Pairings/Characters: Lois Lane (mention of past Clark/Lois), Jenny Olsen, Steve Lombard, Clark/Bruce, Perry White
Continuity: Batman Begins/The Man Of Steel
Genres: A Little Angst, AU (Some Canon Divergence), A Little Drama, Humor
Warnings: Brief mention of the discovery of bodies in the rubble and body count after the Battle of Metropolis.
Spoilers: Batman Begins (2005), For Man Of Steel (2013)
Summary: Lois is suspicious of new boss Bruce Wayne’s intentions toward Clark.
Date Of Completion: August 27, 2013
Date Of Posting: September 3, 2013
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and Warner Brothers do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 2141
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: This series will be set in Nolanverse and gradually explain how Clark and Bruce got together, but first, outsiders are asking, "Are they or aren’t they?" The series follows canon but with my own changes, so while there will be canon, there will be departures from it as well. The entire series can be found here.
P.S. I had a lemonade doughnut last month and LOVED it! ;)
Her weight in gold.
"Poems Of Friendship"
Lois was grateful that the elevators were working again in The Daily Planet building. She considered herself fit but walking up twenty flights of stairs every day had her puffing, especially if she had to do it more than once in the same day.
Of course Smallville never gets out of breath. Damn him, anyway.
The elevator dinged and the doors opened, the quiet turned to chaos as the noise of the newsroom swept over her. She smiled as she stepped out of the elevator. This was her world, and nothing would ever replace it.
Not even a Superman.
Her smile faltered slightly but she continued on to her desk, nodding to Jenny and avoiding Steve’s eyes, afraid that he would ask her yet again to the Benefit Ball.
She sat down and dumped her purse into her bottom right-hand drawer and locked it. Next she rummaged around the scattered papers on her desk while booting up her computer.
The desk opposite her was neat, everything organized: papers stacked, pencils in the cup, and the gold-framed family photographs angled just so at the corner of the desk. Martha and Jonathan Kent flanked a smiling teen-aged Clark, their arms around their boy and matching smiles on their faces.
Lois felt a pang again. She wished that their relationship had worked out, but at least they still had their friendship and working partnership. The whirlwind romance had burned out quickly but the foundation for something far more lasting had been laid.
Jenny stopped by on her way to Editorial. She waved her sheaf of papers in front of Lois’ face. “Yoo-hoo! Better stay alert, Ms. Lane. Our new boss is expected to visit us today.”
“Oh?” Lois’ journalistic instincts perked up.
“Yes.” Jenny leaned forward conspiratorially, her crisp white blouse crackling. Lois absentmindedly made a note to ask her where she took her clothes to be cleaned. “They say he’s not just here to look over his new acquisition but he might be trolling for some action.”
Lois laughed. “Do you think you’re a candidate?” The notion of Jenny Olsen ‘trolling for action’ with her demure mannerisms and clothing was irony at its best.
Oh, well, young girls dream.
Jenny was called away so Lois began calling up her files on Bruce Wayne. When he’d bought The Daily Planet two months ago she had dug up all kinds of information on him.
What a social dilettante. Drunk, air-headed, womanizing...
He was Old Money, born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, and probably unable to boil an egg or water, for that matter. He was the worst kind of parasite, in her opinion: a rich one.
This little visit should be interesting.
“Good morning, Lois.”
She jerked her head up. Damnit, does he think he’s Batman? Sneaking up on me!
Clark smiled at the nickname. He was wearing a navy-blue shirt and jacket with a light-blue silk tie. His pants matched and his shoes were polished, yet his shirt was slightly rumpled and his tie was askew. When he wore a full suit, it was often wrinkled and ill-fitting. She knew it was all part of the disguise but thought it a shame. Clark could really be a GQ candidate if he allowed himself.
Though I’ll have to admit he looks cute in his glasses.
“Hmm?” Lois was reading the article on Bruce Wayne burning down his house a few years ago.
“I said, hot story?”
“Oh, no. Just reading about our new boss’s dissolute ways.”
