Warnings: innuendo and sexual references
Timeline: Obviously way after Hex…veering off into AU because it's flights and tights!
Short summary: Superman takes to the skies for the first time in public, Lois is chosen to get the first interview and she's still not satisfied. She gets a little nosey about certain things about the new Man of Steel.
Disclaimers: DC owns almost every character I care about, well, except one (Zorro). We should all remember the debt we owe to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster because they began it all. But this take on Clark/Lois is based on the Welling/Durance interpretation.
The Daily Planet's headlines screamed only two words above the fold in the largest, boldest print Martha Kent had ever seen:
The various stories obtained from victims, rescue workers and witnesses filled the first four pages with the regular news of the day relegated to the second section behind all the usual ads. "Well," she said aloud, "who needs advertising revenue when you've got the biggest thing to hit a news stand in the history of the press?"
"Yeah," Clark said rather glumly, picking at his breakfast.
His mother folded the paper and placed it carefully on the table beside her. "Sweetheart, your dad would be so proud of you. I can't begin to tell you—"
"I know, mom, I know." He sighed. "It's just…I don't know…it's not like I expected it to be."
"What did you expect?" He just hunched his shoulders. "Clark, people are going to be surprised, stunned even. They didn't know about you at all and then suddenly there you are saving people right and left. It was an incredible thing to happen to all of them. Son, you saved every person on that plane, and I don't even want to think about the people that would have been killed on the ground. If that plane had hit those buildings in downtown Metropolis…" She shook her head at the thought.
"Lois would be dead," Clark said simply. "It just wasn't the entrance I was planning. It was so …big. Everyone was looking, taking pictures, yelling, and shouting. I couldn't even get to Lois to see if she was all right. There must have been a hundred cameras pointing at me and cell phones, and yes, I did keep my head moving just enough so the pictures would blur, but …I kept thinking how ridiculous I must look …and that cape, I'm still not sure about that at all."
"I think it looked marvelous." She smiled, but she was surprised. The last thing she expected from her son was vanity. "But we can redo the whole outfit if you like."
"But they've seen it now. I'm sure those pictures are …oh, god…why did I let you talk me into this? A costume with a cape. I'm never going to be able to go out in public again."
"Oh, yes you will!" She picked up the paper once more and began reading out loud, "A majestic figure in red and blue …the impressive figure of a man in a red flowing cape…resplendently patriotic—"
"Mom!" Clark covered his ears. "That's all well, fine, and good, but, like you said, I was saving people's lives. They were all surprised. But when they start to tear me down, as they will, it's going to be brutal. I can just hear Lois now…"
"You think she's going to make fun of the man who saved her life and the lives of over 200 people because of what he was wearing?"
He opened his mouth to reply and then closed it quickly and sighed. "I don't know. I guess I'll find out in ten minutes, won't I?" He gave his mom a crooked half smile and got up to leave. "Thanks for breakfast, mom. It's great having you home." After a quick hug, she felt her hair blow back from her face as her son sped out the door.
The Planet was already alive with people. Perry White had only been the editor for six weeks but when he called a meeting for 8:10 AM, he expected all people in attendance and ready to take orders.
Clark arrived with time to spare. He was straightening his tie as he approached Lois, who was seated at her desk and already typing. Taking a deep breath, he stepped forward, hoping he was ready for any reaction she could throw at him. Did she know? Was she going to be angry? Or worse, was she going to make fun of him?
"Hey, Lois," he said oh-so-casually, ready to flinch at her first punch.
"Hey, Smallville," she said automatically, never even looking up at him.
His mouth dropped. Being ignored had not been on his list. "Uh, Lois, the meeting. Um, don't you think we should go upstairs?"
"Almost ready, Smallville. Just putting the finishing touches on…There! Perfect! Now print and …" She grabbed the page from the printer, stood up, looked at him, and smiled. "Well, let's go." She passed him by and turned back when he didn't move, "What are you waiting for, Clark?"
"Uh, nothing. Apparently nothing," Clark said, confusion and just a little irritation written on his face. "Are you okay?"
"Of course. What on earth could be wrong on a day like today?" Lois was already three steps ahead of him.
"I just wondered…you know…after yesterday and all."
"Yeah! Pretty incredible, wasn't it?"
"Lois, you could have died," he said seriously as she turned to face him, having let him catch up with her.
"Oh, gee, Smallville, that's so sweet." Then she turned abruptly and walked on ahead again.
The meeting room was stuffed to overflowing with reporters that Clark had never even seen around the building before now. Here and there were a few who had made big names for themselves, and he knew they'd be in line to write the big stories being assigned this morning.
His eyebrows shot up when he saw a very confident Lois approaching Perry White as he entered the room. After taking one quick look at the story she'd presented to him, he handed it back to her with, "You can do better than that, Lane." Clark bit his top lip to keep from smiling, but he was impressed that the boss knew her name already.
