After I read vsp's "Once in a Lifetime", on the Fanfic Message Board, several ideas began circulating in my head. This story is in no way a copy of "Once in a Lifetime" but I have to give credit to Vincent Pai, whose ideas made me think.
The familiar characters and settings of this story are not mine. They are the property of DC Comics, Warner Bros., December Third Productions, and anyone else that can legally claim them. The beginning of the story contains scenes from the Lois and Clark episode, "Pheromone, My Lovely", and these are hereby credited to the writers of the show. The story itself, however, is mine.
By Nan Smith
Superman watched for a moment as the police led Miranda away, but an instant later his attention was distracted as Lois rushed up to him.
He turned, striving for the same friendly but impersonal manner that he always adopted with the woman of his dreams. It was a source of continual frustration to him that she didn't react to his real self as she reacted to the costumed superhero. It didn't help his state of mind that over the last couple of days she'd spent most of the time trying to seduce Clark Kent. It had been an education in more ways than one. Among other things it had shown him that, super willpower or not, even Superman had his breaking point.
Lois had come to a stop in front of him. "It's lucky that stuff doesn't have any effect on you ... or does it?"
He looked at her for a total of three seconds, and glanced over his shoulder, trying for once not to control the smile. This was his chance -- a chance he wasn't likely to have again for a long time, if ever. At least, not as Clark Kent.
Instantly he set his face in sober but earnest lines. It wasn't hard to do, because the next words he spoke were the exact truth. "Lois Lane, I love you."
There was a mumble from Luthor but his super-hearing didn't catch it because of Lois's reaction.
Her face lit up and he heard a faint gasp. "Oh, Superman! You don't know how long I've waited to hear you say those words!" Then the realization hit her. "Oh ... but you're not yourself," she said, crestfallen. "So I couldn't take advantage of this situation -- Oh, what the heck!"
Abruptly she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him passionately. Superman slid his arms around her and kissed back, taking control of the kiss without hesitation. Lois melted in his arms, returning it with enthusiasm.
Clark was faintly annoyed at the distraction. Someone was tapping him on the shoulder. "Excuse me." Another poke. "Excuse me."
Slowly he straightened up, releasing Lois. She looked almost dazed but very happy, he thought, salving his conscience at the thought. After all, she had kissed him!
The pokes had come from Luthor and the man looked thoroughly disgusted by what he'd just witnessed. That was just one more positive point for the situation. "Hello," Luthor said, ironically. "I was just wondering. Will Miranda be permanently --"
Clark was having a little difficulty removing his attention from Lois. She smelled so good and that kiss had been -- well, wow! He forced himself to pay attention to Luthor and re-ran the question in his head. "No," he said. "I diluted it. She'll be okay soon." He glanced at Lois again. The urge to kiss her again was growing by the instant. He caressed her cheek. "And now, if you'll excuse me, I've gotta fly."
He launched himself into the air and propelled himself away from the airport at a speed just under that of sound. What the devil was wrong with him? He'd never had this much trouble controlling himself around Lois before.
He couldn't get the visions of her in that skimpy harem costume, two nights before, out of his head, or the images of her that would be forever branded in his mind when the costume had started coming off during the Dance of the Seven Veils ...
He made a super-speed approach to his apartment and came to a stop in his living room. What he needed was a cold shower. A very cold shower. He started for the bathroom and paused. The tights were feeling uncomfortably tight. There was no way an ordinary cold shower was going to help. Maybe a dip in the Arctic would have more effect. In a flash, he was on his way.
Lois walked back into the Daily Planet newsroom, looking around at her co-workers with the faintest of guilty smiles still on her lips. She had kissed Superman -- only he had kind of taken over the kiss after the initial second or two, and wow! There was a reason he was called Superman, all right, and the feats he had accomplished in public so far didn't tell the half of it, if that kiss was any example. It was too bad that he would probably go back to the way he usually treated her once the pheromone wore off.
If it did. The thought hit her suddenly. That stuff he had breathed in had been the one hundred percent solution. What if the effect was permanent? What would happen to Superman if all his inhibitions were gone permanently?
Well, she considered, would it be so bad? Superman was obviously attracted to her. Like Dr. Friedman had said, there had to be some attraction in the first place or the pheromone didn't work. It just broke down the normal restraints. He'd obviously felt no attraction for Miranda, in spite of the woman's beauty. She had always wondered if Superman thought about her any more than he thought of anyone else, but now she knew there definitely was attraction there.
But, was it just animal magnetism, or was it something more? Superman was a man, after all, and men noticed attractive women. It was just the way they were wired. What if it was just the natural reaction of a healthy (very healthy, a wicked little voice in the back of her mind whispered traitorously) male specimen to a reasonably attractive woman?
She had to find out, she thought, and the only way to do that was to talk to him. Only to do that, she had to get hold of him. Of course, she could go up to the top of the Daily Planet and scream for Superman, but how would he feel when he discovered that it wasn't the emergency that he thought it was?
