As always, the characters portrayed in this story are the property of D.C. Comics, Warner Bros. et al. and I am only borrowing them for awhile. This story is based on the Lois and Clark episode Honeymoon in Metropolis, and any recognizable characters or scenes are the property of the show. Any changes to the story are mine.
By Nan Smith
"I envy you two," Roarke said. He smirked at Lois. "You'll have a much better view from where you are. Sayonara."
Lois jerked futilely against the rope and heard Thaddeus Roarke laugh as he and his cohort walked quickly away. A small motorboat was tied to a railing and the unnamed goon with Roarke untied it quickly. The two men jumped into the craft and Lois heard the roar of the engine as it departed.
"What did he mean?" Lois asked.
Harrington shivered. "We're dead."
"Congressman, we'll be fine," Lois said. "Someone will find us."
"No," Harrington said. "It's too late. I never meant for this to happen."
"What?" Lois asked.
Harrington didn't answer.
Lois rolled her eyes and began to struggle. She didn't want to scream for Superman. If he was indeed Clark, she wasn't particularly anxious to let him know that she'd managed to get into trouble -- again. If what she suspected was true, he already knew far too much about her. She was going to have to get out of this one without his help.
The ropes were unyielding. She squirmed, trying to reach the knots with her fingers, but Roarke's henchman apparently knew what he was doing. He had positioned the knots where she could barely touch them with the tips of her fingers. The coarse hemp scraped against her wrists, rubbing the skin raw.
It was the odd sound that drew her attention to the sea. For a moment she stared, uncomprehending, at the sight before her.
The ocean seemed to be withdrawing from the shore, leaving the sand bare, exposing seaweed and the junk that lay beneath the water here at the docks. Then the reality of the situation rushed over her.
Shockwave must have been initiated by now. How could it possibly do something like this? But Harrington had apparently been appalled at what Roarke had shown him. "Millions of people --"
However Roarke had managed to sabotage the system, she was seeing the water withdrawing from the shore in advance of a tidal wave.
Hands tugged at the ropes binding her wrists, and then she and Harrington were free. Clark was there, and she hadn't even noticed. He was staring past her at the retreating water, which was now beginning to condense and coalesce into the huge wave.
High above their heads, it was surging toward them faster and faster, the top beginning to curl toward the city and the millions of inhabitants that had no idea of the death rushing at them. Clark yanked Harrington and her to their feet.
"Run!" he commanded. "Run!"
Harrington ran, and Lois followed him, but the sense of inevitability made her stop and turn. A mere human being couldn't possibly outrun that. If Clark wasn't really Superman, they were all doomed.
And then she saw it.
Clark was racing toward the water, his legs moving faster than any human man could possibly run, ripping off his shirt and jacket as he ran. As she watched he lifted from the ground, his form spun and blurred for an instant and suddenly it was Superman streaking toward the monstrous wave. As she watched, he plunged into the water and vanished.
But what could he possibly do? What could even Superman do about a tidal wave?
But something *was* happening. Even as she watched, the huge, looming wave seemed to collapse in upon itself in almost painful slow motion. The water tumbled toward the shore but now it was no more than a vigorous high tide, driven by an ordinary storm. The waves splashed furiously, and a burst of spray left her drenched to the skin with icy water -- but the wave was gone.
Somehow, Superman had averted the disaster.
*Clark* had averted it. This time there could be no doubt of what she had seen.
Slowly, Lois walked back to the post where she and Harrington had been tied. The ropes lay in a tangled pile where Clark had dropped them and she bent to pick them up.
The rope was wet and the knots were still tied. Looking at them now, she knew that she could never have managed to undo them.
But the rope had been snapped. The ragged edges dangled fibers where it had been torn asunder by overwhelming strength. Clark again. He had literally ripped the material of the rope apart.
Slowly, Lois turned and made her way back down the pier, carrying the rope. Evidence, she thought. Her first concrete piece of evidence. Besides, she didn't want to leave the rope around where someone investigating the incident might find it. Congressman Harrington might come back after everything was over to look for anything that might connect him to this mess. He was bound to try to cover up his part in it some way or other and, knowing the honest, upright nature of people in his position, she had no faith at all that he wouldn't be willing to use any information he found out about Superman for his own benefit. Lois wasn't about to let that happen.
After some minutes, she reached the car that she had borrowed from the Planet and stashed the rope in the trunk. It could stay there, at least until she got home and had a chance to put it somewhere more secure, she thought, just one more piece of anonymous junk that collected in a car trunk over time. No one -- not even Clark -- was likely to find it there.
From somewhere, she heard a sonic boom, characteristic of Superman in flight. Clark would probably be back at the Daily Planet by the time she got there -- most likely with a Superman interview. Darn him! He had a built-in advantage with Superman, because all he had to do was interview himself, the rat! That was how he'd scooped her for that first Superman interview, when she had been nearly breaking her neck trying to get it ahead of everyone else! Didn't he owe her at least an apology, considering the fact that he'd sent her to the sewage reclamation facility....
Her thoughts screeched to a sudden halt. There had been a reason he'd done that. She had played on his trust and stolen his story. Even at the time she had been uneasy about it, and he'd been pretty angry. She'd figured that there wasn't anything he could do about it, but it had made her feel slightly dirty. She'd tried to convince herself that she had been doing him a favor, but she hadn't really believed it. And then he'd thoroughly paid her back.
