Title: Unrequited

Author: Lopaka Tanu

Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership of Superman.

Characters: Clark, Jimmy, Perry, Lois, Cat.

Wordcount: 20130

Prompt: 15 Hookers

Fandom: Lois & Clark: New Adventures of Superman

Pairing: Clark/Jimmy

Rating: Adult

Spoilers/Timeline: 1x09 Man of Iron Bars.

Warning: Prostitution, Graphic Violence, Character Death, Angst, Language, and Cross Dressing.

Summary: Jimmy Olsen's past comes to light when a serial killer stalks his old neighborhood.

Author's Note: Not so light hearted as the television series.

Dear Reesie Jones is an advice column subject to trademark of the Metropolis Rising Star.

Dear Reesie,

Recently, a colleague of mine has been making unwanted advances towards another colleague. Not in that way, but in that mooning over her from his desk, willing to do anything she wants kind of way. The problem between them, she doesn't even acknowledge that he exists unless she wants something or he's done something wrong in her eyes. He's my friend and I worry about him, what this is doing to him. I've seen what her constant attitude can do to people and don't want to see him fall victim to it. DL is a nice guy, kinda sweet and shy in that small town way, he deserves better than MM.

How can I help him see this without looking like a busy body?

Jackie O, Metropolis.

Dear Jackie,

Sugar, I hate to see this kind of situation, it never ends pretty for any involved. Your colleague, MM, seems to be what is known as a user. Her own selfish wants and needs blind her to any one she considers inferior to her. I bet she has a crush on or longs for powerful men who are beyond her reach.

The best you can hope for is to keep your friendship with DL after this. If he truly is a good friend, he will, in time, learn to forgive you for interfering in his life. Sadly, honey, I don't think there is a way you can do this without appearing a busy body. I get the feeling you already knew this, but it is best to know someone agrees with you.

The best course of action is to state clearly the situation as you see it, how this makes you feel, and your intentions to him. He will, of course, be angry if his self esteem hasn't dropped too low. If he does not get angry, you may have to seek professional help for him. I am including a list of local professionals, not all of them are doctors in case he does not feel he can trust them, who can help.

If you can remain strong and let him know you are there for him, in time he may come around. I can not stress how important it is that you remain open and honest with him at all times. Once you hide things from him, any hope of a future friendship with him will be lost.

Jackie, I ask that you write me back from time to time just to keep in touch on your situation in case you need my help again.

Love and Strength,

Reesie Jones.

Dropping the paper, Lois scoffed in derision. "Can you believe this crap? I can't understand how or why anyone would want to vent their issues in such a way." Turning to Clark, she smiled. He had handed the newspaper to her folded so the article was on top while they waited for Perry to show for the staff briefing. "Why exactly did you want me to read this hack's column? Are you trying to tell me something, Kent?"

Grinning, Clark shook his head and sat back. When it came to personal matters, Lois was as thick as lead. "Just wanted your opinion on the Rising Star's top syndicated columnist."

Picking up the paper, she slapped him in the chest with it. "Keep your rags in the dust ben, Smallville. I've got better things to waste my time on than worrying about your mental state given your preoccupation with whiny gossips." After she picked up her pen, she reclined over her partition of the briefing room table. "Does anyone know where Perry is?"

Glancing up from his place across the table from Lois and Clark, Jimmy pulled the pencil eraser from his mouth and cleared his throat. "Last I heard, he was still trying to avoid the news room as much as possible due to certain comments and wolf whistles. He'll be in on time, Lois, there's still five minutes until the briefing." He colored up to his black hair from the look she gave him. "Sorry."

"Don't be sorry, just get him here." Still a little miffed at having been tricked in to reading an advice column, she misdirected her anger at the younger man. Who was Clark to assume she didn't understand his meaning? She knew perfectly well what he was implying with it, of course he was completely unjustified. Being Kent from Hickville, USA, he just didn't quite get the way things were. Given time, she might train him yet. "Jimmy, that wasn't a suggestion."

"Yes, Lois." Rising from his chair, Jimmy was about to head to the editor's office to 'fetch' Perry, but his task was abated by the arrival of said man. Smiling gratefully to the older man, Jimmy returned to his seat. "Welcome, chief."

"Jimmy, I told you not to call me that." Closing the briefing room door behind him, Perry glared at the amused looks of his people. "All right, people, listen up. I've heard the last remark about my pale legs I'm going to ever hear. The next person who says something is fired, you hear me?"

"Aye, sir." Saluting, Jimmy couldn't keep the snort of amusement in check.

"That's what I like to hear. Now, on to more important business." Taking his seat, Perry tossed a folder on to the table between Lois and Clark. "Lois, I want you to cover the Almassy Society gig, take Clark along with you. See what you two can drum up about the recent murder of their members."

"Almassy Society, sir? I haven't heard of any social club murders." Having raised his hand, Clark lowered it at the looks everyone was giving him. "What am I missing?"

"The Almassy Society isn't a social club, CK, at least not by your standards." Outwardly, Jimmy was smiling at the shared joke with the rest of his colleagues. On the inside, it was a challenge to remain in his seat. "You won't find anything written about them in the papers outside the police blotter. At least nothing respectable."

"The AS is an underground organization of the city's prostitutes. For a small fee, it provides protection, allegedly. In reality, it's a Democratic Order of pimps." Perry deliberately kept his focus on Clark. His posture let the others know he wasn't in a joking mood and they quickly sobered. "Most of their members are in the Suicide Slums, quite literally on the wrong side of the tracks. Metropolis Rail Depot cuts the city in half. That's where you and Lois are going."

"What about me, chief?" The look Perry sent him made Jimmy shrink in his seat. It was worth a shot.

"Cat, I want that piece on Davy Montgomery. What are his people doing about keeping the Metropolis Museum open? Alice was looking forward to that banquet this year until they canceled it. Stick his balls in a vice if you have to, if I have to suffer for it so should he."

Jimmy avoided running in to Perry by staying out of sight until the man had gone back in his office. When he was certain he was in the all clear, he skulked his way over to Lois' desk to sit on the edge. As he watched her and Clark interact by the coffee machine, he let his fingers slide over to the folder the chief had given her. Looking around, he quickly flipped it open.

The sight of the first picture in the folder made the whistle die half formed on his lips. He sat there stunned for a full minute until Lois distracted him by slamming the folder shut. Glancing up at her surprised, he settled wide eyed further on her desk. "Sorry."

"Get lost, Jimmy." Her words lacked any hint of anger. Giving his shoulder a gentle shove, she sent him on his way. "Come on, Clark, we have work to do." Opting for a light shoulder bag only for essentials given the heat, Lois pulled out her hand fan. If she was going to hoof it across the city to the train depot, she really wasn't going to risk a heat stroke.

Instead of wandering off, Jimmy stuck close to Lois' desk. He knew she would take the file with her, but it didn't matter, he already saw what he needed to. The comforting hand on his shoulder drew his attention to the solid presence at his side. Looking to Clark, he pointed over his shoulder. "I, uh, have... Yeah." He started to walk away, but the hand remained. Shrugging it off, he stumbled towards the copy room to be alone.

Unbuttoning his suit jacket, Clark followed Lois to the elevator. He waited until the doors had closed before turning to her. "Those pictures must be pretty bad to make Jimmy..."

"Drop it, Kent." In no mood, Lois folded her arms over her chest. When he looked to press the matter, she handed him the folder. Let him do the research for once.

Clark quickly scanned the reports, saving the pictures for last. He may have been superman, but that didn't make him any less susceptible to the horror. Much to his confusion, the pictures were pretty tame in comparison to most crime scenes involving a body. "I still don't get it."

"I said drop it, Clark, I'm not asking. What do the reports tell you about the killer?" When the doors opened in to the lobby, Lois grabbed Clark by the arm and dragged him out. The heat was worse on the ground floor and it was making her irritable. Knowing her reputation, she was glad that people cleared a path for her. She would hate to have to delay investigating a story just because someone inconvenienced her by having to be killed for being annoying.

In a common state of confusion, at least where it concerned Lois, Clark allowed her to take out her frustration on him. He was durable, he could handle the extra strain. While she guided them, he decided to look through the folder again. The people in it were generally around the same age, early twenties. Male or female, that and being prostitutes seemed to be the only connecting factor.

Turning over the photos, he saw that on the backs of the right hands were brands. The two women had A's while the four men had S's. Had he not known it about the AS, he would have thought they stood for something else. Now that he did, he was inclined to agree with the police about the meaning. Of course, the police had clearly stated the part about the branding was not to be put in print or even hinted at.

Before he knew it, Clark was being shoved head first in to the back seat of a cab. Lois' purse was placed upon his lower back as she got in behind him. Slamming the door shut, she glared at the Cabby. "Touch the thermostat on that AC and you die. Take us to Metropolis Rail Depot and if you take the long route they won't find the body."

Clark didn't need X-ray vision to know the Cabby was visibly shaken by her. She should come with warning lights and a siren. Grabbing her purse off his ass, he pushed it in her general direction and sat up. He took a moment to fix his hair in the rear view mirror since the Cabby wasn't using it. As the cab jerked in to traffic, he made the obligatory swerving gestures with Lois to keep up appearances.

Lois slapped Clark on the arm when he rolled in to her lap during another jerk. "Can't you stay in your own seat, Smallville?" Pushing him off her, she ignored the hurt look on his face. The heat and traffic were too much for her to deal with without adding his hurt little feelings to it. When he continued to watch her, she reached in to her purse and handed him a conciliatory offering.

Taking the candy bar, Clark sighed. That was about as close as he was going to get to an apology from Lois, her stress chocolate. The fact that it was melted made all the difference, Lois loved warmed up chocolate bars. Pulling the warm chocolate in half, he handed part to Lois and a small piece to the Cabby. He could still hear his mother telling him to share.

Lois saw his actions and snorted. Leave it to Kent to do something so mundane. He probably had 'plays well with others' stamped in his file some where, she thought. Some day she really needed to get around to reading it. After all, she had gone to the trouble of breaking in to Perry's office and photo copying it. That memory perked her up, a successful B&E always made her feel warm and tingly inside.

By the time the cab had pulled over to let them out, Clark was thoroughly disgusted with himself. He was actually happy again, despite the fact that Lois was still... well, Lois. Smiling as he was forced to pay the Cabby because Lois was already on the move, he shook his head. He really was a whipping boy for her.

Coming up behind his partner, he frowned at her actions. She was glancing around slowly and it unnerved him. "What are you doing?"

"Casing the place." Reaching in to her hand bag, she pulled out a small camera and began taking pictures. Letting it hang from a wrist, she pulled out a pencil and paper, thus exhausting the contents aside from a small caliber handgun. Taking a few notes on dimensions and possible locations, she moved on away from the depot through the crowds.

"I thought we were going to interview some people, Lois." There had been that hope, but judging from what she said and the way she was acting, they weren't going to be doing any thing. He had begun to wonder just why she had brought him along. Rebounding off a couple of teenagers coming in to the train station, Clark adjusting his glasses to get a better look at them. "Why did you bring me?"

Smiling brightly, Lois grabbed Clark by the arm. "Relax, Kent, we are just two ordinary tourists just off the train, here to see the sights." Giving him her camera, she pushed him away. "Take my picture in front of this building and make it believable, I want the alley in the shot."