Well, the only other way to get hold of Superman that she knew of was to get hold of Clark.
Only he didn't seem to be anywhere in the newsroom at the moment.
"Jimmy!" she called.
The young gofer/photographer for the Planet turned at her hail. He'd been rushing to catch up on his work ever since the pheromone had worn off. "Yeah?"
"Have you seen Clark?"
Jimmy shook his head. "The last I saw of him was a few hours ago when Luthor showed up in the newsroom. CK ran out of here right after that, saying something about getting hold of Superman -- if he could."
"What was it about?" Lois asked.
"Luthor told him that Miranda was going to spray the city with her pheromone. CK was going to try to get hold of Superman so he could stop her."
"Oh. Well, he did, so Clark must have gotten hold of him, but --" Her voice trailed off. She didn't really want the whole city to know that Superman had been affected by Miranda's pheromone, did she? Definitely not, she decided a moment later. Maybe it had worn off by now, anyway. At least, she hoped it had.
"Lois!" Perry popped out of his inner sanctum. "The rumor is that you were at the airport and saw Superman capture that Miranda woman!"
"Yes. I --"
"Then get busy and write it up! We've got a deadline! And has anybody seen Clark?"
Nobody had. Lois found herself worrying about her co-worker a little, for no reason that she could pin down. As she typed, her thoughts began to center around Clark, much as she had been thinking of him before her memories became hazy and dreamlike the day that she had been sprayed. Only now the image of Superman shared the stage with him. Two men who were very attractive in different ways: Superman, the god in a cape, and Clark Kent, whom she had not, before this episode, allowed herself to realize was very sexy in a human sort of way. But that couldn't be happening again, she thought. She hadn't been exposed to the pheromone since that one occasion.
Except, her final coherent thought came, when Superman had kissed her. He had just inhaled the one hundred percent stuff. True, the fact was that Superman had diluted it, but some of it might have remained on his lips or on his breath. Could Superman have exposed her unintentionally to traces of the pheromone? Then the thought fled, and the image of Clark Kent began to jostle the image of Superman in her mind. Almost in a dream, she finished her article and LANned it to Perry. Then, her job done, she got to her feet. She would go and find Clark. She had unfinished business with Mr. Kent.
The icy bath in the Arctic Ocean had been of no help and Clark was beginning to seriously question his sanity. He had loved, and certainly desired, Lois Lane from the first time he saw her. He had wanted her to love him for himself and not for his powers, but if that was the only way she would have him, well, as his father had said on more than one occasion, beggars couldn't afford to be choosers. Over the weeks of their acquaintance she had slowly stopped regarding Clark Kent as a major nuisance and at least treated him as well as her other colleagues. But that wasn't what he wanted from her. Would it be so bad to give her Superman if that meant that Lois would love him?
The more time that passed, the weaker his resolve became. At least so it seemed to Clark. All the reasons that he must stay away from Lois Lane had begun to appear rather irrelevant. The thing that should have alarmed him, and didn't, was that all the difficulties involved in Lois having a relationship with Superman seemed unimportant. He loved her and he wanted her. If she wouldn't have him as Clark Kent, why not offer himself to her as Superman? It made perfect sense after all. He couldn't understand why it had seemed like such a bad idea before.
He strode back and forth on the ice field, digging a deeper trench in the surface with each trip. When the ice reached the level of his eyes he glanced up and lifted out of the hole, staring down at what he had done. This was ridiculous, he decided. He was going to go back and tell Lois how he felt about her.
Without further thought, he lifted into the frigid air and streaked southward.
Now that the decision was made, Clark wasted no time on his return to Metropolis. Unwilling to bother with the irrelevancy of changing into his alter ego, he arrived at the Daily Planet as Superman and stood for a moment just outside the big windows of the newsroom, scanning the premises for her.
Perry White, in the process of haranguing Pete over the dearth of sports information for the issue of the Planet for which the deadline was fast approaching, looked up to see him standing in mid air outside the glass. One of the staffers hastened to open the window at the editor's gesture.
"Can I help you, Superman?" Perry asked.
The slightly foggy sensation that seemed to encase his brain parted slightly and he was able to reply in his best Superman voice. "I'm looking for Lois and I wondered if you could tell me where she is?"
Perry shook his head. "She turned in her story about Miranda and the pheromone threat to the city and then left. I think she may have gone to look for Kent."
"Oh," Clark said. "Okay. I guess I'd better go find her." He waved breezily to his editor. "I'll see you later." He missed the odd look that Perry White gave him as he flew away, nor was he aware of his editor looking thoughtfully after him as he vanished in the direction of his apartment.