Clark was busy checking his e-mail and didn’t answer. Lois kept up her research as the sound of jackhammers and cranes were an undercurrent outside the windows. With the help of Superman, LuthorCorp and Wayne Enterprises, the clean-up and rebuilding was occurring at a record pace. In the days after the battle, the obituary pages had been so thick, they had required four times the number of sheets to cover them all, and as bodies were recovered, the Obits continued to be longer than usual. The city lived with life and death in juxtaposition every day.
A plate with a jelly doughnut was set by her elbow. "Thanks, Clark."
Clark smiled as he sat at his desk with a plate of his own. "I'm glad they had the lemonade doughnuts."
Lois bit into her doughnut. "Good ol' jelly is fine."
"You're a doughnut traditionalist."
"I should hope so."
Steve Lombard walked over. "Lois, how about it?"
"Forget it, Steve."
Clark pushed his glasses up his nose. "What are you guys talking about?"
"The Benefit Ball, Clarkie." Steve sipped his coffee.
"You gotta date?"
Steve clapped Clark on the back. "Well, don't worry, Clarkie. I'm sure you'll get a date by showtime."
Lois rolled her eyes. If Steve wound up with a date, she pitied the poor woman.
The elevator dinged and a stir could be heard as Lois craned her neck.
Yep, the Prince of Gotham is here.
Bruce Wayne strode as if he owned the place, which of course he did. He was immaculately attired in a dark-blue Savile Row suit, crisp white shirt and gray silk tie with a black diamond pattern. His Gucci loafers shone as he smiled benevolently at his employees. His haircut was a flattering style and probably cost a week's salary, Lois thought wryly. She wouldn't even bother to guess the cost of the suit.
"Welcome, Mr. Wayne." Perry emerged from his office as he approached the billionaire.
Bruce held out his hand. "Thank you, Mr. White." They shook hands. "I'd like to speak to you about a few things."
"Come this way." They disappeared into Perry's office.
"Looks like we're spared the Prince for awhile." Lois took another bite of her doughnut.
"You don't like him very much, do you?" asked Clark.
"I dislike parasites, yes."
"But he's helping us rebuild Metropolis and Smallville, too."
"He should. Anyone as rich as he is should spend some of those ill-gotten gains to help others."
"Yeah." Lois scowled at her computer screen. "He's Old Money, and fortunes built centuries ago were built on the backs of workers who toiled fourteen-hour days in fields or factories, so forgive me if I don't swoon over the descendant of robber barons."
Clark opened his mouth but shut it again. Lois hoped that she had made her case convincingly. She started clacking away on the keys.
Several minutes went by as Lois wrote her current story at a white-hot pace. Clark was busy with his own typing.
"You know, your fingers are going to cramp if you keep that up."
Lois jerked her head up but the smooth voice wasn't directed at her. Bruce Wayne was leaning over Clark, his tie brushing against Clark's bare forearm. Clark’s sleeve was rolled up. She could see the glint of a pearl stickpin on Wayne’s tie.
"Oh, I, uh, I'm just..." Clark pushed his glasses up nervously "...umm, busy working on a story."
Lois frowned. Clark was clearly nervous and Wayne was still hovering.
The arrogance of privilege.
"And what story is that?"
"Oh, about the controversy over how to rebuild Suicide Slum."
"Dreadful name," Wayne murmured.
Lois kept quiet but suddenly realized what had been bothering her about Clark's ensemble. The tie was silk and probably cost a month's salary. What the heck was Clark doing with an expensive tie like that?
“So, what’s the controversy?”
“Some people want to gentrify the area while others want to build low-income housing.”
“Ah, the eternal debate.”
Lois wanted to comment on how living in a castle might dull his edge in the debate but wisely refrained. There was only so much insubordination she could be expected to get away with.
Wayne was definitely invading Clark’s personal space but the reporter was more relaxed now. In fact, Clark was eagerly giving Wayne all the information that he had gathered.
Lois typed while she observed her colleague and their boss. Bruce Wayne actually looked interested, a good act for an airhead.
She quickly scanned her computer screen. Lucius Fox was the real brains behind Wayne Enterprises. Bruce Wayne just carried the family name and looked pretty for the cameras, which he did quite well, she had to admit.
