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19 August 2007 @ 11:15 am
Traffic  
Title: Traffic
Author: jenna_knight
Category: movieverse
Prompt: "traffic"
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1537
Summary: Lois vows to beat Clark to the latest story but unfortunately gets stuck in traffic.
Spoilers: none
Author's Notes: Thank you to htbthomas for the excellent beta and to bistyboo1974 for creating this community.

Lois restlessly tapped her pen against the side of the table. Today’s meeting was taking longer than usual. She was no longer listening to what Perry was saying; she just hoped he would finish soon. Lois noticed the chief’s eyes dart toward the door of the War Room and she, as well as the majority of her coworkers, turned to see the cause.

Clark Kent had his hand on the door but froze as he felt the combined weight of the entire room’s gaze.

Lois glanced at the empty seat next to her. She hadn’t even heard him get up. For someone who seemed so awkward in his own body, Clark was amazingly stealth when he wanted to be. She could ask him about it, but would probably get an answer like Oh, we used to go cow-tipping in Kansas and I spent hours practicing sneaking up on cows. Or something to that effect.

“Going somewhere, Kent?” Perry asked.

Lois heard Gil utter under his breath, “Busted.”

“Clark, I need to talk with you.” Perry then added, “The rest of you are free to go.”

Finally, Lois thought as she collected her notes and waited for the crowd to filter out of the war room.

She wondered how much trouble Clark was in. She smiled at the thought. She liked him, but as of late, he was getting on her nerves. Not that he had done anything wrong – just the opposite. He was always the perfect picture of country-boy civility. Which made it even harder to hate him.

Lately Clark had scooped Lois for several stories. She wasn’t quite sure how he managed it. He had some sort of sixth sense for news; it was almost as if he knew about stories before they broke. Which is why she seriously doubted Clark was in any real sort of trouble. As much as she hated to admit it he was too valuable to the paper. It just irked her to no end that he continued to out-scoop her, and Lois wasn’t going to let it happen again.

Lois dropped her notes onto her messy desk and parked herself at her computer. She was just about to log back in when she saw Jimmy running over.

“What’s up?”

“Fire.” Jimmy spat out. “It’s a big one. West Freemont and 36th Street. I think its some sort of financial building.”

Lois didn’t respond to Jimmy. Instead she hopped out of her seat, grabbing her jacket from the back of her chair, and darted for the elevator.

Once inside the elevator, she pressed the button for the ground floor. She noticed Clark jogging in her direction. Not this time, Kent. Lois thought. She frantically pressed the button for the doors to close. I will not let you scoop me. The doors closed before Clark was within distance of stopping them.

As the elevator descended, Lois wondered about the reason Clark had gotten up from his seat during the meeting. Had he somehow known about the fire?

She reached the ground floor and decided that Clark’s mysterious premonitions about the news would have to wait. She had a story to write.

Lois flagged down a cab and announced to the driver, “West Freemont and 36th Street. If you get me there in under five minutes there’s a forty dollar tip in it for you.”

“Yes, ma’am.” The cabby replied. She had barely closed the door behind her when the driver slammed down on the accelerator. Lois knew she had made her point.

In her experience, most cab drivers already had a pretty loose interpretation of road rules. But all respect for the law, and general safety of pedestrians, went out the window when a large tip was involved. She held on to the seat and closed her eyes. Then she noticed they had come to a stop.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, despite the fact that she could clearly see traffic was at a standstill.

“Traffic’s bad,” he replied, distraught that his tip was in jeopardy. He turned up his radio. “Looks like there’s some sort of accident up ahead.”

“How far are we?”

“’Bout 6 blocks…I could try and back out, take another way.”

They were in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Was he considering going up on the curb and cutting across the sidewalk?

“No. I’ll get out here.”

Lois reached into her purse and pulled out a fifty. It was only a 9 dollar cab ride and even though they weren’t quite there, she had made a promise. It would be worth it as long as she got to the fire before Clark.

She gave him the bill but didn’t even wait to hear his reaction – she was already sprinting toward the building on fire. After two blocks, she decided to take off her heels. She sprinted the next four blocks barefoot, carrying her purse in one hand and her shoes in the other. Lois probably looked like a crazy person but at the moment she didn’t care.

She arrived at the scene of the fire and pushed her way through the crowd, flashing her press pass.

“Daily Planet,” she gasped, out of breath. She cursed her lungs and the years of smoking.

She crossed the police line and approached one of the officers. “Lois Lane, Daily Planet. Can I ask you some questions about the fire?”

“Uh sure, I guess.”

“Which floor did it originate on? Has it been contained?”

“I’m not sure which floor it started on. They’re still not sure of the cause. The firefighters had it mostly under control by the time Superman came. He got the remaining people out, made sure the building was structurally sound. The firefighters are investigating right now.”

“Great. So far are there any leads?” Lois replied, finally beginning to catch her breath.

“Not yet… which paper did you say you were from?”

“The Daily Planet.”

“You know, I already gave a statement to someone from your paper.” The officer pointed, “That guy over there.”

Lois’ heart stopped as she looked over and saw Clark Kent talking with the chief of the fire department. Unbelievable.

She stomped over toward Clark and interrupted his interview, “You win, Clark. Happy? Well, are you?”

Clark looked her up and down, and Lois realized that she must have looked a mess in addition to now acting like a maniac.

“Do you know this woman?” the chief of the fire department asked. “Miss, I’m going to have to ask you to step back behind the police tape.”

Clark only smirked in response.

“I don’t know how you did it, but I give up.” Lois threw her arms up in defeat. “You can tell Perry I’m taking the rest of the afternoon off.”

***

Lois got home and went straight to the shower. She hadn’t run like that in a long time. As the water poured over her, she couldn’t keep her mind from thinking about Clark and how he beat her to the scene of the fire. It was physically impossible. Had he sprinted all the way there? If he had, he didn’t show any signs of exertion. Still her cab had made great time until they hit traffic. Clark should have hit the same traffic had he been in cab. It just didn’t make sense. There was no feasible way for him to have gotten there before her.

After her shower, she changed into a fresh set of work clothes and headed back to The Daily Planet.

***

Once she was back at the office, she marched straight up to Clark’s desk.

“I thought you were taking the afternoon off,” Clark smiled when he saw her but she was not going to put up with this innocent farm-boy routine.

“I lied. You should know me better than that.”

“Is there something I can do for you, Lois?”

“Stop playing coy. It’s not cute anymore. I want to know how you got there before me…no more excuses.”

“I don’t see why you’re so upset.” He answered, avoiding the question.

“I went through every scenario in my head…” Then she let out a crazed laugh, which probably further put her sanity into question. She added facetiously, “The only possible way you could have gotten there before me is if you flew.”

She expected to hear Clark’s jovial, Oh, Lois, that’s ridiculous. But he paused. His face was expressionless, almost scared. Then his blue eyes held hers. For a second she saw a lightness – an expression of hope – dart through them.

Then he replied, “That’s impossible.” Yet his answer was off; he said it with too much seriousness.

She realized that in her sarcasm, she had somehow stumbled on the truth. “You did fly? But how? You… Oh, God.”

The full implications of her discovery hit her like an oncoming truck. She wasn’t one to faint normally, but the enormity of her realization, perhaps combined with the fact that her body was unaccustomed to the exertion from before, completely knocked her knees out from under her.

With preternatural speed he was up from his seat to catch her. She felt his strong, familiar hands on her back, supporting her.

“Lois, are you alright? Lois?”

She realized, as he said her name, that it was the voice of the man she loved.