AN: I am using the Golden Age versions of Superman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the gang but placing them in the present. Some notes: Lex Luthor is still a "renegade scientist," Cheetah is still a schizophrenic socialite, and Lois is not out to prove that Clark is Superman.
I have no legal rights over any DC Comics characters or content.
EYE MUST BE MISTAKEN
Clark Kent walked into the Daily Planet building and made his way over to his floor, carefully handling two cups of coffee in his hands. Late last night, Superman had apprehended a notorious masked bandit, and Lois had been there too. After the two had swooned over each other a little (he and Lois, not he and the bandit), Lois had gone off to the Daily Planet offices to write up the story. This was why Clark brought an extra cup of coffee with him that morning; he figured that poor Lois would need it.
Just as he had suspected, Lois was at her desk, snoring. She had fallen asleep with her forehead on her arm so he could only see the back of her little brunette head, which he looked at fondly for some time before he whispered gently, "Lois?"
"Hmgph!" Lois mumbled in mid-snore as she jerked awake and turned to face Clark.
"Coffee?" he offered politely. Lois glared at him sleepily and then plucked one of the cups from his hand. Their fingers brushed for the briefest of seconds, but it was enough to make Clark's toes wriggle in delight inside of his loafers. Since she had accepted the coffee, he felt brave enough to venture into a conversation. "What are you working on, Lois?" he asked tentatively as he settled into his nearby desk. "Another Superman story, I'll bet."
"Well, of course," Lois breezed as she began to type furiously on her keyboard, "I always make it a point to be the one to break Superman stories." As an afterthought, she added, "It mixes business with pleasure," and then proceeded to become starry-eyed.
"It's neat that you always manage to find him," Clark admired, hardly believing his luck that Lois had given him more than a one-word answer, although the subject of Superman did tend to have that effect on her. Was it crazy to be jealous of himself, he wondered?
"Yes…" she answered absently, and Clark thought that maybe he had jumped the gun in hoping for a proper conversation. He brightened up when she spoke again. "I had trouble finding him last night, though," she muttered, "I think I need glasses." She squinted at the computer screen and then slowly turned her head until she was looking directly at Clark. "Let me see yours," she ordered.
Uh oh. Remove his glasses – and in front of Lois, at that? "Well now, Lois," he began, but when an enthusiastic Lois snatched the glasses clean off of his face, all he could do was gulp miserably. She won't find any use for them and she'll give them right back to you, he tried to comfort himself, Your eyesight is perfect, remember? Nevertheless, he couldn't help sinking into his seat. For a man his size, it hardly made a difference.
To his dismay, he watched as Lois moved her head around and exclaimed, "Well, what do you know! I can see perfectly!"
"Really?" gaped Clark – for once, he didn't only act stupefied. Maybe the Kryptonian material of his lenses had a special ocular effect on humans. Or maybe Lois was playing a really mean trick on him – the possibility brought an image of a wilting flower into his mind, which was funny, because it was exactly how his heart felt at that moment…
Clark had little time to nurse his hurt, because just then, Perry appeared. "Lois," he barked, "Major Steve Trevor – that's Wonder Woman's guy – was just seen in Metropolis. Find out what's going on."
"I'm on it, chief," Lois said, and hopped out of her chair, grabbed her purse, and darted out of sight so quickly that Clark wondered if his glasses – which, unfortunately, disappeared along with her – had somehow given her superpowers. No, that was ridiculous…wasn't it?
When Clark noticed that Perry was looking at him peculiarly, he knew that he had to go buy replacement glasses for the time being, and fast.
Lex Luthor didn't like working with crazy people. It was why he was very particular that he be referred to as a "renegade scientist" and not a "mad scientist." This was just one of his personal rules.
Lex Luthor, being a bald, brainy, and big of girth, didn't have much luck with the ladies. It wasn't anything personal against Lex. This was just one of the universe's rules.
So when Lex met a woman who shared his interests and seemed to like him too, he put aside all of his personal prejudices against crazy people, because if the universe could make an exception to the rules, then so could he. The woman who had taken a liking to Lex was Priscilla Rich, and she was currently dressed in a cheetah-skin outfit for some reason that he couldn't quite discern.