He had to force a tight smile on his face as he complied with her orders. So, she was using him as a beard, again. It wasn't the first time Lois had taken advantage of him, definitely wouldn't be the last. He just wished she would tell him these things before hand so he could be prepared. They were partners after all.

"Say cheese, honey." Heavy with sarcasm, he was surprised the words didn't leave grease trails. He was definitely glad that he was the one with heat vision from the look she was giving him with her eyes over the fake smile. "That's right, Lois, scare away the crowd."

"Quit being an idiot, Clark, we are here to have a good time." Speaking through gritted teeth, she chuckled as an elderly couple watched them. "Have you got the shot yet?"

Clark readjusted the linse to make a point. "Almost."

"Then hurry up!" When he fiddled with the linse again, she snapped. Face contorted in rage, she started towards him but the flash blinded her. Clutching at the spots in her vision, Lois growled. "You did that on purpose! When I can see again, Kent, you had better be long gone or so help me, I will..." She ran in to something solid that silenced her tirade. "Excuse me." Backing up blinking, she saw that it was in fact the object of her ire.

Faster than even he thought his alter ego could move, Clark was captured in her grip. Giving her what he hoped was a disarming grin, he handed her the camera back. "Hi, Lois."

Putting her purse down on the desk, Lois glared at the still wincing Clark. "Oh come off it, Kent, you weren't hurt. My camera, now that's a lost cause!" Who knew the boy from Kansas had such a hard gut? "Just to show you how generous I am, I won't charge you for the camera this time."

"You are so magnanimous, Lois, however shall I thank you?" What she had done could be construed as assault, but without any physical damage, it was his word against hers. Then again, he had known what he was doing by provoking the wild Lois and had brought her wrath upon him. In fact, it took a super effort to keep his face from cracking in a grin. Teasing her was one of the perks of being her partner.

Setting down the stack of files and photos down on Clark's desk in alarm, Jimmy shot Lois a glare. "You hit him with your camera, Lois?" When she nodded, he turned back to Clark with a sigh of disgust. "Have you gotten that looked at, CK?"

Taking his hand off his stomach, Clark waved if off. "Nah, I'm fine, Jimmy. She didn't hit me that hard."

"The hell she didn't, pardon my French." Taking charge of the situation since it looked like Clark wasn't going to be responsible, Jimmy pulled up his chair. Grabbing the older man by the shoulder, he pushed him down in to it. "Open your shirt so I can take a look. I've had some experience with Lois induced bruising."

Crossing her arms, Lois looked away with a scoff. "You're exaggerating, I have not once hit you."

"That's right, not once, but five times." Jimmy ignored the look he knew she was giving him. Working around Lois for any amount of time was like radiation exposure, you didn't have to see it to feel the effects. Instead, he knelt down in front of Clark. "Come on, Clark, open up."

"You don't have to, really. I am telling you, I'm fine." He tried to sit back and turn his chair to face his desk, but Jimmy spread his legs and moved between them. Eyes wide at the gesture, he didn't put up any resistance when Jimmy's nimble hands went for his buttons.

Throwing Clark's tie over his shoulder, Jimmy quickly set about undoing the button's on the reporter's shirt. When he had them open, he jerked up the tank top underneath to examine the skin. Jimmy frowned. There wasn't any discoloration what-so-ever. He became aware that other people were moving in to get a better look as well. Reaching out, he slid his fingers up Clark's abdomen to rest on his chest. "Flawless."

Hands tugging at the collar of her blouse, Cat groaned. "No arguments here." Seeing that Jimmy's hand wasn't moving, she felt a little let down. "May be you should check a little further over. She might have hit him in the side. Rub him good, deep tissue damage is hard to detect."

Both Clark and Jimmy looked at her.

"What the Sam Hell is going on here?" Coming out of his office to find his entire news room focused on something that wasn't their work, Perry started to get a head full of steam. The shit really hit the fan when he glanced over to the source of their interest. It took him three looks before it registered. "Great shades of Elvis! Jimmy!"

Jerking his hand back as if burned, Jimmy quickly stood and moved away from Clark. His cheeks brilliant red, he realized how it must have looked to everyone. Picking up his folders, he started for the stairs, but was caught by Perry. "Chief?"

"My office, now." The words were barely a whisper, but Perry got his feelings across. Looking away as Clark fixed up his clothes, he glared at the gathered staff. "Get your butts in gear, this is a newspaper, not a smut rag!"

Everyone, including Lois, suddenly found other things to do between casting guilty looks Clark's way.

Stalking back to his office, Perry slammed the door shut behind him. He ignored the jump of the younger man and took a seat behind his desk. Rubbing at the lower half of his face, he contemplated the picture of Alice on his desk for a while. After he had calmed a bit, he looked up at Jimmy.

Taking his life in his own hands, Jimmy gathered up the courage to speak. "Chief, I can..."

"Son, I think you need to take some time off." He held up a hand to forestall any more words from Jimmy. He wiped his face again before continuing. "I know you peeked at them photos I gave Lois and Clark. You're too close to this one, I want you to get some time away from here."

Swallowing, Jimmy looked away. The memory of the image caused him to pale. "I knew him."

"I know you did, that's why I kept you off it." Perry expected the sudden anger from the young man, that's why he didn't say anything when Jimmy slammed the folders on his desk.

"You can't do that, I won't let you do that. You let Lois investigate her past!" Leaning over the desk, he tried to express his anger without doing any real damage.

"She had Clark with her." Rising from his chair, Perry glared the younger man down. There was a difference between letting him express his anger and backing down. "Besides, she is a veteran news reporter, she knows how to handle herself and keep her head in dangerous situations."

"She learned that from experience! How am I supposed to become a reporter if you keep me locked up?" Jimmy knew he had gotten to the older man when he cast a quick glanced away. "I know these people, chief, I can empathize with them and get them to open up to me. That's what a really good reporter does."

"There's a difference between developing a report and losing yourself in a story! You are too close to this situation, so you're off this story, and that's final!" Sitting back down, Perry grabbed the cigar off his desk. When getting ready to light up, he looked back up at Jimmy. "In case I didn't make myself clear, you're now officially on vacation. Now, get out!"

"Yes, sir!" Giving a mocking salute, Jimmy marched from the editor's office. He slammed the door behind him, causing the blind to swing until it flew off the door. Jogging over to the steps, Jimmy went up them and to the elevators.

Adjusting his glasses, Clark went back to the files he had been previously pretending to read.

An old Cyndi Lauper tape in the player blaring across his speakers, Jimmy dried the last of the warm water from his leg before examining it in the bathroom light. Flawless. The word brought back mental images of running his hands up Clark's stomach. Closing his eyes, he put it from his mind and let his leg fall from the bathroom sink. Turning around, he grabbed the stocking from the back of the toilet and raised the other foot to the seat.

Putting on the nylon toe first, he unrolled it slowly. He had bought a new pair for that night after trying on two pair. Six years had seen a lot of changes in his size. When it had been pulled up over his thigh, he snapped the elastic collar on it. They were good stockings, not silk, but functional for his mission. Pulling on the other one was less of a chore as he knew how it would fit now. When he was through, he tugged down the skirt.

Tamping off the cigarette in the sink, he exhaled the last of his smoke. Waving it off, he was glad for the fan in the window sucking it out. He hadn't smoked in half a decade, but since he was getting back in to character, he might as well go the whole way.

Looking at his face in the mirror, he was happy to see the redness had dissipated. He had forgotten how much he hated using wax. There wasn't much in the way of stubble anyways, but any would detract from the illusion. After he ran a hand over the scull cap to make sure it was stuck tight, he picked up the black wig and tugged it on over his ears. After pulling out the bangs, he checked his appearance in multiple angles.

A quick body check forced the pushup bra in place under his white shirt. Reaching out, he took the tan jacket that matched his thigh length skirt off the hangar next to the shower and slipped it on. One button, the second from the bottom was done up. Jimmy slipped in to his heels, using the sink for balance. To finish off, he pulled on a pair of white silk gloves.

"Hello, Jacqueline, long time no see."

Tugging on the back hem of her miniskirt, Lois tumbled a little in her stilettos. Growling, she jerked the skirt down until it finally covered her ass again. Every time she walked, thanks to the heels, caused the skirt to ride up and show her ass. She was going to kill whoever designed the outfit whenever she got through with the story.

The snickering beside her made her cast a glare at Clark. He was walking her to the spot under the tracks from where the cab had let them out a few blocks back. At her look, he shut up. This was painful enough without him acting all sorts of pain in her ass. She didn't say anything, though, because Jimmy had been right and she shouldn't have hit Clark with her camera. Lois wouldn't call it guilt, but the feeling abated a little when his smile returned.

Under the Metrorail tracks was the location she had decided upon given her surveillance earlier. Without her camera, she had had to rely upon memory, but she was certain there had been ladies of the evening there. They were still a block away from the corner she needed to reach in order to see down the street to the streets under the rails when she saw the traffic. Apparently business was good in the redlight district of Suicide Slums.

"All right, Clark, this is where we part ways. You've done your service and I don't need your help any longer." Putting up an overly done hand, she took a second to study her inch long fake nails with disgust before continuing on. "If you must watch, I suggest you stay out of sight."

Watching her sashay down the street with difficulty on her new heels, Clark felt his face split in a wide grin. "Oh, don't worry, you won't see me at all."

Upon reaching the street corner, Lois stuck a piece of gum in her mouth and began to chew it with her mouth open. Tugging her skirt up a little higher, she pushed up her breasts, and grinned. "Show time." Stepping out on to the street corner, she walked towards the gathering of cars and women. She wouldn't do anything, but it would be great for the article if she tried it out.

At first, she noticed several people watching her. It was to be expected. Whenever you introduced a new animal in to an environment, the others were bound to take notice. They would sniff her out, try and get a feel for her, but in the end she would be accepted. She always was.

It was after that things started going off course. It wasn't the men in the cars who were watching her close. In fact, more than a few of the 'working girls' whistled at her. She smiled politely, but turned her interest towards the cars. The men should be stopping and looking at her any second.

Any second.

After a few minutes, she had reached the end of the street where it terminated under the tracks. Disappointed, she started back up the street and stopped near a group of reasonable looking women. Leaning back against the wall, she frowned. "Why aren't they looking at me?" She had meant it as a rhetorical question.

"You a reporter?" Sizing Lois up with her eyes, a short black woman in a long lime green pleather jacket grinned.

Lois started to shake her head, but the knowing gazes of the women around her made her nod. "How'd you know? Usually it takes people a couple days to figure it out."

In answer, the woman pointed across the street. At first, she thought she was seeing a double. It took her several blinks to realize it wasn't her standing there. "Who is that?"

"That's Lois Lani, with an I." Coming to stand on Lois' other side, a short blonde woman with a pink skirt and yellow top grinned. "You're real popular with the queens. Last week we had seven different versions of you on this street alone."

"If you want to go undercover, sugar, you gotta pick a profession that don't pay attention to the pictures in the newspapers." The black woman flicked at Lois' hair. With a sound of approval, she twisted her head a little. "Mmm mmm, mmmmm. Lovely, absolutely beautiful. Another thing, you're too pretty to be down here. If you wanted people to believe you're really a gal with prospects, you gotta go where the others of your caliber go. Chez Almassy Du Rique."

