“Where are we going to?” Clark asked as Lois held his hand and led him out in an open field of the farm.
Lois stopped and turned to look at him. “We’re here,” she said, with arms wide open.
He looked around, confused. “What for?”
She leaned in and smiled. “For this.” She then kissed him. Despite the slightly frown on his face, Clark quickly responded to her sweet lips touching his. She wrapped her arm around his waist tightly as her lips brushed his and her tongue danced with his.
Lois broke the kiss suddenly. Clark opened his eyes slowly, missing the contact. He saw Lois wearing a grin bigger than life. “We should continue doing this in my bedroom,” he said.
“Oh, I don’t know, I like it here under the stars,” she told him, looking around, a secret smile on her lips.
Clark looked puzzled. He finally followed the movements of her head and looked around, up and down. They were several thousand of feet above the ground. He looked back at her, eyes wide-open. “You… Y-you’re flying?!”
She nodded, happiness evident on her face.
“When the helicopter that Oliver and AC were in was about to crash, there was only way I could land them in safety. So I flew and did it.” The surprised look didn’t leave Clark’s face. “It was the most amazing feeling I’d ever had – aside when I’m with you, of course. I feel like I can do anything now.”
Her smile didn’t reach him, who didn’t know what to make of it. “I… Uh… Can you put me back on the ground?” he asked, a certain distance in his voice.
She looked surprised. “Oh.” She tried to look into his eyes, but he was looking down. “O… Okay.”
She descended them slowly, her eyes trying to reach and read his, but he was averting his eyes. When their feet were finally back on the ground, Clark pulled away from her. “I-I should go. I have a lot work tomorrow,” he said, not meeting her eyes.
“I’ll… I’ll see you tomorrow,” he gave her a weak smile as he started to walk away.
Lois watched him go, confused. She wondered what just happened. Was it about her flying and he isn’t? She motioned to go after him but stopped, not sure what to say or to do.
She just sighed. She’d wait tomorrow to talk to him.
Two days had passed since the night flight. Clark and Chloe were at her desk in the Daily Planet watching a video where two powered big guys were fighting in a cage.
“Clark, can you believe this? A krypto fight club on the internet? How come nobody else knows about this?” Chloe said, a mix of disgust and concern in her face.
“According to Oliver, getting the link and the password costs more than most people make in a year,” Clark replied.
As they kept watching the video, they were surprised when they saw one of the fighters blasting some sort of energy against the other one, inefficiently. The expression on their faces then changed to horror as they watched the other guy sliding a huge spike out of his forearm and plunged it into the back of his opponent, killing him.
“Clark, he just killed that guy,” she said, averting her eyes from the screen.
“Chloe, I need you to trace the link back to the source.”
She started typing on her computer, getting different results. “I'm trying, but they're bouncing it off about a billion different proxy servers. I mean, whoever's running this operation made sure that no one would be able to find him. Didn't Oliver and your super pals give you anything else?”
“It was a short conversation, Chloe. Oliver has been busy with the super soldier situation. All he said was he thought the location was somewhere nearby.”
“The security on this stream is off the charts. I mean, I can't record it, I can't download it. I can't...”
A man arrived in the video to declare the winner of the fight. “Hey, hey, fight fans! Your winner and still undisputed champion... the one, the only... Titan!” He spoke as he lifted the winner’s right arm.
“Freeze that frame,” Clark said, noting something. Chloe did as he asked. “What is that?”
Chloe closed up the image of a tattoo on Titan’s arm. “Is that kryptonian?” She asked.
“It's a prison tattoo. Chloe, Titan isn't a meteor-infected. He's from the Phantom Zone.” Clark looked worried at her. “Can you find this place today?”
“I don’t think so. I can keep trying to find its source, but it’ll probably be easier to find this place if I find who’s the guy killed by the Zoner, which still will take some time.”
He nodded. “Okay, keep me informed.” He then cleared his throat. “Um… Chloe, can you please keep this between us?”