Despite this obvious and glaring crazy, he was having a lovely time. They were in one of his penthouses, sharing crudités and wine while talking about how much they hated Superman and Wonder Woman, a subject that never failed to bring a smile to his face.
"I hate Superman!" cried Lex.
"I hate Wonder Woman!" cried Cheetah.
"If I capture Superman," schemed Lex, "Then I can get rid of him and no one will be there to stop my shady but profitable schemes."
"Yes," Cheetah purred, "And if I capturrrre Wonder Woman, then I can tie herrrr up."
Lex waited for Cheetah to finish her thought, but when he saw that she was quite satisfied with what she had said and had no intention of expounding on it any further, he shook his head and moved on.
"If only there was a trap brilliant yet evil enough to lure them both," he dreamed aloud.
"Oh, you just have use their weakness against them," Cheetah shrugged as if it was the easiest thing in the world.
Lex frowned. "Haven't you ever read the Daily Planet? Every day there's a story about me using kryptonite against Superman...and failing."
"I don't mean that weakness," Cheetah corrected him as she transferred her vintage merlot from its wineglass into a saucer. "I'm referring to their real weaknesses. Tying Wonder Woman up leaves her powerless just like kryptonite does to your Superman, but I only do that for fun." Here she paused to lap up some of her wine. "You know what I do when I really want to hurt her?"
"What?" In spite of himself, Lex was leaning forward in rapt curiosity, even though his instincts were telling him that he should slowly inch away from Priscilla/Cheetah.
Her smile was positively diabolical. "I kidnap Steve Trevor."
One of his eyebrows shot up. "You kidnap Steve Trevor?"
"I kidnap Steve Trevor," she repeated, "That's when Wonder Woman gets really helpless."
"...So if I want to defeat Superman once and for all, all I have to do is kidnap Lois Lane..." It was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. In all of his scheming and conniving, renegade scientist Lex Luthor had forgotten the elegance and power of a woman's touch.
"We can do it now, if you want. Steve Trevor is having coffee with Lois Lane in Metropolis, and then afterwards they're getting hot dogs in the park."
Lex did a double take. "How could you possibly know that?" he blinked, thoroughly impressed.
"Oh, I follow him on Twitter," Cheetah explained as she looked up from her Blackberry.
"Twitter, of course," muttered Lex, and then he cleared his throat. He grabbed Cheetah's hands in a dashing sort of sweep and clasped them close to his chest. "Let's go have a stakeout in the park, my darling."
Cheetah meowed delightedly.
At the Eyeglass Emporium, it took Clark several minutes to find just the right frames: pearly black, perfectly circular, and not too assuming. Marveling at his luck, he reached for the glasses when he noticed with some anxiety that someone else had grabbed hold of them right then too. With a sigh, he turned to see who it was, and – pleasantly enough! – it was his good friend Wonder Woman who stood next to him in partial disguise.
"Diana!" he exclaimed. He saw that she wasn't wearing her glasses either, and he delighted in the silly coincidence.
"Clark!" she blinked rapidly in surprise, "I didn't recognize you without your glasses!"
He nodded. "Lois got a hold of them. What happened to yours?"
Diana sighed. "One of my colleagues thought it would be funny if he stole them to do an impression of me. He got called away on a mission to Metropolis before he could return them." For some reason, she then looked away guiltily.
"Diana," Clark scolded, "This 'colleague' wasn't Steve Trevor, was it?"
The doleful look she gave him was answer enough. "We talked about this!" he continued scolding, "Steve isn't very nice to you. You have to let that ship sail!"
"We also talked about you and Lois," she frowned, and as he knew very well that he could never even think of forsaking his beloved Lois, he decided to let Diana's devotion to Steve slide this time. Seeing that his friend needed a pick-me-up, he let her buy the glasses they both had liked, and found another pair for himself.
"Lois is meeting up with Steve," Clark said as they left the store. "Should we go keep an eye on them?"