Huffing, Lois let her shoulders slump. "Damn. Well, you ladies mind if I hang out here for a while, it's kind of important."

"This about them fundamentalists nuts? Go right ahead." The blonde woman gestured to the wall beside Lois. "If you can get the police to do something about this aside from cleaning up the mess, we'll save you a spot right here along the wall of fame."

A few chuckles spread out among the ladies.

The black woman was about to say something, but a passing car caught her attention. "Okay, Ladies, look sharp. Code blue, I repeat, code blue." At her words, most of the women started to walk off in pairs of two or three.

Lois watched them go in surprise. She was about to ask what was going on until several cars with flashing lights came rushing around the corner she had first entered the street on. Eyes wide, she looked around for any place to hide. To her shock, most of the street was empty, only a few women remained on her side and an equal amount remained on the men's side.

She started to make a run for it, but the heel on her left stiletto went through the grate under her and she fell on her ass. Twisting the shoe, she tried to get it unstuck, but a car pulled up in front of her. As the driver got out, Lois glanced up and frowned. "Hi. Would you believe I was working on an assignment?"

The police officer drew a baton.

On top of a building across the street, Superman watched with undisguised glee as Lois had her hands forced behind her and shackled together in handcuffs.

Unlit cigarette in hand, Jimmy came around the final corner, the familiarity of the place coming back to him. In the six years since he had left, it hadn't changed a bit. That was the surprising part, considering how often Metropolis adapted to a new style. Sticking out his long legs until he was certain his ass was moving with each step, he continued on. More than a few people watched him pass with open mouths.

It was still light out enough that he wore the big, black circle sunglasses. The white hat with black strap matched his bag, heels, and gloves. Four years on the streets had taught a girl how to dress. He counted the alleys until he reached the seventh, the heart of the street. Turning to the four men in various dresses standing there smoking, he cleared his throat. "Any of you girls have a light?" He held up the cigarette.

The tallest of them all, a black man in a backless red dress and platinum curls looked at Jimmy with disdain for a moment. Upon taking in the complete ensemble, he snorted. "If it ain't Ms. Onassis, former first lady of the board walk. Honey, I think you made a wrong turn some where, old white bitches go down the street, not up it."

"I realize you have a short memory, Ms. Manners, but surely six years isn't that long." Taking off his glasses, Jimmy folded them promptly and placed them in the leather bag. Blinking the hair out of his eyes, he straightened the wig. "Hello, Momma Bedeaux."

Curling up his fan, Ms. Manners stalked over to Jimmy. Grabbing him by the chin, he forced the young man's jaw up then side to side. "You've grown, little girl."

"It happened to people my age." He bared the scrutiny with unflinching airs. This had been expected and he wanted it to go off without a hitch. When his face was released, he rubbed at the slightly sore flesh. Ms. Manners still had a hell of a grip.

Snorting, Ms. Manners walked back over to her corner of the building. Snapping open the fan, she began to sweep it over her face and chest. "What brings you back here, Jacqueline?"

"Marie Anne." Lighting up his own cigarette, Jimmy frowned at the flavor. He would let it burn itself out, after six years, it still tasted like dog shit. "I saw the pictures. What happened, Momma?"

"I don't know what you're talking about. Marie Anne doesn't exist to me any more." Dropping his own cigarette, Ms. Manners stomped it flat. "Stupid little bitch broke my one rule, my one! As far as I'm concerned, Marie Anne died that night of an over dose!"

Looking down, Jimmy closed his eyes. He and Marie hadn't been close, but they had grown up together. Ms. Manners had only one rule, no drugs. If he caught you with them, you were out on the streets permanently. "What about Mario Lezano?"

Ms. Manners waited until after he had lit up another cigarette before looking to Jimmy. Huffing out the cloves and herb smoke towards Jimmy, his face contorted in a faux humor. "If you want to find out what happened to Mario, you can go visit his pimp down on Shadeland. But I suggest you wait a few days, police picked him up in a raid this afternoon."

Nodding, Jimmy put back on his sunglasses. He was about to go, but stopped. "Thank you, Momma Bedeaux."

"For what, any rag on the street coulda told you where to find that trash. As far as I'm concerned, those fundies did me a favor." Stomping her second cigarette, Ms. Manners led the group of four up the steps beside them and back inside the club.

Jimmy longed to go up there with them. He could recall the exhilaration of the act, the smell of the perfume and outfits. Tugging his jacket collar closer, he headed for Shadeland Avenue.

There was less traffic on the street ahead than he could remember. Using the cigarette smoke to detract from the smell, he blew out through his nostrils. It worked to sufficiently deaden the stench for a few breaths. He knew from experience that the air would clear once he actually got out on the strip, but the alleys leading to it were filled with refuse from the workers. Speaking of which, he had to make use of his long legs to step over a rather pungent pile of rags and used condoms. Obviously someone's work space.

Coming out on to the street, he drew a few heads, but most had seen his type before. At five ten barefooted, six in heels, he was by no means a giant among the south side of the street's inhabitants, but the north side would be hard pressed to match him. It was the one thing he missed about the heels, they gave him an extra inch or in this case, two. Scanning over the edge of his sunglasses, he checked out the competition for that night.

There were fewer than expected. It explained the lack of clients. Walking towards what appeared to be a clean stoop, he reached in to his bag and pulled out a cloth and wiped away the steps. Before he could sit down, though, a red pump was placed in his way. Jimmy glanced over the top of his sunglasses at the man in front of him.

Standing a half a foot shorter in a red dress, the man's only claim to drag was his dress and shoes. His hair was scraggly and the day old growth of facial hair gave him a haggard look. "This spot ain't free, miss!"

Jimmy cast a look between the man and his shoe twice before pushing his sunglasses back up his nose. Reaching a white gloved hand out, he quickly grabbed the man's ankle and twisted it until he felt something give. As the man gave a high pitched shriek, he used the man's leg to shove him away. Taking out his cloth again, he wiped the steps a second time. When he had spread it over the steps, Jimmy flattened his dress to his thighs and sat back with his knees closed.

He wasn't surprised no one had moved to help the downed man. Few helped those who were outside their click here. On the upside, he drew a few more heads now. If he could gain a few contacts, it would move him that much closer to the story. When that happened, he might get some evidence that might actually help the police. The Chief was known for it, Lois had done it in the past, CK had done it recently, it was his turn.

Speaking of his turn.

For a moment, Jimmy pretended he didn't notice the black four door sedan that had pulled up in front of him. It was large, definitely a late model, but the body was well preserved and the engine purred quietly as it idled. This was someone who really liked his car, that meant he knew what he liked and was willing to pay to get it. Several of the others were already starting to move in.

He had several options open to him. He could continue pretending he didn't notice the car had stopped directly in front of him. That would make him look suspicious, but it also might gain him some friends from the more competitive men. That option wasn't his favorite because those who were more competitive didn't reveal secrets unless they got something substantial. His other options involved actually going up to the car and what he did after.

Rising from the steps, he strolled passed a slower hustler, but didn't take his eye off him. They liked to trip the competition and pretend it was an accident. Before he reached the car, another man in a short skirt and blonde wig had beat him to it. Jimmy knew the man on the other side of the glass wouldn't open the window for him, no matter what he tried. When he was close enough, Jimmy grabbed the blonde wig and tossed it in down the side walk. He wasn't above being a bitch if it suited him.

His kind of dress invited only a certain type of clientele, men who liked sophisticated looking partners. That severely limited his client base, but if he was good at his act and did what they said, he was guaranteed a handsome pay and steady work. If he could find a john worth the risk. Usually, men who had the kind of money needed for him dealt exclusively with handlers. The type that frequented Shadeland were usually black balled from the handlers' lists because they had damaged the merchandise, thus the risk.

He smiled. Handlers were just high classed pimps, which meant they took a larger percent of the cut. He knew the business before he even set foot out on the street. Mother Olsen didn't raise a fool.

Looking down in to the car as the window lowered, Jimmy schooled his voice to a rougher version. The cigarettes he had been smoking in preparation for this helped a great deal. "Are you lost?"

"Actually, I'm looking for someone." Taking in Jimmy's appearance, the man behind the wheel gave him a sly smile. "You wouldn't happen to know where I can find this someone, would you?"

"That depends, but it will cost you." And there it was, his offer was on the table.

"I got plenty of cash, that's not a problem." Patting his hip for emphasis, the man licked his lips in anticipation. "How about you get in and show me around?"

"That would be acceptable." Opening the door when the man had unlocked it, Jimmy scanned it to make sure he could pull open the lock if necessary before getting in. Couldn't be too careful. He cast a quick look in to the interior before he sat in the leather seat. "Beautiful car, it must have cost you a small fortune." Rule three of being picked up by a car enthusiast, compliment the automobile.

After he had rolled up the window, the man lovingly stroked the gear shift. "You have no idea." He threw it in to first and flew down the street.

Half an hour later, they were pulling up to the curb again, the man with a dazed, but happy look on his face. Finishing his lipstick, Jimmy put the cap on. He stuck it and the compact back in his bag before leaning over to press a quick kiss to the man's cheek. The man had said no visible reminders so he wet his glove with his tongue and wiped away the lipstick his kiss had left.

"Thank you for a wonderful time. If you feel like doing it again sometime, I'll be around for a few days. Ciao." Climbing out of the car, the wad of fives rolled up in the left cup of his bra made up for the ache between his legs.

He closed the door gentle enough not to cause any damage. Rule number six of being picked up by a car enthusiast, treat the car like precious china. The man had been exactly as his car, wild and spitfire under a sleek older model exterior. That was one back seat that his ass would have an impression of for a while. Jimmy snorted, middle aged men and their fantasies.

Wiping at the corners of his mouth as the man left, he waved to him. He was happy to see the man return his wave in the rear view mirror. Always good to have a job well done. That just proved he still had it, even after eight years of being off the market.

The street held more people than when he had left. The sun had gone down over the tracks, but there was still enough daylight to qualify as evening. A quick look about him told him that he had earned a few enemies with his stunt. No skin off his back.

Walking back to his post, Jimmy felt for the first time a niggling of doubt. For starters, it had been too easy to slip back in to this life. Everything about it spoke of long years of practice. Spinning, he sat down on the steps and let the cement beneath him take away his fears. He was alone in this, that was okay, he could deal. It wasn't exactly the first time.

According to the Chief, he was off for the next two weeks, at least that gave him plenty of time to develop a report with his subjects. Realistically, Jimmy knew he probably wouldn't get anything from the whores and hustlers, but he had to try. If nothing else, he could come away from this with some experience, and may be, a story.

Any plans he might have had for a story evaporated when he caught sight of a familiar figure walking the street examining the men. Slowly, he reached in to his bag and pulled out a book. In this profession, there was a lot of time to kill, romance novels were a welcome distraction. There was a slim chance he would be recognized in his disguise, but it always helped to have a little smoke screen. Holding up the book to cover his face, he stuck the book mark between his teeth to hold it.

A throat cleared in front of him.

Slowly, Jimmy lowered the book. The familiar face of Clark Kent met his gaze. He raised an eyebrow in question, not daring to use his own voice. With the sunglasses, he could hide pretty well. The hat and wig also hid any chance of discovery, or so he hoped.