Chloe raised an eyebrow at him. “You mean keep this from your girlfriend who you’ve been avoiding for those past couple of days.” Clark gulped. “Yeah, she told me what happened. Are you seriously upset because she’s flying and you’re not?”
He sighed. “This has nothing to do with it.”
She ignored his commentary. “It’s really unfair what you’ve been doing to her. She’s feeling hurt.”
“Look, Chloe, trust me on this. You know what one of those Zoners almost did to me, you just saw what this Titan did. It’s dangerous and I prefer Lois to stay out of this. I promise you I’ll deal with my issues after I deal with this.”
Chloe pondered it and then sighed. “I promised Lois I wouldn’t keep secrets from her anymore. Besides, it’s dangerous for you to go alone, too.”
“I have more experience dealing with the Zoners. Don’t worry.” He looked at her with pleading eyes. “Please…”
She closed her eyes and gave a week nod.
“Thank you,” he said, giving her a small smile.
The next day, Chloe was sitting in her apartment, working on her laptop and printing a screen of Titan being declared the winner of last night’s fight, when Clark superspeeded in, knocking over her coffee on the print in the process and giving Chloe a scare.
“Clark... slow down,” Chloe said, annoyed. She got up and threw the cup of coffee and the ruined print in the garbage. “I don't have enough money to hire a full-time maid to clean up every time you decide to blow in.”
“Sorry,” he said, giving her an apologetic look. “What did you find?”
She grabbed a cloth and started to clean the mess on the table. “The URL and the password that Oliver gave you are both null and void, which means that the fight-club promoters must be rotating them in order to maximize security and profit.” After finishing it, she then sat down and focused back on her laptop. “But as you know, I always have something up my sleeve. I'm starting to think that super-sleuthing might be my latent krypto power,” she chuckled as she bragged about it.
Chloe continued. “Okay, so it turns out that our Billy Idol look-alike is actually a meteor-infected Belle Reve resident. Now, this is the weird thing. After he was killed in that cage, he was returned back to his padded cell. The orderlies found his body this morning.”
“So if we find who got him in and out of the hospital, he'll lead us straight to the fight club... And to Titan,” Clark said.
“Already on it. See? Your sidekick still got it.”
“I'm just worried that Titan might be a bigger threat than I thought.” Clark took some papers and pictures out of his bag and handed it to Chloe. “Your friend down at Metropolis precinct helped me find these. It's Titan's victims. They were all found between a crater outside of Omaha, where I think he landed, and Metropolis.”
“He left the same wound on all the bodies, and... And they're all fighters.”
“I know why. The tattoo on Titan's arm. From what I could tell, it said he was a warrior, enhanced for combat. Ever since he's been here, he's been looking for a fight.”
“What better challenge for a brawl-loving Zoner than a rumble at a krypto fight club?” She added.
Lois then walked into the apartment. She froze once she saw Clark. “Uh… Hi.”
Clark instantly put the papers back in his bag. Silence took over the room as Clark and Lois just kept staring at each other and Chloe shot glances at both of them.
Lois then looked at the screen on Chloe’s laptop, puzzled. “What are you two up to?”
Chloe’s eyes shot wide-open and she quickly closed her laptop. “Uh, my new article. It’s… Um… It’s just a dead end.”
Clark cleared his throat and got ready to leave. “I should go back to the farm.” He stopped in front of her. “I… Err… I-I’ll talk to you later, okay?” He then gave her a quick and a sort of uncomfortable peck on her lips and left the apartment.
“And I should go back to the Daily Planet.” Chloe grabbed her purse and laptop and followed Clark.
Lois sighed. Clark’s still avoiding her, because of something that wasn’t even her fault. She was growing irritated of the way he’s been treating her.
She shook her head, she should be focusing on her job instead. She picked up cell phone and started dialing a number. “Hello, Oliver?”
“Lois, hey,” Oliver answered it. “How have you been?”
“I’m fine. How’s the super soldier’s investigation going?”