"Knowing Steve, he's already been kidnapped," agreed his friend with a faraway smile that Clark couldn't help but find morbid. "They should be nearby. Let's duck into this alley to change."
"I just saw my boss's secretary duck into that alley with that fellow you work with," Steve Trevor informed Lois Lane as they walked down the street.
"I saw it too," Lois grimaced, "They look like brother and sister, especially with those matching Edith Head glasses." No matter that she happened to be wearing an extremely similar pair at the moment.
"Kinky," pronounced Steve, and then growled his approval.
Lois gave him a concerned sideways glance and then adjusted Clark's glasses on top of her head so that they pushed back her hair. "So we've said that our families are fine, you outlined your latest bar-chasing story, and I told you some cutesy anecdotes about my niece, Susie. Now let's cut to the chase, Steve. Why are you here?"
Steve laughed evasively. "You know I can't tell you that Lois. Not that I don't want to, but being top secret is my job."
"Well you have to do your job, and I have to do mine," Lois nodded, "And I'm very good at my job, which is why we might as well get to the point now. Come on, what can you tell me about why you're in Metropolis?"
"Lois, if I told you, you wouldn't be able to print it in your newspaper." He looked around a little cautiously, and then he leaned towards her. Lois, who could never say no to someone who looked conspiratorial, mirrored this movement. "You want to know the real reason I'm here?" he hissed.
Lois held her breath for a Pulitzer-caliber story.
"It's because my boss's darn secretary is driving me nuts!"
Lois frowned. "Come on, Steve," she importuned, but then remembered just who Steve's boss's secretary was, and just who she had been seen with only moments ago. Suddenly, her interests shifted. "Oooh." Her eyes widened. "But we just saw her!"
Steve made a face. "I know!" he cried. "I didn't know that she'd turn up here. I even stole her glasses to make sure that she wouldn't follow me, but no matter where I go she's always there. She's driving me crazy! I'm just lucky she never interrupts me when I'm with Wonder Woman. Then we would have a problem." He waved his fists in the air to punctuate his message.
"Don't I know exactly how you feel," Lois sympathized with a groan, "I have Clark Kent breathing down my back all of the time, but the moment I get into trouble he conveniently disappears. It's no thanks to him that I'm still alive, all credit there goes to Superman."
"Well, Lois, you certainly take the cake when it comes to bravery," her friend offered in solace, "It's hard to keep up with you and your exploits."
"Likewise," Lois returned magnanimously. Both of them fell into separately reminiscing about how many times they had been kidnapped, or sent to the hospital, or chanced upon crime rings, or traveled through time, or fallen into wells…
This reverie was interrupted by the time they reached the park entrance. "The best hot dog cart in all of Metropolis is just five minutes away," she told Steve. Steve flashed her an adventurous thumbs up.
"I have the chloroform and handkerchiefs ready," said Lex, as he adjusted the cap on his hot dog vendor disguise.
Priscilla smoothed the apron on her own hot dog vendor's assistant disguise, and then twirled Lex's fake moustache for good luck. "Now when they order their hot dogs, they won't get a good bite, but a good night."
"Ha ha ha ha ha!"
"Yes, ha ha ha ha ha!"
Seated in the Invisible Jet, Superman and Wonder Woman trailed Lois and Steve under a veil of inconspicuousness. Clark was busy scanning for the voices of his enemies, and out of sheer inherent politeness, tried to block out the sounds of Lois and Steve's conversation. He was sure that he wouldn't have liked what they were saying, anyway.
Finally, he heard something of note. "Wonder Woman, my super-hearing has picked up something distressing!" he exclaimed.
"What is it, Superman?" Wonder Woman cried.
"Lex Luthor and your arch-nemesis Cheetah are planning to kidnap both Lois and Steve when they reach the hot dog cart!"
"Great Hera! Steve and Lois are having hot dogs together?"
"Yes…wait – focus, Diana," Clark reminded her gently, "We have to save them from being kidnapped."
"Right, of course," Wonder Woman agreed at once, "Let's hover the jet by the hot dog cart so that we can alight to save them at moment's notice."