"I know it's you, so you can cut the act." Clark leaned over the arm rail on the steps next to Jimmy. His own glasses slid a little and he used the extra space to examine the younger man closely. "Really, I never would have suspected this of you. Considering your past, I'm not surprised you did it this way, but it's a little much. Though, I have to admit, it's an attractive look for you."

Sighing, Jimmy pulled off his sunglasses and spit out the book mark. "How did you know where to find me, CK? Please, tell me Perry isn't that angry with me."

Jaw hanging open, Clark nearly slipped off the rail. Recovering, he cleared his throat a second time. "Whoa, I mean, that's... Wow! I thought you were Lois!"

Jimmy snorted. "Don't let her hear you say that." He cast about, looking for prying ears. Seeing that they were at the center of attention due to a lull in the activity, he grabbed Clark by the tie and jerked him down on the steps. When Clark started to shout his objection, Jimmy silenced him with a finger to his lips. "Keep it down, I'm undercover."

Adjusting his clothes to put them back in order after his sudden change in position, Clark spun so he could sit on the steps next to Jimmy. It wasn't a very comfortable position he had been in, but it would have looked suspicious if he hadn't allowed Jimmy to do it. Some times he hated having to hide his secret identity more than ever. When he felt settled enough to start the interrogation, he leaned in to whisper in Jimmy's ear. "What do you think you are doing here? Perry will kill you, hell, Lois will kill you when she finds out."

"They're are not going to find out because we aren't going to tell them." He tried to sound confident, but the look Clark gave him said he clearly wasn't buying it. Nervously, Jimmy reached out a hand to trail along Clark's collar. When he reached the older man's tie, he jerked it tight. "Listen up, Kent, I'm only going to say this once, butt out!"

Taking his tie back from Jimmy, he smiled. "Nice impression, Jimmy, but you're no Lois." Really, it had been first class, but it just lacked the same authority when there wasn't any real threat behind it.

Knowing his chance was busted, Jimmy sulked down on the steps. There had to be a way to convince Clark to keep his mouth shut. "If you try to take me out of here, I will scream rape."

"No, you won't." By now, Clark had begun to notice all the attention they were causing. He wasn't quite sure why, but he slung his arm over Jimmy's shoulders to keep up the illusion. "Since we both know what is going to happen now, help me find Lois. She was on the other side of the street when I left her earlier, now she isn't there any more."

Slumped down, Jimmy put back on his sunglasses. Thinking over Clark's words as he scanned the street for her, something occurred to him. "Wait a minute, CK, what time did Lois come down here?"

"About two hours ago, why?" He already knew the answer, the very thought of it made his insides turn to jelly and he want to squeal like a little girl in delight. Lois thrown in jail for being a prostitute, oh the irony of that situation. She always said she was willing to do anything to get a good story, but that was taking the cake.

"They arrested a bunch of hustlers, pimps, and hookers earlier in a sting. Most got away, but a few stayed behind to keep up the appearance that they hadn't been tipped off. May be she got picked up. As a newby, they wouldn't have trusted her enough to warn her." Jimmy gestured at the people milling about waiting for their next tricks. "That's why there aren't many people out tonight. Some times the pigs... I mean police, come back."

"You sound like you speak from experience." The words were out of Clark's mouth before he had time to think about it. Considering his track record, he was doing a lot of that lately around his colleagues and it was becoming a bad habit. He decided to do a little damage control before it was too late. Tightening his arm around Jimmy's shoulders, he leaned in closer. "Sorry, I didn't mean that as I said it. I, just, you are a very knowledgeful young man."

"I'm twenty-one, CK, not fifteen." Looking out over the filthy street, Jimmy shuddered. "At least not any more." Leaning his head on to Clark's shoulder, Jimmy slid his own arm around the older man's chest. It wasn't fair, no one deserved to have to live like this. "But there's a difference between knowing this and having to live it. I got out before it was too late, Perry helped with that a lot. That's why you can't tell him, I don't want to hurt him."

"Jimmy." He wanted to say something, but Clark couldn't really come up with anything appropriate. The younger man knew what he was doing was wrong, but it was his life. Closing his eyes, Clark laid his head on top of Jimmy's, or attempted to. The hat got in the way so he slipped it off. "I want you to be safe, and being out here isn't, far from it, in fact."

"Then you will just have to keep a close eye on me, won't you." Slipping his free hand in to his blouse, Jimmy pulled out the roll of fives. He put them in Clark's hand. "Here, take this and head off. Make sure you let the others see it before you put it out of sight, it will give me street cred."

"What?" Clark stared at the money in his hand in confusion. It took him a moment to realize what it meant. "Tell me you didn't earn this money out here."

"Anything for a story, Clark." He gasped as Clark's arm tightened hard enough to make it impossible to breath. In response, he slapped at Clark's back until the other man let go. "Jeeze, give a guy some room to breathe, CK."

"You prostituted yourself out, Jimmy! What the hell were you thinking?" Instead of waiting for a response, he stood up, yanking Jimmy along with him. "I'm not letting you do this, it's too dangerous!"

"I know what I'm doing!" Jimmy tried to twist his way free of the older man, but his grip was like steel. He tried to bring his knee up to put it between them, but Clark's hand was suddenly there. The hold on his leg had him falling in to Clark until he was straddling the older man's thigh. Thinking quickly, he wrapped his free arm around Clark's neck and leaned in until they were almost touching.

Their sudden proximity caused the older man to frown. He didn't care for Jimmy's excuses and nothing was going to stop him from taking Jimmy out of there. Except what Jimmy did next.

Crushing his lips to Clark's, Jimmy took advantage of the other man's paralysis to wrap his entire body around the older man. Clark had to let his arm go in order to maintain a balance and Jimmy used it to pull himself up so that his legs could completely straddle his waist. Now that his face was actually above Clark's, Jimmy smiled down against his lips. "Want to do it here on the steps where they can watch? I'm wearing a jock, so you can have easy access." In the next heart beat, Jimmy found himself on the ground.

Clark stood there speechless. Never in all his life had anyone treated him in such a way. Part of his upbringing knew just what to call Jimmy to make him hurt in retaliation for what he had done. There were several words for it, but they all meant the same thing. Part of him wanted to yell at Jimmy and rage at him for his actions.

Kneeling down, Clark stuck out his hand to other man. Taking Jimmy's hand in his own without asking, he pulled him to his feet. He stuck around long enough to dust the younger man off, before stalking off.

Red faced, Jimmy took the time to fix his hair and pull back on his hat before reaching in to the purse to get his compact. He had to reapply his lipstick and remove a couple smudges from his cheek before his look was back in place. It was a mask, flawless in appearance. He was Jacqueline, First Lady of Boardwalk.

Limping back to his steps, he hadn't realize any damage had been done until he started to walk. Clark sure was strong. He had hurt him physically, but that was okay, he got what he wanted. More than a few of the heads he had turned earlier were now ignoring him. He was one of them now.

Dear Reesie Jones is an advice column subject to trademark of the Metropolis Rising Star.

Dear Reesie,

Recently, a colleague of mine took a very dangerous job. I'm not quite sure he is ready for this one, but he's determined to prove he can handle it. He has some experience in regards to this job, but I'm not sure it's enough for him to make it on. Another colleague, one with more experience in these matters, had taken on this job, but due to circumstances, is unable to help. I didn't worry about her safety as I knew she could handle herself, but with him, it is different. He's not like other young men his age, he's, I dunno, special. I guess my main problem with his taking on this job is that I worry about him, probably more than I should.

If you can advise me on how to handle this, I would really appreciate it.

CapeFan, Metropolis.

Dear CapeFan,

You sound rather attached to this young man. Is he aware of your feelings regarding him? If not, tell him, everyone deserves to know they are cared about, may be that is what might make the difference. If he does know, then perhaps his need for self discovery is greater than the friendship you have with him. Insecurity can be a powerful weapon against common sense and makes people do many silly things.

All I can say is be there for him, watch over him from a distance in case he might need your help. Let him make his own mistakes, but make sure he sees your helping hand in case he should need it to get back on his feet. We all have to make our own way through life, but few young people understand that at times it is okay to rely on another person to help you through the more difficult phases. The best thing, right now, is to be patient, he might surprise you.

Love and Strength,

Reesie Jones.

Lois slammed the paper down with a sound of disgust. Rolling her eyes, she turned her head to glare at the woman who was leaning against her shoulder, snoring. They had all been issued jail brand orange jump suits 'for their own protection'. Her particular brand of unsightly clothes included a too tight white tank top, underwear and white boxers. They said she wouldn't need shoes and frankly, after a night in those stilettos, she wasn't really complaining.

On top of the fashion disaster, they had subjected her to a Metropolis Rising Star instead of an edition of the Daily Planet. That was just plain torture, the Rising Star barely qualified as a tabloid in comparison. The cover story wasn't even worth a look of derision. Sewer gas causes mass hallucinations of the Virgin Mary. The only reason the paper qualified as news was the fact the story was true. Jimmy had covered it the week before for a filler piece they had never used because something more interesting had happened.

Superman had been spotted with a boner.

That had been a picture she had laminated and blown up for her bedroom wall. Of course, as a respectable paper they couldn't really show it, but the page length of responses to it had made up for it's loss. From scientists discussing his anatomy to the women who claimed to have had a close encounter. A disclaimer had saved the paper from a lawsuit, but still, that had been crude of Perry to post. No one was closer to Superman than her, she would have known if someone had had sex with him.

She still hadn't been quite sure why Jimmy was paying so close attention to the man of steel's iron bar, but she was ever so grateful.

Groaning when the cell door at the end of their block was slammed, Lois sat up. She noted with disgust that the hooker she had been locked in with had just fallen over instead of waking up. "Some people can sleep anywhere." Then again, it wasn't really a surprise the woman was asleep, she had been a regular chatty cathy doll the night before.

That wasn't something she had enjoyed.

The woman had gleefully informed Lois about the arrangements they had with the vice squad. Since she had no actual corroboration from anyone, it was useless to her. The bare bones of the deal was, a few of them would be arrested to keep the mayor's conservative critics happy. They would spend a few hours to a few days in the lock up on uncle Sam's dollar; food, clothes, shelter and plenty of rest without being booked. Then, when the heat had blown over, they would be released, no harm done. They took turns being arrested to make sure no one with responsibilities got taken in without their responsibilities being taken care of for them. IE, no kid left without adult supervision while her mom was in the clink.

The woman had actually been looking forward to it, making Lois sick with her enthusiasm. She said it was as close to a vacation as she got. Considering the woman's life, Lois could sympathize. It was bad enough being a woman reporter, she couldn't imagine what it was like to be a sexual object and nothing more.

The buzzer sounded to let her know the outer door to the block was opening. From all the immediate activity, she could tell it was some form of alarm clock for the women. Rolling her eyes, she walked over to her part of the cell and grabbed the towel they had given her. Waiting for the guard to come and unlock her cell door, she plotted the article she was going to write when she got out. It was going to be a long four days.

Yawning as he stepped off the elevator, Clark put a hand to his mouth. It had been a long night. He had stayed up far enough away that no one could see him when traveling, but kept to the roof tops when stationary. Watching Jimmy to make sure he didn't get in to any trouble had proven a full night job. When he had gotten home, the time Jimmy had returned to his own home, the sun was almost up over the horizon. If it wasn't for the fact he had very flexible hours during a major story like this, he wouldn't have made it at all.

