Title: Reportorial Instinct (1/1)
Pairings/Characters: Lois Lane, Perry White, Clark/Bruce
Genres: Angst, Drama, Hurt/Comfort
Summary: During a vigil at Superman’s bedside, Lois’ reportorial instincts are still sharp.
Date Of Completion: December 29, 2019
Date Of Posting: June 4, 2020
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1261
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Note: Happy Birthday, mithen! :)
Lois pounded the keys of the computer keyboard with a vengeance. She glared at the screen, the words spilling out and marching across the screen with militaristic precision.
Everyone in the newsroom avoided her desk. She was nearly inhaling coffee and doughnuts like a chain-smoker. Lois Lane was on a mission.
In his office, Perry White frowned as he looked through the glass at his star reporter. He barely glanced at the news footage on a constant loop on WGBS, a familiar red-yellow-and-blue figure trading blows with a huge, armored figure high above the city of Metropolis.
The newsroom held an undercurrent of tension. Usually the scene of controlled chaos, it was now a scene of focused determination as reporters banged out stories relating different angles of the main event that had recently transpired in the skies over Metropolis. The photography department was busy developing the pictures taken by staffers on the scene as the print and online staffs prepared to receive copy.
The next edition would be going to press as an extra. Newspapers might be dying, but they were still in the journalism business. The extra edition would also be uploaded to the Daily Planet website, but Perry was old school. He would always prefer the smell of fresh newsprint to the sterility of electronic formats.
Lois saw the image of Superman falling to earth on one of the large screens in the newsroom. She growled and hit the Save key savagely.
Perry watched as Lois stood up, hit another key, and left her desk. He heard a ping! on his computer and checked his e-mail. Yes, there was her story. He began reading.
Lois swept into his office and shut the door behind her. “Well?”
She waited impatiently, pacing the floor. Finally Perry said, “Okay.” He hit the Send key. “It’ll be front page.”
“Good.” Lois headed for the door.
She paused with her hand on the doorknob. “Yes?”
“Tell him we’re all pulling for him.”
She nodded and left the office. Grabbing her purse from her desk, she left the newsroom and went down to the street, hailing a cab.
“Metropolis General,” she said.
The traffic was terrible, as usual, but the taxi pulled up at the entrance of the hospital and Lois got out, paying the cabbie and pushing through the crowd gathered outside. She crossed the lobby and took the elevator to the sixth floor, nodding to the nurses at their station and entering the room of their most famous patient.
She was startled to see Bruce Wayne sitting by the bed. Irritated, she snapped, “What is the owner of the Daily Planet doing here?”
Bruce looked guilty for a second, then cool as he answered, “Seeing how Metropolis’ hero is doing.”
Except for the beeping of the medical monitors, silence fell on the room. Lois approached the bedside. Superman looked so pale! A strange look. This man was the embodiment of the sun. She remembered how his skin glowed with sunshine after…
Lois remembered Bruce’s presence and nearly blushed. She touched Superman’s iconic curl and felt despair. How could this happen? Fighting an armored villain wasn’t easy, but Superman shouldn’t be so drained.
“Why aren’t there sun lamps in here?” she asked curtly.
“They’ve been tried. Whatever zapped him is defying the usual cures.”
Lois pulled a chair up to the bed. She wanted to say she would take over now, but Wayne was her boss. His presence annoyed her and she wasn’t sure why.
Silence again. As she watched over her ex-lover she wondered why Bruce Wayne was here. He just seemed a strange presence in this room.
She knew that Superman was unresponsive. What a frustrating situation!
She surreptitiously observed Bruce. He was totally focused on Superman. Her reporter’s eye observed the billionaire. The look in his eyes was steady and almost cool, and that made her angry.
“Would you like some coffee, Lois?”
“Sure.” Anything to get him out of the room.
Bruce left the room and Lois asked, “Kal, what’s going on? Why is the Prince of Gotham hanging around here?” She smiled slightly. “I guess I’m a little jealous. Silly, isn’t it? But I feel protective of you. You’re so sweet and trusting. Bruce Wayne’s a shark. He’s not the airhead he pretends to be.”
Lois crossed her arms. It was certainly a puzzle.
Bruce returned and Lois silently accepted the cup of coffee. As she sipped the bitter brew, she resumed her observations. Bruce Wayne sipped his coffee and kept his eyes on the monitors.
“Any leads on who the armored attacker was?” he asked.
Lois looked at him. His sudden question had startled her. “No.”
“So the police have ruled out Luthor?”
“For now. I wouldn’t put him aside completely right now, though. His sole reason for living is to kill Superman.”
“Yes, Lex is driven.”
“Do you know him?”
“We run in the same circles.”
“Pretty much.” Light glinted off his gold cufflink. Real gold, of course.
“Luthor can be charming when he wants to be. He’s still a snake,” Lois said.
“True on both counts.”
She drank more coffee. She wondered if Luthor had really been the man in the armor, or knew who it had been. She would have to get on that.
Wayne was silent again. He was gazing at Superman. This time, the look in his eyes was…
Her eyes widened. She froze in the act of bringing the Styrofoam cup to her lips.
She was certain of what she was seeing. How often had she seen the same expression in the mirror?
He’s in love with Superman.
Oh, that was rich! Flighty billionaire in love with the Man of Steel!
Well, I know how a certain Kryptonian can captivate a mere mortal.
Lois began to rifle through her mental filing cabinet. She had seen that expression on Bruce Wayne’s face before, but where?
The Daily Planet newsroom! And directed at Clark.
Old suspicions rushed back. The truth clicked, traveling from synapse-to-synapse at lightning speed.
So, Clark, you are Superman.
It was a wonderful revelation. She finally knew for sure what she suspected she had always known, somewhere deep down.
Still, it’s weird that Clark fell in love with a spoiled rich guy. Though maybe there’s more to him.
Another suspicion floated through her mind.
Nah. The Bat? Why would Clark be attracted to a sarcastic, intense person whom people steered clear of…oh.
Of course. The Prince of Gotham. The Dark Knight. Justice League buddies. Superheroes. The World’s Finest.
The monitors beeped erratically. Lois and Bruce immediately leaned forward.
“Superman. Kal!” said Lois.
Bruce put a hand on Superman’s arm.
Superman’s eyes fluttered open. “Bruce,” he said in a raspy voice. His unearthly blue eyes regarded the billionaire with deep affection.
Lois felt great relief. She smirked again.
You’ve still got the best reporter’s instincts in town, Lane.
“Hey, Superman. Glad to see you back.” Lois brushed back the curl.
Superman…Clark…smiled tiredly. He began to close his eyes.
“Get some rest, Superman,” said Bruce, squeezing his arm.
“Mmm.” Superman slid into sleep.
Lois and Bruce turned to leave and Lois paused at the doorway. She blocked the way out with her arm and Bruce looked at her quizzically.
“If you don’t treat him right, you’ll answer to me.”
Lois was pleased to see the look of surprise on Bruce’s face. She walked out with a supremely satisfied smile.
Let the Bat chew on that for awhile!This story can also be read on AO3. This entry has been cross-posted from Dreamwidth. Comment on either entry as you wish. :)