“So far we just discovered the name of the project. Project Ares. Unfortunately, Lex is being extra careful now that one of his puppets was deactivated.” A clear of a throat could be heard in Oliver’s end of the line. “What about the tip I gave you guys, any advance on it?”
Lois frowned. “What tip?”
“The illegal meteor-infected fight club. Didn’t Clark tell you?”
“No, he hadn’t.”
“Is everything okay between you guys?” Oliver asked, concern in his voice.
“Yeah, I’ve been just busy at work. That’s all,” she lied. “I’ll ask him about it.”
“Alright. Let me know if anything comes up.”
“I will. Bye.”
Lois looked at her cell phone, anger building inside her. How could he do that to her? All that talk about partnership for nothing. If he’d do it without her, she’d do it without him, before him.
She then remembered the image on Chloe’s laptop. She was helping him. She had to find a way to steal the information they had.
Lois took the final sip of her coffee and went to throw the cup in the garbage. She then saw a piece of crumpled paper in there. Curiosity took the best of her and she grabbed it. Lois smiled as she realized it was from the fight club Oliver mentioned.
She raised an eyebrow as she saw the kryptonian symbols on the man’s arm. She also managed to translate it thanks to the lessons Clark gave to her. This guy wasn’t a meteor-infected, he was a Zoner, she realized.
However, this wasn’t the thing that really grabbed Lois’s attention. She took a closer look at the image. “’Fr-44,’” she read. “Fort Ryan, hangar 44,” she smiled triumphantly as she managed to find the place where the fight happened.
Lois arrived at the Fort Ryan in a full length red leather suit, easily entering the main room where the fights happened. Before she could further look into it, a woman’s voice stopped her.
“Hey, Puss in Boots. Where you going?” A blonde, muscled woman, a little smaller than her, asked.
“Looking around, taking a little trip down the memory lane.”
“What are you all dressed up for, kitten?” The woman looked Lois over, showing interest that only certain kind of women had.
“Oh, I’m here for a good fight.” She took a picture out of her jacket. “Against this man, more precisely,” she said, pointing to Titan in the image.
“You mean Titan?” The woman then laughed. “Oh, kitten, you’re cute. You know, you’re better off doing other kinds of things with this costume than fighting against the big guy.”
“I don’t know, you’d be surprised how good I’m at this.”
“Okay, look, usually I’d kill you right here, but you’re such a pretty girl, I don’t wanna do it. So I’ll just let you walk away and forget about this place, alright?”
Lois looked unconcerned. “And if I don’t go want to?”
The woman then reached her back and took a gun, pointing it at Lois. “Then you leave me no other choice.”
The expression on Lois’s face didn’t change. Lois then took the gun out of the woman’s hand, to her shock, and then cupped the woman’s face, who tried to free herself, in vain. “Good dreams, kitty cat.” Lois then knocked her out with the tip of her finger.
Lois tried to access the computers of the fight club in the hope of finding Titan, but she got nothing due to her poor computer skills. Before she could look further for Titan, though, she started taking pictures of the place. She had realized earlier this could be her first article for the Daily Planet.
As she snapped pictures of the place, a man appeared in front of her, pointing a gun at her. “Look what we got here,” he said.
Lois recognized him. “You’re the host of the fight club.”
“And you know too much.”
“I like to keep myself informed.”
“Not for long,” the man had all the intention to shoot her.
Lois sighed. “Look, let’s make this conversation short.” Her hand reached the gun and then she crushed it effortlessly. “Where’s Titan?”
The man stared at her shocked. “I… I…”
Lois let out a frustrated sigh. She then grabbed him by the collar and pressed him against the grid of the cage. “Where’s Titan?” She yelled, glaring at him.
The man looked at her in a cold sweat. “I-I don’t know. He’s not here. I don’t control the big guy, he comes here when it pleases him… I mean, when it’s time to fight.”
Lois moved closer, giving him her most threatening glare. “Then you’ll put me against him in tonight’s fight. Do you hear me?”