Unlike humans, Clark didn't really require sleep, but he had developed a need for it. He had found during his college days, that life was simpler for someone who didn't sleep. But that had cost him in the end, throwing off his internal sense of self. Ever since, he had bowed to his psychological need for sleep.

The office was rather slow for a midweek afternoon. They had only an hour before the paper was due to launch the afternoon edition, things should have been in a near panic. Ever since he had moved to Metropolis, things had gotten stranger for him. Coming down the steps in to the main office, he saw no one around. Even Perry's office was empty.

Groaning, Clark walked over to his own desk. He checked the machine for messages, found nothing. He searched for paper messages, but remembered that Jimmy was out so he would have to go down to reception and get them himself. That left his articles. Everything the chief had given him to do was caught up, Lois' articles would have to wait until she was released. On that thought, he picked up a scrap of paper and jotted down the message for Perry.

After he had finished it, Clark yawned again and walked in to Perry's office. He left the note on top of the stack of folders and wandered out. He was at the elevators before he realized that he hadn't even been there for five minutes. Talk about flexible hours, he mused. Stepping on to the lift car as the doors opened, he hit lobby. The doors closed as the doors to the second elevator opened.

The crowd was almost a rush to get back to their desks. The impromptu lunch that Perry had treated them to since most of his reporters were out had revitalized the printing and editing staff. Perry himself was patting his stomach while lamenting the thinness of his credit card. Certainly that waitress had been too handy with that swiping machine, and a little too eager to determine her own tip. It had been worth it, though.

Entering his office, he caught the lingering smell of Clark's cologne. Glancing over to Clark's desk, he found it empty. He frowned and walked over to his own desk. On top of it was a note in neat scrawl. Closing his eyes as he rubbed at his temples. Taking a relaxing breath, he counted to fifty before walking to his door. He was about to call on Jimmy, but the young man was also absent. Slamming his door, he stomped over to the phone and picked it up. "Slaterly, meet me down at the Fifty-third's station house. Yeah, it's Lois again."

Having done his daily good deed, Clark flew a quick sweep of the city. It wasn't exactly the busiest time of day given that it was almost a hundred degrees out and fast approaching the hottest time of day. The temperature didn't effect him, but that didn't mean he couldn't feel the heat. In fact, he enjoyed the high heat levels. Spinning over to face the sun with his head pillowed on his arms, he lazily flew in a circular orbit of Metropolis.

He was waiting for the one sound above all others, that distinctive shrill cry of Jimmy's alarm. It wasn't the first time he had heard it. Jimmy having set it off by accident when he was setting it last night gave him the tone of it. Now, he would know what it sounded like no matter where he was. He was going to have a serious talk with the boy this time, there was no getting over it.

Frowning, Clark retraced his thoughts. He had mentally called Jimmy a boy. Jimmy wasn't a boy, he was a grown man. That was the center of his problem, he didn't think of Jimmy as anything more than a child to be protected. He was his little shadow, keeping peace between the staff and serving in whatever fashion need be. His normal self appreciated Jimmy for what he was, but could not reconcile what he knew to be true with what he had accepted to be true.

None of that mattered a bit in the face of the fact that Jimmy was risking his life unnecessarily. Which was the whole point of his being there. The moment he heard the alarm go off, Clark released a sigh of relief. Any more of the waiting and he would have had to do something about it. Putting on extra speed in case he was spotted, Clark shot down to an alley behind Jimmy's building.

He quickly changed his clothes and walked out on to the sidewalk. The area Jimmy current lived in wasn't much better than the streets of what he had come to know as Suicide Slums. For that matter, it wasn't much better than his own digs either. Smiling sheepishly, Clark rang the buzzer for Jimmy's building.

There was a few minutes wait before an old woman in a smock came strolling out, her pockets full of bird seed. He didn't bother to say anything about her scowl, his actions were perfectly justified, in his opinion. Who got angry for just having to answer the door?

Slipping passed her, he put a little super in to his step to avoid any retaliation she might see fit to dole out. Who knew what little ladies in the city did to boys they thought louts? The insides of the building were about what he expected, run down and in need of a serious paint job. At least it didn't leak and smell funny like his apartment did. Another thing he would have to ask Jimmy, how much did he pay for rent?

Finally, he came upon Jimmy's door and reached out to knock. Much to his surprise, Jimmy threw open the door before he could. For a minute all he could do was stare at the younger man in shock. Jimmy was already half way dressed for the night, in silk stockings, thong, and bra. Pulling his hand back, he ran in it through his hair in nervousness. "Uh, hi, Jimmy. Can I come in?"

Anger apparent in his features, Jimmy grabbed Clark by the tie and jerked him in the apartment. That was fast becoming a habit with him, one he enjoyed. "What do you think you're doing here, CK?" After he closed the door, Jimmy strutted his way back to the bathroom. The unnatural placement of the thong made walking an adventure.

When he had adjusted his tie, Clark cleared his throat. How did you speak to someone you considered a kid while they stood half naked in drag? Sighing, he decided to just lay it out as he had been thinking about it. Closing his eyes, Clark found it easier to speak without having to see Jimmy. "What you are doing is wrong. Not because sex for money is wrong, which I'm not quite sure about and it's definitely illegal, but because you are putting yourself in danger."

"You do the same every time you get a good story, CK. I won't stop just because you think I am at risk. We are all at risk just breathing these days; because of the heat, pollution is up." Picking his dress up off the bed, Jimmy slid the black strapped number up his legs before slipping his arms through the straps. The black silk thong, bra, and stockings had been a purchase last night from his earnings. It felt good to be in silk again, even if he was wearing a thong.

Pulling the sides down until it clung comfortably to his body, he gave a half spin to force it up. The dress refused to budge. "Perfect." Walking in to the bathroom, he caught Clark watching him. That wasn't a problem either. In the bathroom he slipped on a different wig this time, one with longer hair that had two braids pulled to the back and held in place with a clasp. Walking out in a pair of black stilettos, Jimmy did a spin for Clark. "What do you think?"

Swallowing, Clark coughed to hide his embarrassment from having been caught watching. He eyed Jimmy for a second before shaking his head. "You shouldn't be doing this, Jimmy."

Jimmy slipped on a pair of elbow length black gloves he had and picked up his black purse from the counter top. "Will you walk me to the corner, Clark? It would do my image well to have my... boyfriend escort me." Seeing that Clark was about to react negatively, Jimmy crossed the distance between them and slid his hand around Clark's elbow. "I am this close to gaining their trust, CK. Another night, may be two, and they will be willing to discuss the murders. If you want, I will keep you apprised of everything I learn. We can even share the bi-line."

Clark watched him in astonishment. How could Jimmy not see what was so wrong about this? Finally, he had to bite his own need to interfere and decide to let Jimmy live his own life. Placing his hand over Jimmy's, he led them to the door. Opening it, he let the younger man go through first. "All right, I'll go along with this for now, but you get to explain this to Perry."

"Later." Swallowing, Jimmy gave a nervous chuckle. "Much later."

Standing in the squad room of the Fifty-third precinct, Perry sipped at the truly terrible coffee. It was even worse than the crap that Lois made at the Daily Planet, which was why she was banned from touching the machine except to get her own. He was tempted to believe the rumor she spiked the coffee with something god awful just to get out of having to make it. He wouldn't put it passed the tenacious woman.

Sitting in a chair across from him, John Slaterly, the Daily Planet's legal defense team leader, nursed his Luther's Finest. It cost a dollar more than the massmarket stuff, but was well worth it in his opinion. They were currently waiting for the arrival of one Lois Lane with the station's Captain. Speaking of which, he glanced to the older woman with a put upon sigh. "It's been fifteen minutes, Gail, where the hell is she?"

"Keep your pants on, John or you'll be joining her." Movement at the cell doors caught her eye and Gail raised a hand to gesture them forwards. "We got her here now." Rising from her desk, she watched them escort what appeared to be Lois Lane in, but something was off. Something she couldn't quite figure out.

Face coloring in anger, Perry shook his head. "Great shades of Elvis! Now I've seen everything. Just how many Lois look-a-likes are there?" His question was aimed at the man in Lois drag.

Crossing his arms, the Lois impersonator gave him a patented Lois glare. "There are six Lois look-a-likes, but there is only one true Lois Lane, and you're looking at her."

Clapping, John rose from his chair. "That's the spit fire, but I'm afraid not our spit fire. Sorry for wasting your time, Gail."

Sighing, Perry rubbed at his forehead. There was something off about this. Clark had never deliberately lied to him. Then again, he wasn't too sure it had been Clark, despite the smell of the cologne and the signature. Still, it begged the question, if Lois wasn't there, where was she?

Gail jerked her head to the cell doors. "Take her back."

The Lois impersonator glared at them, but walked back with the guard. "If any of you see that hunk of space man, tell him Lois is looking to give him a personal interview!"

Perry looked to the heavens, this one was just like her. "Oh brother."

Jimmy sipped at the tea carefully so as not to smear his lipstick on the rim of the glass. Across from him, he watched the increasingly uncomfortable Clark with amusement. Pitching his tone lower, more throaty, he gave voice to his observations. "Which upsets you more, being seen in public with me this way or just being seen in general?"

"In general. There is no risk to my reputation, but yours might be tarnished after this." Feeling a little more at ease, Clark picked up his toast and bit the end off. The bistro they were eating at was close to the train station, thus was spruced up for tourists despite the proximity to the bad side of town. He had been hoping against hope that Jimmy would change his mind the longer they were together, but nothing seemed to be working. "I am surprised you can do this sort of thing."

"It comes as second nature after a while, CK. There are a lotta things you learn to deal with and accept when you get down to it." Jimmy eyed Clark's lasagna but decided not to risk it. He had already had a cucumber sandwich with olives and he couldn't risk taking the chance. He glanced up to see Clark watching him eye the food and grinned. "Ordinarily you couldn't keep me away, but I have to keep up my girlish figure now."

Snorting, Clark shook his head. The absurdity was just too much. Between sharing looks they started to chuckle. "You know, I never did catch your name. What do you call yourself now?"

"Jacqueline." He waited until Clark was drinking his soda before he finished. "Onassis. Jacqueline Onassis, First Lady of Shadeland Avenue." The spray effect was great and would have hit him were he not prepared and had raised the plate to block it. As it was, some shot off and pelted a passing couple. Hearing the hiss of annoyance, Jimmy picked up his sunglasses and slipped them on. Taking his drink, he ignored the woman as she stalked up to the table.

At first, Cat Grant was going to stab the bitch's eyes out for squirting her with a drink. That was until she saw who the woman was sitting with. Then she was going to gouge her eyes out for sitting with Clark. Taking the offered napkin from a severely contrite Clark, Cat rubbed at her hot pink mini skirt and pleather tube top. "Clark, how unexpected, yet pleasant to see you."

Rubbing a second napkin at her skirt where more of his soda had lingered, Clark quickly tried to remove it. "Cat! I am so sorry! I didn't mean to, Ji... Jacqueline here said something unexpected." He didn't have to look over to see that Jimmy wasn't paying any attention to either him or Cat.