"Good morning, everybody!" Perry's raised voice immediately silenced all the muttering. "People, we have a problem." He held up the morning's edition. "This was great." He paused before continuing, "But what are we going to have for a follow-up? Hm? I want answers, I want background, and, most of all, I want the first interview with the flying man."
Clark blinked when Perry's eyes lighted on him. The past history of his meeting with Perry in Smallville washed over him in that instant, but then the gaze moved on about the room. Clark breathed again.
"Chief?" Lois actually raised her hand. "Don't you think we need to come up with a better name than 'the flying man?'"
"Good point, Lane? And what do you suggest?" Clark could swear Perry's eyes had flicked over in his direction once again.
"Well, he's pretty powerful. How about Power…Powerman?" She winced even as she said it, knowing it was just all wrong.
"Yeah….you work on that, Lane. Anyone else with any ideas?" There was general mumbling, but no one ventured any real comments. "Great. People, we're only as good as our next edition, so I want every single one of you on this."
"Chief? What about the Senate scandal?"
"Mr. White? The arms negotiations in Switzerland?"
"The Discovery launch tomorrow?"
"Forget them all. People, the world stood still yesterday. The world watched it on live feeds. We, the newspaper industry, can't exactly present that, so we have to do our best with presenting the rest of the story. And that means go out there, kill it, and drag it home." Perry looked around the room. "Do I make myself clear?" There were a lot of "Yes, sir's" and "Of course's" and even more head nods. "Good. Lane, Kent, my office in five." Perry White swept from the room.
Lois looked at Clark in surprise. "What on earth…?"
"Only one way to find out… Lane."
"Oh, stop that."
"He knows your name. That's good for someone whose office is still in the basement," Clark said reasonably.
"And just how is it he knows yours…Kent?"
"Well," Clark began, but they had arrived at Perry's office door. He pushed it open for her and was saved from answering.
"Ah, there you are. Now, Lane, make that name thing your top priority. And, you did notice that there was an "S" on his chest? And Kent," he turned a sharp eye to Clark, "I want you to find him." He placed a hand on Clark's shoulder. "I just have this gut feeling that—."
"Are you asking us to work together on this, Mr. White?" Lois asked uncomfortably.
"That's usually what a reporting team does."
"Team?" They both echoed the word in unison.
"Team. Kent and Lane, Lane and Kent. Better start thinking of the billing for the bylines. Personally, I think Lane and Kent sounds a bit more euphonic, but then —"
"Lane, when I woke up this morning, I was under the impression I was the boss of the Daily Planet. Was I wrong?"
Lois visibly deflated. "No."
"I didn't think so." He sat down at his desk and looked up with a puzzled look. "Didn't I just give you two an assignment? Well?"
Before Lois could attempt another protest, Clark firmly guided her from the office while fighting a strong impulse to look back at Perry White. A nagging thought tugged at his mind. He still suspects.
Lois threw her notepad on her desk in disgust before sitting down, mimicking her boss, "There's an 'S' on his chest.'"
Clark coughed to cover up a chuckle.
"And you!" Lois looked up, knowing full well what Clark had just done. "Just how are you going to go about finding this guy? Does Perry know something I don't know?"
"Why don't you let me worry about that one, Lois? By the way, what did you think of him?" He asked it as lightly as he could and tried not to look up for her reaction, but it was useless. He had to know.
"Well, I'm probably not a good impartial judge at this point; he did save my life yesterday. But all in all…I'd have to say…"
She took a long pause and Clark held his breath. Then she raised her head and looked straight at Clark.
"…He was amazing." She heaved a huge sigh. "Can you believe that cape!" Another sigh.
Clark was shocked. "You liked it?"
"It was the most awesome …touch." She drew out the word as if she were speaking of something sensual. "Hey, not even Green Arrow came up with a cape! And when he flew, the way it flowed out behind him…" She gestured with her hands, remembering the cape whipping about in the wind, then she gave yet another sigh… and a dreamy smile. "But a name…a name…something with an "S"…Smallville, I'm not thinking of anything here." She tapped her chin with her pencil.
Clark smiled. When he had told his mom to weave an "S" in the design on the shield, he'd told her it was for Smallville, thinking of the pet name Lois had for him more than the town's name. They both thought the "8" symbol inside the shield was too foreign, too Kryptonian, and it could be traced back to the cave symbols. The "S" within the shield that had been Jor-El's symbol seemed far more appropriate, and it could stand for Smallville as well.
Lois was reciting words scanned from her thesaurus and tacking on 'man' after each one she found. "…splendid-man, stunning-man, stupendous …that's it!"
Clark groaned and Lois jumped up excitedly to run and tell Perry her idea.
Stupendous Man? And he thought the cape was a bad idea.