“Is that a lemonade doughnut?” Wayne asked Clark.
“I really like that kind.”
“There might be another one in the break room.”
“Let’s go see.”
Clark rose from his chair and Wayne smiled at him in that Brucie way of his that rattled Lois’ teeth. Clark led the way to the break room and Wayne’s smile turned salacious for just a brief moment before it turned back to vacuous. A thought dawned on Lois and she nearly knocked her pencil cup onto the floor.
Damnit! That playboy is lusting after sweet, innocent Clark!
She didn’t care how many years of wandering in the wilderness Clark had done; he was still a babe-in-the-woods.
Not to mention that Clark’s in a vulnerable position. He’s an employee and Wayne holds power over him. Lois furiously chewed on her doughnut, adding up a few things in her head. That silk tie! I bet that scumbag is plying Clark with expensive gifts.
She stood up, trembling with outrage. That silver spoon parasite was dragging Clark off to have his wicked way with him.
Lois felt her Irish rise up. She stalked toward the break room, ready for bear, as her father would say. She marched into the modest room with its table, chairs and refrigerator. An old couch was shoved up against the wall, a weird fuchsia color but it was at least comfortable. She looked at it suspiciously. Had Wayne considered maneuvering Clark onto it before abandoning the idea?
Where could they be? She tapped her foot impatiently with her hands on her hips. The roof!
She sped up the stairwell. It was only six flights up and she had a head of steam. She barged up onto the roof and was disappointed by the empty space in the shadow of the giant Daily Planet globe.
Fuck this! I’m a top investigative reporter. I should be able to find one overgrown Kansas farmboy and one spoiled rich playboy.
She stomped down the stairs and emerged back on the newsroom floor. She checked the break room again, but only Steve was there, pouring a cup of coffee.
“What are you gritting your teeth for, Lois?”
“Oh, nothing, Steve.” She smiled sweetly. “Can you do me a favor?”
“Sure.” Steve grinned.
Yeah, and that grin means he thinks that I’ll owe him one. Fat chance. This favor isn’t worth a return one.
“Could you go to the men’s room and see if Clark’s in there?”
Steve put the coffeepot down. “Why not call him on his cell?”
“He left it on his desk.”
“Okay.” Steve looked at her a little askance. He sipped his coffee and set the cup on his desk after exiting the break room. He disappeared into the men’s room.
Lois kept her eye on the newsroom but there was no sign of Clark or Wayne. Steve came out of the men’s room.
“No corn-fed Kansan in there.”
“Um, Lois, how about…?”
Lois waved. “Perry! I’ve got to talk to you!” She hurried over to the editor, who squinted at her. He really needed to get his eyes checked. “Where’s our boss?”
“How should I know?” Perry grumped.
“Don’t you know anything around here?” Lois asked, smiling to make sure that Perry knew that she was teasing.
“Hmph.” He eyed her shrewdly. “What are you up to, Lane?”
“Who, me, Chief? Nothing, nothing at all.”
She sauntered off. She could feel Perry’s gaze boring into her back. Didn’t anybody trust anyone around here anymore?
“And don’t call me Chief!”
She smiled but instantly became ready to ‘pop her top’ as he dad would have said when she saw Clark and Bruce emerge from the elevator. She made a beeline for them.
“Thank you for that informative tour, Clark.”
“My pleasure, Mr. Wayne.”
Lois was ready to rip into Wayne, boss or no boss, when she noticed that Clark’s smile was bright and relaxed without a hint of strain.
Okay, did I imagine it all? Or is Clark enamored of the Prince?
“Oh, hi, Lois. Is something up?” asked Clark.
“Um, no, just on my way to Editorial.”
Lois headed off to Editorial. Bruce Wayne would bear watching.
“You know, Clark, we never did find that lemonade doughnut. Let’s go look.”
Lois rolled her eyes as Bruce’s hearty laughter followed her down the hall.
Streaked with gold,
A glorious show,
For the brave
And the bold.
"Red Sky At Morning"