Eyes narrowed, Cat regarded what she assumed to be her competition. "She's a little on the muscular side, eh, Clark?" Grabbing his hand as it slid up her dress, she tried to force him to go down and touch her leg. When he let her go, she sighed. "What would Lois think?"

"She wouldn't, she's locked up right now." Cheeks still a little pink, Clark tried to wipe the 'slut' off his hand on to his napkin. Catching himself, he was surprised by the level of bitchy he was practicing. There was nothing wrong with Cat as a person, she was comfortable in her sexuality and he in his. What bothered him was the fact she couldn't accept he wasn't interested. "Perry should be down there getting her out now."

"That's a shame, she could use a little bondage play, it might make her a little more likable." Cat eyed Jimmy dangerously when he snorted his tea. "Tell me, what is she in for this time?"

"Prostitution." The word was out before Jimmy could hold it in. Deciding to keep his face on his drink, he ignored Cat's probing.

"Well, way to go Lois. I see she finally got tired of waiting around for Superman and got herself a man the old fashioned way." She slapped Clark in the gut. A conspiratorial grin on her face, she leaned in close to him. "How long have you two been dating under Lois' nose?"

Adjusting his glasses, Clark looked down. "We're...not dating. I'm escorting her."

"Oh." At first her response was non committal. Then she looked between the embarrassed reporter and his date a couple times. Her expression went from aggravated to predatory in a split second. "Oh." Pushing Clark aside, she took out her pen and pad as she sat down in his seat. "So, tell me, Jackie, how is Clark in his capacity as a male escort?"

Jimmy had to bite his lips to keep from snorting. "Good."

"Excellent!" Writing it down, Cat spared the pad only a passing glance to make sure her handwriting was legible. Other wise, her whole attention was on Clark and Jimmy. "How long have you employed his services?"

"Three days." Sipping his tea daintily, Jimmy tried for the refined aristocratic appearance he had seen on so many of the PBS shows. It came off a little awkward, which he hope Cat would attribute to nervousness.

"I see. Have you two had a physical relationship?" She put a hand on Clark's to keep him silent. "Hush, dear, the women are talking."

"Oh, yes. He is quite," he cast a glance up at Clark over his sunglasses, "physical." And he had the bruises on his arm to prove. At Clark's stern look, Jimmy rose from the table. "Forgive me, we must be going."

Writing it out, Cat nodded. "Of course, of course, I hope you two have a lovely time together." When she finished, she pulled her date close to her. She waited until Clark and Jimmy were almost to the exit before nodding to him. "Oh, Clark, Jacqueline." When they turned, Clark's arm around Jimmy's waist, holding him steady, Cat smirked. "Smile!"

The camera flashed.

Eyes wide, Clark ushered the stammering Jimmy out of the bistro.

Taking her date's camera, Cat hit the rewind on the roll of film. She reached in to her purse to pull out her cell phone and hit the speed dial. "Hold my column for the afternoon edition, I got something special coming in."

"Is she kidding with this? Prostitution?" Perry looked up from the article to the copy editor who had typed it up for her and delivered it to him. "She can't be serious, this is completely absurd."

"She says she has the pictures to prove it." Trying not to squirm, the man kept his eyes from directly meeting those of Perry. There was a rumor going on that if any body met his eyes directly while he was mad, they would lose their soul and become another Jimmy.

Leaning forward, Perry dropped the article on his desk. "When she arrives, tell her to bring me the smoking gun, so to speak. If this is true, I want to speak with Lois and Clark myself. In the mean time, run her original piece."

Bowing, the man backed out of the office. "As you say, sir!"

Sitting back, Perry lit up his cigar. What the hell was up with his two star reporters? If this was corroborated, then Lois really was in jail some where and Clark was pimping himself out. He really, really hoped this had something to do with that story.

Taking a moment to help Jimmy step over a rapidly evaporating puddle of water from a fire hydrant that had been replugged, Clark found himself enjoying having the younger man lean in to him. Keeping the smile from his face, he focused instead on how close they were getting to their destination. It wouldn't be long before they reached Shadeland Avenue and Jimmy would leave him. He had been fighting with himself all the way here and knowing it was imminent caused his heart to skip a beat in alarm.

For his part, Jimmy was growing nervous as well. He had gotten lucky the night before, 'many times,' he thought with a smirk. There was no telling what would happen tonight if he continued. It wouldn't hurt him to just leave it set, he had enough information for a story, even if it wasn't the one he wanted. When he caught sight of the familiar buildings that told him they were approaching his destination, Jimmy slowed down until he was completely stopped.

Having noticed Jimmy's actions, Clark frowned. "Is something the matter?"

Casting a glance in to the busy street, Jimmy nodded. He took a deep breath before he looked in to Clark's eyes. He smiled sadly as he reached up to cup Clark's cheek. "You don't have to go any further. I understand how uncomfortable this makes you, and that's okay. I can do this on my own."

"Who are you trying to convince, Jimmy?" Clark tugged Jimmy's hand down in to his own, holding it close to his chest. He wanted to reassure the other man that he would be there for him. "I can't let you go out there without backup, Jimmy. We aren't the police, our occupation is hazardous enough without pretending like we are. Leave the vigilantism to Superman."

"It's not about solving the case, CK. Someone has to tell their story, the side of this case no one has bothered to think about." Gesturing with his free hand down the street towards Shadeland, Jimmy wanted to grand stand and shout like he had seen Lois do a hundred times. He was justified in his feelings and wanted the world to know. "No one, not even the Chief has said anything about talking about the victims as anything but. To people like Lois, they don't exist beyond the fact they were murdered by a serial killer."

"That's not true and you know it. Lois provides a human perspective to every story she tells." Okay, even his inner super hero was cringing at that one. She didn't always provide a compassionate air to her writing, but that didn't mean she demeaned anyone. At least no one he knew about who hadn't deserved it. "She's a damn good reporter, don't sell her short because you feel left out."

"See, that's what I'm talking about. Someone says anything even remotely bad and you automatically jump to her defense. You're so blinded by her success you don't actually pay attention to her style. When poor people are listed in her articles, she always puts a pathetic spin to it that makes them little more than something to feel sorry for. These are real people, Clark, not footnotes!" Seeing that his words were only serving to anger the other man, Jimmy gave a short hiss of indifference. "Fine, whatever, Smallville."

Taking his hand back, he stalked off away from Clark. If the other man wanted to be blind, he could do it on his own. Resolve reaffirmed, he blew the bangs of his wig out of his eyes. There was a faint sheen of sweat starting to form under his arms, but the sun was going down and the city would soon cool off. He would be fine for anyone who wanted a piece of him, there was a bottle of perfume in his purse in case he started to smell.

Taken aback by what Jimmy had said, Clark watched him go in shock. It shouldn't have bothered him, but something about the words rang true to him. But that had to be a lie, Lois was a good person, if a little narcissistic. Sure, she had her faults, they all did, but she would never deliberately do what Jimmy had said she did. Then again, what did he know, he was just a small town hick?

Groaning, Clark rushed to reach Jimmy and stop him. The bitterness about his working relationship with Lois caused him to squeeze the other man's arm a little harder than he intended.

Jimmy yelped. Rubbing his arm when Clark instantly released him, Jimmy glared at him. "What do you want? Come to sing more of her praises? Well tough luck, I don't want to hear it!"

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you." Seeing they were drawing attention, Clark reached out to grab Jimmy by the arm, but caught himself when Jimmy flinched. "There's an alley a few yards ahead of us, we can talk without an audience there."

"Fine." Storming off, Jimmy was unaware of the image he gave off, his hips moving with a slight sway from his heels.

Clark, felt himself groan in response. Upon hearing a man behind him whistle, Clark pushed his glasses up and straightened his posture. He paused long enough to glare at the man before following Jimmy in to the alley. Upon reaching it, he was happy to find that Jimmy was sitting upon a metal trash can, but was upset to find him smoking a cigarette. Coming in close, he adjusted his tie to give his hand something to do. "You know, those things will kill you."

"Tell someone who cares, Clark." Legs swaying slightly, Jimmy kicked back against the trash can before turning expectantly to Clark. "Well?"

Taking the image of Jimmy sitting on the trash can, legs open, Clark felt himself want to whimper. Black silk stockings under a short skirt that was slowly inching its way up his legs made Clark's hand wrap too hard in his tie. Hearing a rip, he quickly stuffed the torn tie in his jacket pocket so Jimmy wouldn't see that it hadn't been a snap on that came off. Clearing his throat, Clark forced his eyes to meet the other man's. "Um, you are upset, it's understandable."

"No shit." Unaware of the effect he was having on Clark, Jimmy continued to swing his legs in agitation. He didn't really feel up to talking with the other man for much longer. "If you have a point to make, get to it."

"Uh, yeah. There's a point." Unable to concentrate for the madness, Clark stepped in to Jimmy's personal space. He put a hand on the younger man's leg to still his actions. It had the desired effect of making him stop moving. Unfortunately, he realized only too late how close he had gotten in order to do it and just where exactly his hand was. Glancing down, he saw no little space between Jimmy's legs and him. One step closer and he would be able to feel what type of underwear Jimmy was wearing under that dress.

Heat radiated up his leg from where Clark's hand rested upon it, making the world seem cooler in comparison. Swallowing, Jimmy unconsciously spread his legs further as he laid a hand on Clark's chest. He could feel the fluttering of the other man's heart in his chest from nervous excitement and it calmed his own. Staring up in to Clark's face, Jimmy looked at him expectantly.

Clark licked his lips, taking the final step forward. Sliding the hand he had on Jimmy's leg up his dress, he used his other hand to wrap around his waist. With a gentle tug, he pulled Jimmy flush up against him. Without realizing it, he started to grind himself against the other man's bottom.

Breath catching, Jimmy slid his arms around Clark's neck. The world melted away as he stared in to Clark's warm, brown eyes. Stretching up, he held his breath in anticipation. When Clark started to lean in, he closed his eyes.

As Clark started to press his lips to he heard the sudden hiss of an electrical charge building. He started to turn, but both he and Jimmy were caught in the blast. Losing the battle against the pain, Clark blacked out and fell over backwards, taking an unconscious Jimmy with him.

Entering the alley, the woman in the lead of a group of four lowered the glowing cross back in to her purple cloth bag. Holding the bag up to the sky, she closed her eyes to mutter a prayer while the three men behind her walked forwards. Behind them, a van marked 'Metropolis Museum of Antiquity' pulled up to the front of the alley and the side door opened.

The three men first grabbed Jimmy, slinging him in to the van with disgust. Upon seeing Clark, they glanced to the woman. At her scowl, they picked him up too. Tossing him in to the van as well, they closed the door and walked back to stand behind the woman. When the van had pulled out and headed down the road at the speed limit, the woman snapped her fingers and they walked out. In a matter of seconds, the four of them disappeared in different directions.

Sitting in the communal cell they kept most of the prisoners awaiting trial for the day, Lois sighed. She had been kept there for the day, a holding pen for her and the other women picked up in the raid. It wouldn't have been so bad if she had someone to talk to. So far, after the first night's information gathering from her cell mate, no one seemed inclined to speak to her. In fact, every time she was spotted, the women closest to her would shut up and walk off.