He nodded several times, terrified of her.
Chloe and Clark’s investigation led them to find out that the host of fight club was Richtor Maddox, executive administrator of Belle Reve, which was why the place reunited so many meteor-infected people.
Clark then confronted Maddox outside the Belle Reve, also managing to get into the fight club.
“Yes! Hey, what do you think of the name ‘the Man of Steel’?” Richtor asked as he and Clark walked into the fight club arena.
“’Man of steel’?” Clark asked. He was wearing black leather jacket and black leather pants. His T-shirt and boots were also black.
“Yeah, I give all the fighters their monikers. Trust me kid, it's a name that no one's ever going to forget. I got a feeling about these things. Some people say I'm psychic. Now, remember. Play it up for the cameras. People are forking over top dollar to see these fights online, all right?” Richtor said as he dressed up, with the help of his women assistant, for the show.
“Where's the crowd?”
“Crowd? What crowd? We don't have a crowd. Can't have a crowd if you want to keep this secret. Besides, who needs an audience when you got 50,000 watts of sound? Check that out. I just bought that,” Richtor pointed at the sound team turning on the crowd sound, overly excited.
“Gate!” He and Clark entered the cage as its cage opened. “Now, here's how it works. We sell the spectacle to the ‘high rollers’ online. And the noise pumps up the fighters for the fight,” he said, playing boxing in front of Clark.
Clark looked around. “Where's Titan?”
“Titan? Unh-unh. That's the main event. See, you’re not the only one who wants Titan, he’s quite a star here. All it’ll take is one of you two to die. FYI, I’m rooting for you, pretty boy.”
“Then who am I fighting?”
“Ah.” Richter grinned and pointed with both of his index fingers to the other gate.
“Get off me! I can walk there alone,” Lois said, irritated, as she walked into the cage.
Clark looked shocked. “Lois?”
Lois turned to look at him, not that much surprised. “Smallville.”
Clark breathed hard, worried.
“Stand by on one. We're online... in 3... 2... 1,” the sound technician said.
The gate opened and Richtor entered the cage and took hold of the suspended microphone. “Hey, fight fans! Are you ready? Tonight's undercard is a special twin matchup introducing two new combatants. In this corner, the voluptuous... the vicious... Vixen!” The cheers and applause sound were activated as Lois entered the arena accompanied by one of the assistants, who took off her jacket, revealing a red leather short top that left her belly bare, to Lois’s annoyance. “Yummy,” he gave a perverted smile.
“And now... entering our arena for the very first time... ladies and gentlemen, please welcome... the all-powerful, the all-american... Man of Steel!”
Clark entered the arena, his face not happy at all.
“I can't wait. Ladies,” Richtor called his assistants and started to leave arm in arm with them. “Good luck, pretty boy. You’re gonna need it.”
After Maddox left and the cage was closed, Clark approached Lois. “Lois, what are you doing here?” He asked.
Lois circled him. “Inviting myself to the party. Does that upset you?” There was bitterness in her voice.
“Lois, I didn’t tell you because –“
“Don’t. I’m just here to end the threat of Titan. Now, punch me.”
“Look, it won’t hurt me, just do it to make it look real. All they want is a fight. So when I hit the mat, Maddox will come back in. And then the fight against Titan starts.”
“I'm not going to punch you, Lois.”
Lois rolled her eyes and gritted her teeth. “Fine. Then you take the dive.” She then threw a punch, but Clark grabbed her fist before it hit him.
“Stop it. The cameras,” he tilted his head, reminding her. He then turned his head and fried all the broadcast equipment with his heat vision.
Titan showed up, staring angrily at Clark inside the cage. “Kal-El.” He then opened the gate forcefully.
Clark and Lois breathed hard as they saw the man they were looking for.
Titan started to walk towards Clark, but Richtor tried to intervene. “Whoa! Wait, wait. The light feed went down.”
Titan barely spared Richtor a glance before hitting him hard, throwing him outside the cage and killing him. It set the alarm off, and after seeing the host dead, the rest of the crew started to leave, desperate.