She had been angry at the time, but even then she had acknowledged that she deserved it. Now she sat behind the wheel of the car and stared at the dashboard, aghast. She had been crazily searching for Superman. He was her dream man that no ordinary man could compete with. She had, she acknowledged, a tremendous crush on him. And she had stolen his story. What he must have thought of her!
Superman trusted people -- and so did Clark, which made sense, now that she knew the truth. And she had completely failed the test because of her chagrin that a wet-behind-the-ears newbie had scooped her on a major story. The man that she had wanted above all others to impress, and she had stolen his story!
Well, did she still want to impress him, now that she knew that he masqueraded as Clark Kent? And now that she was sure of it, the question remained: *why* did he masquerade as Clark Kent? He was strong, fast, immensely powerful -- he could do anything he wanted, have anything he wanted -- why did he pretend to be an ordinary man with an ordinary job in an ordinary city here on Earth? Why did he live in a small, cheap apartment when he could have the wealth to own a mansion if he wanted to?
The questions had simply multiplied, now that she had confirmed the first fact. And until she had the nerve to come right out and ask him, she was going to have to try to figure out why by herself. At least, investigating was something that she did well.
She did admire him -- there was no question of that. And she still wanted to impress him, so she still wasn't going to tell him what she knew. She would continue to watch him and discover what she could. But, she cautioned herself, no more underhanded tricks. It certainly wouldn't look good in Superman's eyes, and she did want to look good to him. And the next time Perry assigned them as partners, she wouldn't fight quite as hard. She'd have to protest -- Clark would definitely figure that something was funny if she changed overnight, but maybe, if she did so gradually, he wouldn't figure it out. It was worth a try.
After all, Clark was pretty nice to be around, even if she would never admit it. If that was Superman's real personality, then it wouldn't be that hard, would it? After all, a stern, humorless super hero wasn't nearly as much fun as Clark. It was encouraging in a way. Who could have imagined that Superman played a mean game of Scrabble, and that he was lousy when it came to Monopoly?
Someone was knocking on her window. She looked up and, to her surprise, saw Clark, looking worriedly through the glass. For an instant, the conviction of what she had seen wavered and then she reminded herself sharply that Superman could move faster than the eye could follow. Surely, if he wanted to, he could leave a scene as Superman and return as Clark almost instantaneously.
She rolled down the window. "Hi. I wondered where you went."
"I interviewed Superman about what happened," he told her. "I figured we can write it up when we get back -- you can write it from your perspective, and I'll cover Superman's. Together it should be a hit."
"I guess confidence isn't a problem with you," Lois said dryly. She unlocked the door. "Get in. I'll give you a ride to the Planet. And on the way, you can tell me what Superman did."
"Sure," Clark said. His hair, she noted peripherally, was wet. That figured, since she had seen him dive into the tidal wave.
She shoved her own wet hair back from her face. "I'll have to visit the Planet's lockers. I need a change of clothes."
The headline hit the Daily Planet the next morning: "Superman Builds Undersea Trench", together with an artist's rendition of what Superman had done to save the City of Metropolis from disaster. Perry White regarded Lois and her sometime partner with satisfaction. "That was a great story, kids. According to the explanation we got from Luthor's spokesman, Roarke tricked the sensors to make them think that something the size of the Rocky Mountains was coming at them. They're going to redesign the system slightly so no one can play a trick like that again, and resubmit it to the Navy."
"And Congressman Harrington," Cat informed them, "claims that he set the whole thing up as a sting to trap Roarke."
"I'll bet," Lois said. "He didn't act a whole lot like a crimefighter when I saw him."
"I didn't think so either," Clark offered. "But we'll never be able to pin it on him."
"He'd better watch his p's and q's," Lois said darkly. "I'm going to keep an eye on him." She glanced at Clark. "All in all, not a bad job. I wouldn't mind working with Clark again, someday."
Perry raised his eyebrows. "That's a change," he observed. "What brought it on?"
"Oh, let's just say I discovered a whole different side to him," Lois said innocently. "It turns out we work pretty well together -- and he did show up at the docks and get me loose. I owe him for that."
"I just wish you'd be a little more careful," Perry said sternly. "He might not make it next time."
"I have the feeling," Lois said, disregarding her boss, "that he will -- not that I try to get into situations like that."
Perry snorted skeptically. "Right. And I saw a pig roostin' in my maple tree when I left for work this mornin'."
Lois just laughed. "Come on, Clark. You can walk me home."
"You really don't mind working with me?" Clark said curiously as they strolled along the sidewalk toward the shortcut that Lois usually took through Centennial Park.
"I did at first," Lois said, "but I changed my mind. You were a lot more useful than I expected."
"Don't fall all over yourself with enthusiasm," Clark said dryly.
"No, I mean it," Lois insisted. "Besides, I'd much rather have you with me in a hotel room than Pete -- or Wally."
"That's not saying much," Clark remarked.
"At least you didn't expect fringe benefits," Lois said. "I had to discourage Wally rather forcefully on an assignment last year. He was the last partner I had until Perry assigned you to me."
"I hope you know that I'd never try anything like that," Clark said.
"Yes, I do," Lois acknowledged. "Stick with me, and I'll teach you everything you need to know about big city journalism, Kent."
"I can hardly wait," Clark murmured.
Looking the other way, so he couldn't see her expression, Lois smiled.