Her cell mate from the night before had been gone since that morning. Apparently she had a court date anyways, getting arrested just ensured she arrived on time and didn't have to pay bus fare. If the turnover rate was to be expected, her cell mate would be returning soon. She might actually have someone to talk to, unless the woman ascribed to the same code of silence the rest of them did.

Sitting around, she had learned a new meaning of the word bored. Never in her life had she been so unchallenged mentally. By the time the guards arrived with the pack of prisoners, she was ready to start gnawing on the bars with her teeth. Luckily, her cell mate was in the number being filtered in. So happy to see her returned, Lois jumped from her seat and ran to hug the woman.

She squealed in delight and rocked her back and forth when the woman returned the hug. After a minute, when the woman didn't let go, Lois started to grow suspicious. Stepping back, she looked at the woman questioningly. "You weren't trying to feel me up, were you?"

Shaking her head, the small black woman shook her head. "Why would I want to do that?"

"You know, jail house girlfriends." Lois mimed a sexual act with her hands.

The woman had to hold on to the cell bars to keep from falling over as she laughed. When she had settled down enough to look at Lois and not break out in to giggles, she sighed. "Honey, you have nothing to worry about."

Instead of being relieved, Lois was strangely upset. "How come?"

She just looked at Lois. Was this bitch serious? "You want to know why no one wants you to be their girlfriend? You a lesbian, Lois?"

"Well, no, but, it's just, I've heard lots of stories. I figured... you know." Seeing that the woman was laughing again, Lois frowned. Crossing her arms, she leaned back against the bars and let it rest. For a minute at least. "What's the matter, aren't I pretty enough?"

Seeing that Lois wasn't going to let it go, the woman sighed. "Look, it's not that you aren't pretty. In fact, it's that you are too pretty. See these women?" She gestured to the women around them in the cell and the adjoining cells. "We all got problems, too many to be worrying about someone as high maintenance as you. Face it, girl, unless you're going to be sticking around for a while, you ain't worth the trouble of a squeeze."

Frowning at the woman, Lois stared at her open mouthed then scoffed. She was not high maintenance! In fact, she would make any of these women a damn fine girlfriend! It wasn't her fault none of them had the balls to fight for her... Thought train derailing, Lois shook her head viciously. What the hell was she thinking? One day in the clink and already she was looking for a girlfriend.

Taking pity on the confused woman, the black woman patted her on the shoulder then wandered off.

From her position on the cell wall, Lois watched the women pass. Glancing up hopefully at someone who was facing her, she smiled. When the woman snorted and turned away, she growled and looked away from them all together. Who needed them anyways?

The pain from his arms being held in a single position for too long forced Jimmy to try and turn over. When his wrists refused to budge, he raised his head to look at them. His head hurt and he had to blink several times to stop the pain and let his eyes adjust. When he had become acclimated to the light, he saw through tear filled eyes that he was restrained to a table. His arms were stretched out to either side of him and he could feel a band around his feet that made him look to be crucified on the table.

In a panic, Jimmy raised his head as far as he could from the table to search the room for anyone who could help. Not finding anyone, he dropped his head back against the stone table. "Okay, Jimmy, calm down and try to think. There has to be a way out of here, there is always a way."

"Jimmy, is that what the whore that spawned you named you?" Moving towards the head of the table, the woman that had stunned him in the alley stood so that she was in his view. Her hair done up in a wreath of white flowers, she wore a white gown.

Clamping his mouth shut, Jimmy glared at her. He wasn't about to talk to the obviously crazy bitch. If she had done this to him, there was no reasoning with her.

Sighing, she trailed a hand over his bare scalp. "Never mind, it matters little." His head had been shaved and the wig removed. She cast a glance down his almost nude body. He wore only what her savior had been allowed, nothing more. "You are accused of crimes against God. He will be your judge and will bare witness against you. If he finds you guilty, your soul will be immediately cast in to hell. If you are innocent, you will not suffer this mortal existence any further."

"What? I die either way? What kind of crap is that?" Cursing himself when he saw her face contort in rage, Jimmy looked away. She was definitely unhinged.

"You dared to fornicate in a vile place. To rut in the alleys like a filthy beast with another man for carnal pleasures is the ultimate sin, even worse than murder!" Grabbing his hand, she forced it up for him to see his palm. "The flesh is numb, but the brand is forever, Sodomite!"

There it was in big, bold, and red relief, on his skin was a burned in S symbol. Upon seeing it, Jimmy frowned. He tried to move his hand but found it was as she had said, numbed. "What have you done to my hand?"

Her face going calm, she released his hand and gently set it back flat. Stroking his cheek, she almost came over as caring. "God does not wish his chosen to cause suffering, even for those who are cast out. We deadened the nerves before branding. But fear not, you shall be judged long before the toxins wear off."

When she had finished speaking, Jimmy felt her touch leave his face and shuddered. If ever there was a time he needed a miracle, it would be now. He opened his mouth to scream for Superman, but something large and round was shoved in before he could take a breath. He tried to bite through it, but realized the gag was made up of a thick rubber.

Walking away from him, she retrieved something from where she had started. Coming back in to his view, she held up a purple cloth bag. Reaching in to it, she let the cloth bag drop to the floor, revealing the glowing cross. Holding it aloft, she closed her eyes and began to mutter under her breath. As she spoke, the cross' glow increased until it was blinding.

Closing his eyes, Jimmy tried to turn his head away from it. A set of strong hands gripped him, forcing him to open his eyes again. A man he hadn't seen before was there, holding his head face up as the cross came down. He could feel the heat from the object as it neared his forehead and knew it would burn him. When it touched his skin, his body seized up against the bonds and he screamed.

Eyes glowing the same brilliance as the cross, Jimmy shook in convulsions. His fingers curled so tightly in his palms they drew blood. Before he knew what was happening, it was all over. His body fell flat against the stone table as his breath left him.

Taking the cross from his forehead, the woman picked up the purple bag and set the cross back inside it. When she finished, she held up the bag to the ceiling and muttered a prayer. After an amen, she lowered the cross. "It is done. God has judged the spawn of man and demon."

On the stone table, Jimmy remained still.

Clark tugged at his bonds, testing the strength. If it wasn't for the two goons at the door, he would have broken free. Having just woken up, he began to wonder just what the hell he was dealing with. Nothing in his vast realm of experience had ever caused him to black out like that. He was about to see if he could hear what was going on when the door opened. Craning his neck, he saw a woman in a white dress enter his room.

Smiling at him, the woman held the purple bag aloft. "God has judged your companion, Superman. Now, it is your turn." Coming to stand at the head of his table, she placed a finger over his lips to stop him from speaking. "Do not lie to us, we are God's chosen. You can not hide what you are, demon."

Glaring at her, he started to tug at his bonds. "Since you know who I am, there is no need to pretend any more."

"You are correct, there is no need to pretend any more." Pulling the cross from her bag, she held it over his head.

The moment the cross came out of the bag, Clark's body froze. Unable to move, he could only watch in shock as she held the cross to the ceiling.

"You are accused of crimes against God. He will be your judge and will bare witness against you. If he finds you guilty, your soul will be immediately cast in to hell. If you are innocent, you will not suffer this mortal existence any further." Closing her eyes, she began to mutter under her breath.

The cross increased in brilliance until Clark thought no human could bare it. Watching as she lowered it towards him, he had a sinking feeling begin in his stomach. The moment it made contact with him, he felt a jolt of electricity flow through him then nothing.

In direct contrast, the woman screamed as her body was enveloped by the light. Several beams of light shot out from the cross across the room seeking ground. Two struck the guards, enveloping them in the same light. A high pitched shriek filled the room then the light vanished. Falling to the ground, the now dull cross rang out in a hollow clang. A moment later, three lifeless bodies hit the floor.

Aside from a slight headache, Clark felt fine. Sitting up, he tore the bolts from the arms of the stone table he was laid upon. Seeing their bodies, he frowned. He recognized one of the two men from a piece Lois had done. He worked at the Metropolis Museum of Antiquity. After removing the band of metal around his feet, Clark slid off the table.

It wasn't until he saw the bent needles and brand on the floor he figure out how they knew who he was. These were the crazy people who had been killing the prostitutes! Remembering what he had been doing brought back memories of Jimmy and what the woman had said. "Jimmy!"

Frowning in concentration, Clark began to scan through the walls, trying to locate the younger man. He finally spotted him two rooms down in a chamber much like his. Rushing through the door, he didn't have time to think about the other people in the complex. He would deal with them later and any evidence they may have had on him. Coming out in to the corridor, he spotted the door and ran to it.

Clark burst in to the room as a man was raising Jimmy's legs so another could wrap them in a shroud. Putting on a burst of speed, he knocked them back against the walls and into unconsciousness. Turning to Jimmy, he saw the young man wasn't breathing. For a second, he stood there in shock before he rushed to Jimmy's side.

From what he could figure out, the cross killed with an electrical surge, which meant Jimmy had died from the equivalent of a lightning strike. He could be saved if his heart was restarted in time. Pressing firmly against the younger man's chest for fifteen beats before tilting his head back, Clark put his CPR training to good use. This time, there was no hint of eroticism when their lips met. He gave two quick breaths that caused Jimmy's chest to expand before he went back to the chest compressions.

He repeated the cycle four times before he heard any response. The moment Jimmy's heart started to beat again was almost too feint even for him to hear. The sudden intake of breath, however, was loud enough to be a scream in the dead silence. In relief, Clark pulled Jimmy against him in a strong hug.

Groaning from pain, Jimmy weakly tugged at his bonds. "Arms." His voice was raspy from the lack of proper circulation.

"What?" Pulling back, Clark looked at Jimmy for a moment then realized what he meant. He quickly broke the bands around Jimmy's wrists and feet to release him. When he was free, Clark pulled Jimmy back in to his arms so that the younger man could rest his head against his chest. It wasn't until he felt the other man shiver that he realized their current state of undress. They were both dress in what amounted to little more than cloth diapers.

"Hold tight to me, Jimmy, I'll get you out of here." He sighed as Jimmy's arms slid around his chest. Again, there was no sexual tone to it for him or the other man. So much for danger being a turn on, he snickered. Carefully slipping through the door sideways to keep from hitting the man in his arms on the door jam, Clark used his x-ray vision to scan the rest of the structure.

They were in the basement of the Museum. He could see four more people in other rooms going about what appeared to be a ritualistic cleansing on them. Once he got out of there, he would call the police and let them deal with the bunch of crazies. Before he headed for the exit he saw at the end of the hall, he had one bit of unfinished business. Carrying Jimmy back in to his chamber, Clark walked over to the cross.

A closer inspection showed it wasn't really a cross in the traditional since, but an Egyptian symbol. With a snarl, he stomped the ankh in to the ground, shattering it. A dull flash of light filled the room before clearing. "Time to go, Jimmy."

In response, Jimmy nodded and laid his head upon Clark's shoulder. "Thank you for saving me, Clark."

Clark couldn't tell why that caused something in his chest to clench, but put it aside to examine later.

Dear Reesie Jones is an advice column subject to trademark of the Metropolis Rising Star.

Dear Reesie,

Hi there. Recently, a bunch of people told me I am bossy, high maintenance, and self centered among other things. I tried explaining things to them, but they refused to even consider things from my point of view. Every protest I made fell upon deaf ears and now I am so angry I can't even see straight. Or, that could be the jail house moonshine, which, without, I would never have stooped to writing you about my problems. AFTER ALL, THEY ARE MINE! Personally, I find the whole situation intolerable and am this close to telling them they can all go straight to hell.