Approaching his apartment building, he scanned the area below him, looking for any sign of his partner, but he didn't see her. He did, however, see Tony's flower stand and dropped toward the ground with the intention of purchasing a bouquet of flowers for Lois. At the last instant the thought drifted into his mind that perhaps it would be better if it were Clark Kent that actually bought the flowers, and he landed in the nearest alley to make the switch into his other identity.
Carrying a large bouquet of red roses, he walked away from the stand, whistling softly. If Lois was looking for him, she probably would try his apartment, he thought, but so far he hadn't seen her. Maybe she was waiting for him inside. As he approached the apartment he removed his glasses, and found that his judgement had not deserted him. Lois was sitting in his living room wearing --
His heart climbed into his throat and stayed there, beating erratically. She was wearing one of his shirts. And nothing else.
Instantly, he was aware of that tight sensation again: the one that had sent him to the Arctic for a long, ineffective swim. This wasn't right, some small voice in the back of his mind was pointing out to him. It wasn't the behavior of a gentleman to assume something from a lady's clothing, even in such circumstances at this. And besides, his mother and father would probably have something to say along those lines too. But --
He stopped, closed his eyes, took several long breaths and looked again. Yes, it was Lois, and now she was walking around his living room, and she was certainly wearing one of his shirts and there was just as certainly nothing on under it--
Well, now was as good a time as any to offer himself to her as Superman. He stepped into the narrow alley between the apartment house and the one next door and spun into the Suit. An alarm bell was sounding somewhere in the deep recesses of his brain but he chose to ignore it. Casting caution to the winds, he ran up the steps to his apartment and opened the door.
Lois was walking back and forth in Clark Kent's apartment when she heard the door open. She turned and her heart started to beat so hard she could swear it would burst from her chest. Superman stood there, and in his hand he held a bouquet of red roses. "Superman! What are you doing here?"
"I was looking for you."
"For me?" she asked.
He nodded, coming down the short flight of steps with his cape waving behind him. Lois ran toward him and threw her arms around his neck. "Why did you want me?"
She saw him swallow convulsively. "I -- uh -- Lois, I wanted to ask you -- uh -- I mean tell you that I love you and I --" He seemed to choke. "Uh, what are you doing here?"
"I was looking for Clark," she said.
"For Clark?" He had put his arms around her and was beginning to lower his head to hers, but at her words he stopped. "Why did you want him?" he asked.
The next words stopped him in his tracks. "I love Clark," she said simply. Then the sheer unfairness seemed to overwhelm her. She could feel her eyes filling with tears. "It's not fair!" she wailed.
"What isn't fair?" he asked. "No Lois, please don't cry! I can't stand it!"
"I love Clark!" Lois sobbed, "but I love you too! I love both of you!"
Dismayed and stunned, Clark ran the words over in his head. "I love Clark, but I love you too! I love both of you!"
Both of them -- of him? Wait a minute. He had the solution for that!
Lois was sobbing on his shoulder. Her state of dress -- or undress -- didn't seem to occur to her.
"Lois," he said. The feel of her warm body under the thin material of the shirt nearly cut off his breath, but he had to fix this for her. Seeing Lois cry was tearing him up, and the tears seemed to make it easier to keep his mind off what she was wearing -- or rather not wearing.
"Lois," he tried again. "It's all right. I love you."
"But that's just the problem," Lois said, between sniffles. "You love me and I love you but I love Clark too, and he doesn't love me!"
Oh, that was the problem? "Just a minute," he told her. "I can fix that. Hold these."
She took the flowers, looking at him with those huge, brown eyes that could drown a man, he thought lyrically. He began to spin.
When he came out of his spin, he once again met her eyes as he pushed his glasses into place. "I'm both of us," he said, ungrammatically. "And I love you, too. Both of us do."
Clark Kent opened his eyes and closed them quickly at the unbelievably bright light that leaked through the curtains of the hotel room. Over the hum of the air conditioner he could hear the distant sound of surf and the cries of sea birds. Somewhere Hawaiian music was playing from somebody's radio. He dropped back with a groan, one hand over his face. He'd never had a headache before but if this was what regular people felt like with one, then he was glad it was a rare occurrence for him. The bed in which he lay felt as if it were rocking like a ship at sea, and the room beyond his closed eyes seemed to be slowly revolving, and tilting unsteadily as it did so. Where was he and how had he gotten here? He lay still, grasping at the confused memories of the dreams that had been chasing themselves around in his head. Something about having married Lois, and flying them to Hawaii for their honeymoon ...
Beside him, a warm body was curled tightly to his side and he seemed to catch traces of the familiar scent of Lois's shampoo and the lilac cologne that she usually wore ...
Cautiously, he cracked an eyelid.
His first impression had been correct, he thought in dismay. And the person beside him was definitely Lois. She had her left arm crooked across her eyes and on the third finger of her left hand she wore a diamond engagement ring next to a band of gold.
Uh oh ...
Cautiously, he lifted his own left hand. There was a broad gold band on his third finger as well.
Oh boy ...