“Lois… Run!” Clark shouted before being punched violently by Titan, which sent him flying against the grid of the grade. He ended up on the floor, disoriented.
Lois looked worried at Clark. She had to act fast, though, once she saw Titan heading towards Clark to finish him off. “Never let a man do a woman’s job.” Lois then grabbed him by his shirt, and threw him across the cage.
She went after him and waited for him to get up. “C’mon, big guy. I didn’t even show my best moves.”
Titan smiled, enjoying the showdown. Lois motioned to punch Titan in the face, but he stopped her with the palm of his hand. He then wrapped his other hand around her neck and lifted her body out of the floor. Lois started to gasp for air.
A beam of heat vision shot at the back of Titan’s hand made him free Lois. “Leave her alone!” Clark shouted. He had a trace of blood coming out of his mouth.
“She means nothing to me. You’re the fight I’ve been hoping for.”
Clark launched himself at Titan and threw several punches at him, in the face and on the stomach, trying to send him away from Lois as far as he could. He managed to throw Titan across the arena, destroying one of the columns of the hangar. The impact also caused most of the lights of the place, one by one, to fry.
Clark ran to Lois’s side, who was still recovering her breathing. “Are you okay?” He asked, concerned.
“I’m fine,” she said, coldly. “Just need some air.”
Clark held out his hand to help her, but she refused it.
“I can get up by my own.”
He sighed. “You should stay out of this. You’re not prepared to fight someone like him.”
She looked offended. “Funny you mention it, as far as I can tell, I have an advantage you don’t.”
“Your flight ability means nothing here. You almost got choked because you’re too careless,” he snapped.
“Oh, bite me.” Lois flew toward Titan, leaving a taken aback Clark behind. Reaching her opponent, Lois punched him several times in the face. Her blows were full of anger, leaving open wounds all over the Zoner’s face.
Titan got to avoid one of Lois’s punches and counter attacked with his elbow, hitting her face. He then grabbed her hair and pushed her face against the wall. Her nose and eyebrow started to bleed nonstop.
“Lois!” Clark tried to help her, but was met by Titan’s free arm, being thrown across the arena. The Zoner then activated the spike in his forearm, ready to plunge it into Lois.
Before Titan could do what he wanted, Lois kicked his leg and returned the elbow strike at Titan, freeing herself completely. She then threw a punch strong enough to send him back to the center of the cage.
Lois, as well Clark, ran towards the Zoner, but as both of them moved closer to Titan, he took the opportunity to hold both of their heads and made them crash together. He then focused on the dizzy Clark and started to hit him in the stomach several times, not giving him the slight chance to breath.
Lois watched horrified as Clark gasped in pain. Feeling dizzy herself, she managed to get up with difficulty. She took a deep breath and jumped on Titan, knocking him down. She crept to Clark, who was laid down on his back, trying to regain his breath. “Are you okay?” She asked, worried.
Clark looked at her, breathing heavily. “You… Y-You’re… Bleeding,” he said, his voice full of concern.
“You should look yourself in the mirror,” she said, smiling like only she would in this situation.
“I don’t like to see you bleeding.”
“You’ve seen me worst, like in the morning.”
“You look beautiful in the morning.”
Titan started to get up.
“This guy is more resistant than us both, together,” Lois said, sighing.
With much difficulty, Clark sat up. “Nonsense. We can beat him.”
Lois managed to get up first and then helped Clark. “Never said otherwise.”
“Time to die, kryptonian,” Titan spoke.
The three of them were reaching their limit energy wise. The hangar was in completely ruins, the lights were all out, only the night light illuminating the place.
“You stay here and try to recover while I deal with him, okay?” Lois said.
Lois leaped into the action and exchanged punches and kicks with Titan. Each times, their hits got more strong and violent. When Titan was about to strike back a blow Lois had thrown at him, Clark intervened with a punch in the Zoner’s face.