By this time, Lois and Steve were in full swing, doing what they did best.
"Sometimes, Clark comes into work wearing two different colored socks! Maybe no one would notice if his pants weren't so short," snorted Lois.
"At least Clark leaves the office. Diana dresses like she lives in the office! Same outfit every day!"
"Don't you all wear uniforms, Steve?"
"Well," Steve thought for a moment. "…Yes," he had to admit.
Lois overlooked this with a wave of her hand. "Their outfits are the least of our worries, anyway. It's how they just won't give up that's the problem." She pulled Clark's glasses off of her head and onto her face. "I'm Clark Kent," she mocked in the nerdiest voice she could manage, "I think that if I try really hard I might have a chance with Lois, even though her name is regularly linked with Superman's in all of the gossip columns!"
"Oh, oh!" Steve cried. He dug into his pocket and pulled a pair of spectacles that looked almost exactly like the ones that Lois had on. Once he smashed them against his face, he clasped his hands together and brought them by his face and then batted his eyes; the thick lenses hilariously magnified them. "I'm Diana Prince," he sang, "I would have a hard time getting a man as it is, but I've set my sights on the one who's dating WONDER WOMAN! La la la!"
Peals of laughter filled the afternoon sky. The two friends were quite breathless from all of their guffawing by the time they reached the hot dog cart. "Two hot dogs, please," Steve ordered politely as he pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose again; they had sagged a little in all of the merriment.
"Coming right up," said the vendor. His moustache wiggled when he talked.
Lois kept her glasses on as she counted out the change from her wallet. She handed the money to the vendor's assistant. "Keep the change," she offered.
The vendor's assistant smiled. "Thank you! You two have a nice day."
"Thank you," said Steve with a flirty wink as he accepted their food from the vendor. He handed one of the hot dogs to Lois, and the two temporarily-bespectacled friends headed back towards the park gate.
From their position in the sky, Wonder Woman and Superman observed all of this thoughtfully. "Huh, who knew that mocking us would end up saving their lives?" mused Wonder Woman as she watched her and Superman's you knows safely leave the hot dog cart without being recognized by either Lex Luthor or Priscilla.
"Huh," echoed Superman, a little helplessly, although he was quite pleased by how everything had turned out. Suddenly, he cleared his throat. "You know, Wonder Woman, sometimes I wonder about our disguises. A pair of glasses…why does it work?"
Wonder Woman sighed. "I used to think that it was because Steve never really looked at me when I was Diana Prince so he couldn't compare me to Wonder Woman, but now, after seeing all this…I don't know what to think."
"It means that we're doing something right," he said determinedly. "I should get back to the office before Lois notices that I'm gone. She might want to talk to me."
"And I should get back to stalking Steve from a safe but noticeable distance."
They hugged as they said goodbye, a hug full of fraternal affection and pity, but most of all, of empathy.
Lex and Cheetah had been waiting behind the hot dog cart for over five hours, yet still there had been no sign of either Steve Trevor or Lois Lane. According to union guidelines, they should have closed shop by now.
When they were washed in complete darkness, Cheetah nudged Lex with her elbow. He looked over to see her engrossed with her Blackberry. "Steve just tweeted that he's headed back to Washington after eating the most delicious hot dogs he's ever tasted."
Lex blinked twice. "That's impossible! We've been here for hours, but we didn't see them! This is the only possible hot dog cart they could have visited!"
"Maybe they were wearing disguises," she suggested.
"To buy hot dogs? Impossible," Lex spat, "Maybe they sent someone else to buy the hot dogs for them."
Cheetah gasped. "Ingenious."
"Yes," Lex agreed, "After years of finding themselves in precarious positions, Major Trevor and Miss Lane have finally learned to stay alert at all times." It was the only possible explanation.
He looked over at Cheetah, who was busily stuffing hot dogs into her Michael Kors hobo. When she saw Lex looking at her, she paused and explained, "For tonight."
He was surprised at first, but then he smiled. It was going to be a happy ending after all.