You know what? As a matter fact, I think I will. Go to hell, (Name deleted by Reesie for anonymity)! I don't need your opinion, I am (Name deleted by Reesie to protect writer's dignity), I am a household name for pete's sake! After all, what do you really know, you are from (a town in USA)! All they have there is corn and pigs and people who eat corn and (censored) pigs. Go (censored) yourself, pig (censored)!

Where is that hooch? I need another glass, my buzz is starting to fade!

Jail House Lola, Metropolis City Jail.

Dear Jail House Lola,

While your sentiments were clearly intoxicant induced, I hope, you raised a valid point. People, please, never judge someone based solely upon their attitude. Wait until their drunken ramblings before you condemn them.

As for you, Lola, stay out of Salem, Mass. They aren't known for their tolerance of 'Witches'.

Love and Strength,

Reesie Jones

"Killer Curator: Murder at the Metropolis Museum of Antiquity. My word, Kent, how in the hell did you pull this one off?" Setting down the copy of the morning edition, Perry gave a broad grin to his reporter. As they sat in his office, him chewing on his cigar and Kent fingering his, Perry felt a chill run up his spine. "An ancient artifact believed to revive the dead used to kill people instead, how crazy can this city get? It's no wonder we're the best damned newspaper in the world."

Glancing down in embarrassment, Clark smiled and blushed. "Thank you, sir, but I can't take all the credit. Jimmy also had a hand in this." And so did Superman, not that he was going to tell Perry. Whatever that Ankh had been made of or for, it had paralysed him when in use. No one would ever find out about that. When there was no response from Perry, Clark looked up to see his boss staring at him hard. "Chief?"

"Clark, I'm going to pretend I didn't hear you say that. You're going to never mention it again. As far as anyone is concerned, you did this and you did it alone." Leaning forward in his chair, Perry laid heavily upon his desk to impress his point. "Do I make myself clear."

"Frankly, sir, no, you don't. First you, next Lois, then Jimmy, and now you again, no one is willing to tell me why he can't be associated with this story." Adjusting his glasses, Clark stood up until he towered of the sitting man. "Why can't I include his name on the bi-line?"

Sitting back in his chair, Perry closed his eyes in distress. He ran a hand over the lower half of his face and shook his head. When he opened his eyes to once again stare at Clark, his expression was one of intense sincerity. For a moment, it looked like he would confide in Clark. That passed when he looked out in the newsroom. Catching sight of the busy Jimmy, Perry shook his head.

Seeing that he wasn't going to get a response, Clark snorted with disgust. "Fine. You can keep your cigar, sir." Dropping the offending smoke on the man's desk, Clark stormed out of Perry's office and slammed the door behind him.

Perry watched him go for a moment, sighing with defeat when he had gone. Some times it seemed the price for peace of mind just kept growing. The way Jimmy seemed to detect Clark's presence and turned to smile at him made Perry smile. Whatever the price, it was worth it.

Jimmy waited until Clark was heading for the elevator before he rushed over to join him. As they waited for the lift to arrive, he smiled at the older man's look of annoyance. When they stepped on to the car, Jimmy hit the lobby button then turned to Clark. What he saw did not give him hope. "CK, look, I just want to say thank you for saving my life back there at the Museum."

"It was nothing, Jimmy." Keeping his tone clipped, Clark tried to avoid looking at the other man. He didn't feel comfortable talking to someone who was deliberately deceiving him.

"Yeah, may be not to you, but it meant a lot to me." Determined not to let Clark get away without him expressing his feelings, Jimmy pulled out the stop button. He waited until Clark faced him in annoyance before speaking again. "I don't know what is upsetting you, but I wanted...needed to make sure everything was cool between us."

"Everything is not cool, Jimmy." The words were awkward for him to use, cool not being something he associated with anything outside a weather system. Still, he was willing to deal with the affront to his dignity just to talk with the younger man. "We have not been cool since you deliberately lied to the police and made me do the same."

"Yeah, about that, I'm sorry you had to do that, for you, but not for me. Lying to the police is part of the job." He tried to turn it in to a joke, but Clark didn't even crack a smile. Looking away, Jimmy shook his head. This wasn't what he wanted to happen. "Before Superman came, Metropolis was known for other less pleasant things. I was a whore, CK."

"I know that, but that doesn't explain why you had me lie to the police." Again, Jimmy just wasn't seeing it. To him, breaking the law in order to preserve the spirit of it was acceptable. But perjury just because you wanted to keep your name from the papers was not.

"I was eleven the first time." He could sense Clark go unnaturally still, but didn't bother to check. "It stopped when I was thirteen. Momma Bedeaux picked me off the street and taught me to be one of his girls. One day two years later, one of my old customers caught up to me. He was running for city Council. It wouldn't do for the press to catch wind that he was a pedophile. If Perry hadn't been trailing him, I don't know what..." Jimmy trailed off as a hand slid along the side of his face to cup his jaw.

Looking up at Clark's unreadable expression, Jimmy blinked at something in his eye. "He held me for three days before Perry got up the nerve to find out what exactly kept dragging Mr. Poteit back to the warehouse. He almost got away with it." Finishing, Jimmy held his breath as Clark continued to caress his cheek with his fingers. "Perry saved my life, Clark, and since then, I've tried to repay him the any way I know how. That's why, no matter what happens, I stick by him and the Planet."

"But why would both you and he want to keep your name off the bi-line?" It was the one question he still couldn't figure out the answer to.

"It's punishment, CK. He told me not to do it and I did anyways. He knew I would, but hoped I wouldn't." The hand on his face dropped down to rest upon his chest as Clark looked at him in exasperation. It wasn't the hard hitting revelation his friend had been expecting, but it was the only truth he had. "Have you ever disappointed your father?"

Enlightenment dawned. Stepping back, Clark pushed up his glasses. He reached out and hit the stop button. "On more than one occasion."

Feeling relieved, Jimmy leaned against Clark. "So we cool?"

"We cool, Jimmy." Rolling his eyes, Clark wrapped his arm around the younger man's shoulder.

Arms crossed over her halter top and sheer shirt, Lois glared at the guard while she waited for the final door to open. She tapped her stilettoed heel in time with the chewing of the woman beside her. It was the day of their release and Lois had grown impatient. They would be taken back to the street they had been arrested on and then she would be free to file a complaint against the police department. No one treated her like a common whore!

The buzzer sounded and the door finally opened.

"About time!" Moving through the door, Lois started to join the other women towards the prison bus, but the guard blocked her path. "Excuse me." She tried stepping around her, but the guard held up her baton. "I said excuse me."

"No can do, Ms. Lane, you've been sprung." Gesturing towards the front entrance, she smirked.

Next to the prison bus was a black Sedan. In front of that stood Perry White.

Groaning at the look on his face, Lois started towards him. She grinned widely when she came in talking range. "Funny story, Perry."

"Oh, I'm just cracking up." Climbing in the car, Perry sighed. Some times he really did wonder just how bad he needed Lois' stories to keep the planet afloat.

The ride back up to the newsroom was filled in silence between Clark and Jimmy. Clark kept casting glances to the younger man, who was watching him with rapt fascination. Finally having had enough, Clark faced Jimmy. "What?"

Jimmy slid closer to Clark, sizing him up in his suit and jacket. "I was just wondering what you looked like under your clothes. I've felt you last night, but never really got to see. You saw me, I just think it's not all that fair."

Grinning, Clark shook his head. "Sorry, Jimmy, life's not fair."

"Oh, come on, CK. You show me yours, I'll show you mine." He tugged at the collar of his tank top for emphasis.

Clark chuckled. It felt good being back to their friendship. "Jimmy, don't ever change."

"If you want me naked, I can do that. Just say the word." That got a serious look. Jimmy started to raise his shirt to prove he was just as sincere, but the elevator dinged and the doors opened. Letting his shirt fall, he sighed. "Next time, CK, we go all the way."

"I told you, it was the clothes. I'm a sucker for stockings and a short...skirt. Lois!" Having caught sight of the female reporter in her hooker garb, he forgot all about everything else. Stepping off the elevator, he slowly walked up to his partner. "I forgot how you looked in that outfit."

"Grow up, Smallville." Huffing in disgust, Lois sashayed to her desk. Perry had brought her back to the Daily Planet instead of home as punishment for her undercover stunt. She had figured that since she was there, she might as well write out her article. Changing her clothes could wait until after she had the headline again.

"Nice to have you back, Lois." Adjusting his tie and his glasses, Clark strolled over to his desk, all the while casting her surreptitious glances.

And just like that, Jimmy was forgotten. "Right, CK." Good mood evaporated, he let the elevator doors close.

Dear Reesie Jones is an advice column subject to trademark of the Metropolis Rising Star.

Dear Reesie,

You said I should write back, well, here I go. A lot has happened since I first wrote you, Reesie. For a time, my oblivious colleague was away and DL was a real person. In fact, he and I got along really well, surprisingly well. For a long time, I never thought of him as anything more than a friend, he was just DL. Then events started to happen, MM was forced to go away for a while, and DL opened his eyes to the world that didn't revolve around MM. Seeing this new DL made me realize how special he really was.

As another colleague of mine would say, I'm afraid I've grown quite fond of him. That isn't wrong, the problem is that MM has returned and since then, DL has forgotten I exist as a person once more. Once I start to develop feelings for someone, I can't just shut them off and it hurts. Now that MM controls him again, it's worse than before. It would have been better if she had never left, then I would never have known how good it felt to have someone care about me.

Jackie O, Metropolis.

Dear Jackie,

We've all known that one sweet love that we think could be the person we will end up spending our lives with. It's a wonderfully fortunate person who actually finds that and gets it reciprocated. Unfortunately, there are a lot more single people out there than those eternally bound in love. We are all lonely, it's who you choose to spend this time with that makes up for the losses. If you can't have your love, then try to have your friend. Give it time, you might find that is more than enough.

What is important right now is that you take time to mourn your broken heart. Don't jump in to an immediate relationship, it won't work and you'll only end up miserable again. Hang out with your friends, spend some time alone and get reacquainted with who you are. Love yourself and eventually, love will come along again, sugar.

Keep faith, Jackie, you're being watched over.

Love and Strength,

Reesie Jones

Lowering the paper, Perry looked out his office windows to see his news room staff interacting. They were good people, every single one of them in their own way. He had the best damned news team in the world, that was a mixed blessing, however. With good reporters came big egos. Reporters who got too big for their hats made mistakes.

He saw Jimmy leaning against the partition, watching over Clark. The older man was oblivious to the younger man's yearning gaze. Then he saw Clark, who was watching Lois. She couldn't be bothered to notice the man's existence at the moment or any other time that wasn't convenient. She only had eyes for the picture of Superman on her partition wall. And Superman, he was an enigma.

Glancing down at his picture of Alice, Perry picked it up and wiped the dust off the top. Pulling it out of the frame, he set it down lovingly and stared at the picture that had been behind it. In it were him, Alice, and three boys. The youngest one looked nothing like any of the other four people, but was being hugged by them all.

"Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Freedom."

Putting the picture of Alice back in the frame, Perry put the frame on his desk.