maybe I'll ask her to lunch…see if I can help pick up the pieces of her broken heart.' He assured himself, but his gut instincts told him things had changed. In all of the years he'd known Lois, she'd never fallen for a man like she'd done for Bruce. Still considering the gravity of the situation, he drove to his condominium in Chelsea. He intended to go on patrol as Superman as soon as he'd parked in his designated spot (the parking tickets he'd amassed recently by leaving his car to save the day as Superman were getting ridiculous). Flying always helped him clear his head. He hoped the clarity would help him formulate a strategy to win her heart as both Clark Kent and Superman. Until he managed to do both, he couldn't risk exposing his identity to Lois.
Clark's phone rang at six a.m. Normally a light sleeper, the cobwebs were still clearing from his head when he picked up the receiver. Anticipating it was a wrong number, he intentionally kept his head on the pillow, hoping to get another few minutes of sleep.
He tried to speak but he only managed a rasp. Coughing into his hand to clear his throat, he tried a second time. "Clark Kent."
"Smallville! I'm glad I caught you." Lois' voice breezed into the phone.
"Lois? What's wrong?" Clark asked, bolting upright in bed.
"Not sure anything's wrong," she responded. "Just calling to let you know that I'm at the airport."
"Chasing a lead?" he asked hesitantly.
"Nothing so mundane," she replied. "I couldn't sleep at all last night."
"It's about the billionaire, isn't it?" he whispered, gripping the receiver. The plastic groaned in protest as the pressure increased.
"'Fraid so," she replied. "I thought about it all night and realized that we might have a chance to be happy…or something. So I packed and came out to the airport."
"You're moving to Gotham?" he asked incredulously. "I thought you'd changed your mind."
"I did," she replied smartly. "Again."
Clark winced at her revelation, then covered his hand over the phone so that he could take a deep breath to steady himself. He was playing a delicate game and had to ensure he was asking questions as Clark. When he'd returned from the airport the day before to see Bruce off, Lois had called him an hour later. She'd matter-of-factly informed him she'd reconsidered her move to Gotham, disclosing none of her rationale, then hung up on him when he started to press for more information. Superman knew Lois was stunned by the revelation that Bruce was Batman, but Clark Kent wasn't privy to that information. As he talked to Lois, he reminded himself to be careful not to disclose too much.
Unsure of his strategy, he finally managed to ask, "Are you sure that's wise?"
"Probably not wise," she admitted sarcastically. "But I'm doing it anyway."
There was a stunned silence on the line. She waited for Clark to say something but hearing nothing, Lois decided to continue. "I'm leaving on a flight in ten minutes. I just wanted to give you a heads up and also beg a favor. Well, two, actually."
"What is it?" he asked, wearily sinking back onto his bed.
"First tell Perry I'll call him from Gotham once I get settled. Second, be a dear and water my plants for me, will you? I'll be back in a week or two to get the rest of my stuff."
"Sure, Lois," he replied stoically, then added a mangled "Good luck." before he hung up the phone in astonishment. He stared at his ceiling for almost an hour, then staggered into the kitchen. Normally a light social drinker, he allowed himself a liberal five-finger pull on a bottle of vodka, then splashed a hint of orange juice over the glass for color. Unshaven and with bloodshot eyes, he staggered into work an hour late to deliver the news to Perry. The editor looked at him sympathetically then told him to take the rest of the day off.
He spent the rest of the day staring blankly at his computer screen, pointedly contemplating what hurt more; the conversation with Lois, or a direct blast from Darkseid's Omega Beams.
So far, it was a draw.TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT
Alfred busied himself unpacking the last articles from the two week-long excursion to Metropolis. The chore required sorting the everyday clothes Bruce wore from the pile of gadgets Batman required. It turned out to be a much longer chore than he'd anticipated as Bruce was fueled by an urgency the butler had never seen. As they packed for their return to Gotham City, Bruce had uncharacteristically managed to mix the two. Alfred piled the remaining gadgets into a trunk then wheeled it down the hallway, heading towards the elevator that accessed the Cave.
Finished cramming the trunk into the narrow confines of the elevator, the doorbell unexpectedly chimed. Alfred briefly debated how to handle the situation then hit the down button on the elevator. He reasoned if Batman needed any of his gadgets, since he was already in the Cave, he could retrieve them from the trunk. Alfred quickly made his way down the staircase to the front entry, then allowed himself a moment of shock when he spied the visitor.
Composing himself, he opened the door. Peering out into the mist-shrouded sunlight, he greeted her warmly. "Miss Lane, so good to see you."
"Good morning, Alfred. Likewise," she replied with the same genuine warmth. Her initial exposure to his dry sarcasm and quick wit in Bruce's penthouse in Metropolis immediately convinced her she would feel welcome in Gotham, at least in the opinion of the one person whose opinion Bruce obviously valued above all others.
"Is Bruce available?" she murmured, peeking past him down the hallway.
Alfred paused, weighing the context of her inquiry. While they were in Metropolis, his charge had remained typically tight-lipped about his romantic intentions with Ms. Lane. Alfred had only learned it was serious when Bruce had informed him a day prior to their departure that she might accompany them on their return to Gotham. Initially delighted that Master Bruce had finally met a woman who could hold his interest, Alfred was sorely disappointed when he witnessed Lois' heart-tugging farewell at the jet way. Boarding the plane in Metropolis, Bruce didn't say a word after he'd settled into the seat, but Alfred could tell from the set of his jaw that her refusal to move to Gotham represented a huge setback in the emotional development of Gotham's most eligible bachelor.
As Alfred looked over the vivacious brunette waiting patiently at the entryway, he realized that Bruce had never told him whether Lois was privy to the identity of his alter-ego.
Deciding to err on the side of caution, Alfred ushered her in, noting loftily that, "Master Bruce is currently detained, however I'm sure that I can locate him somewhere on the estate if you'd care to wait."
Lois fixed her gaze on him sharply. "By the estate, I'm assuming you're referring to wherever he likes to spend time wearing the cape and cowl?"
Relieved of the burden, Alfred visibly exhaled. Maintaining the secrecy of his employer's identity was daunting at times, especially when Alfred was required to make excuses to the women who would occasionally drift into (and quickly out of) Bruce's life. He nodded in approval at the directness of her approach, then ushered her to the East Wing. Alfred paused at the grandfather clock, then moved the hands to 10:47. Lois looked on in astonishment as the clock shifted sideways, revealing the hydraulically powered steel door behind it.
"Right this way, Miss Lane," Alfred murmured, then led her down the stairwell.
Authors Note: Forgive the flashback, but when confronted with the idea of how to properly write a LL/BM/WW/SM story, I had to go back to my animated roots. 'Worlds Finest' debuted in 1997, featuring a team-up of Batman and Superman for the first time, battling a similar team-up of The Joker and Lex Luthor, all the while intertwined with a romance angle as Bruce Wayne swept Lois Lane off her feet with a few midnight waltzes around the Rainbow Room. There were a few other instances in the animated world, including 'Knight Time' and 'The Demon Reborn', where Batman and Superman reluctantly teamed up again before finally teaming up full time with the rest of the Justice League. For this story, I'm going to pick and choose my DCAU continuity, admitting the events of 'World's Finest' and 'Legacy' to have occurred while ignoring others. In terms of continuity, this story will start at the last scene of 'World's Finest' and continue deep into the second season of Justice League.