He kept hitting Titan, not giving him a chance to hit him back. Clark gave a final blow, sending him in the air. Lois, who was flying above them, sent Titan back on the floor with another strike.
Lois joined Clark and they watched a weak Titan trying to stand up. They nodded at each other. “On three,” Clark proposed.
They waited for Titan to look at them. “Three,” Lois said. Together, they throw one last punch into the man’s face, finally knocking him out.
They smiled and gave a fist bump as they accomplished the mission.
The following morning, Lois was getting ready to leave for work, when there was a knock on the door. She went to answer it. Clark was standing in the doorway with a small bouquet of lavenders and roses. “For you,” he said, giving her the biggest grin.
She took it, unimpressed. “If you think I’ll cut you any slack because of some pretty flowers, then you don’t know me at all.”
“Not at all. I’m just spoiling my gorgeous girlfriend.”
Lois ignored his remark and went to grab a vase to put the flowers in. “Did you manage to send Titan back to the Phantom Zone?”
“Yes. I took him to the Fortress and Jor-El put him back there.”
“You know, bruises aside, which I thank immensely my powers for disappearing with it, I sorta liked the adrenaline of that fight. I liked fighting alongside you.”
Clark moved closer to her and nodded. “Me too.”
Lois took a step back. “Which doesn’t mean I have forgiven you yet.”
He sighed. “I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t know how to react, so I chose the easy way out, avoiding the subject, avoiding you.”
“You know what hurt the most? One of the happiest times of my life and I wanted to celebrate it, and you weren’t there to celebrate it with me.”
“Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?”
Lois raised an eyebrow. “What’s that supposed to me?”
“Beginning of our relationship. I want to tell everyone about it and show how happy I am, but you didn’t.”
She crossed her arms. “One thing has nothing to do with another.”
He stepped closer to her. “What I mean is that you had reasons to want to hide our relationship for awhile and I had reasons to feel upset. It’s hardly about right or wrong. I’ve been dreaming about flying for so long and I was fine accepting it was not my time yet. But then I watched Raya and you starting to fly and it feels like I’ve been falling behind you. I feel like I’m failing something I was supposed to set the example at.”
Lois’s face softened. “It’s in you, Clark. Whatever is holding you back, only you can discover what will set you free.” She moved closer to him. “And if you let me, I can help you with that.”
“Does that mean you forgave me?”
“If you didn’t hold it against me when I wasn’t the best girlfriend, then I think I can do the same for you,” she gave him a smile.
Clark smiled back and started to lean in to kiss her, but Lois pulled away. “You’ll only get this later,” she said, tapping on his dumbfounded face lightly. “I’m late for work.”
She grabbed her purse and headed to the door. “Tonight,” she winked at him as she left.
Clark was left with the same dumbfounded face. He had no other option but to shake his head and chuckle at the way that woman messed with his head.
Lois arrived at the Daily Planet a couple hours later and headed straight to her supervisor’s desk, dropping a paper right in front of him.
“What’s this?” Jason Bailey, her supervisor, asked.
“I thought I had told you wouldn’t get to write an article for the first months.”
“Give it a read and then you decide what to do with it.”
He looked skeptical, but decided to give it a shot. After some minutes reading it, he looked at her. “There are some few typos and some information are unnecessary, but it’s a good article. That’s stuff of pro.”
Lois smiled brightly. “Thanks.”
“I think we can publish it on page fourteen, space three.”
“Oh,” she sounded disappointed.
“What, did you expect front page?” Jason asked, a certain mocking tone in his voice.
“No… No. It’s just… It’s a big thing. Meteor-infected people, illegal fight club, former military hangar.”
“It is. But so are a lot of other articles published every day here. And it’s below in importance compared to the human interest stories. You’ll learn that someday.”
“I’ll give it to our editor. Seriously, Lane, good job. I think it’s safe to say you have a future here.”
Lois smiled widely as her supervisor left with her article in his hands. As she had expected, she had something to celebrate with Clark tonight.
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