It has been a long, *long* time since I got any urge to write that actually made it to a word processor, let alone in the LnC universe. But, this would not let me sleep last night, so here it is. I have no beta and most of this was written within about an hour stretch of time and another hour spent ironing it out with the episode's script for events. I've glanced back through it this evening to catch the more glaring errors but I'm sure I've missed some. The initial inspiration also came from a *Chuck fic I read a some time ago and this little plot detail somehow popped into my head in conjunction with the favorite fic episode for LnC. Anyway, here goes nothing.
That Old Code of Ours
Disclaimer: This is a fan work based on “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.” All rights to the characters belong to DC Comics and Warner Bros. No profit was made off this work.
Lois let out a horrified gasp as the retort of the antique pistol assaulted her ears. In front of her Clark, her defender as always, collapsed, knocking her off her own feet and away from his assailants.
"You moron! What'd you gotta do that for?" 'Capone' snarled at 'Clyde'.
Lois shot forward and tried to get to her partner muttering a constant denial all the while under her breath. As she reached him, she braced one hand by his side while the other flew to his neck to check for a pulse. Almost in the same instant, a hand clamped hard around her thigh, then she felt the distinct tapping of a single finger - one - two - three, then another solid squeeze. The next instant she was pulled away from her limp partner by 'Dillinger' while 'Capone' ordered his gang to retreat with the 'stiff'. She swung around with all the strength she could muster from a sitting position and slugged 'Dillinger' in the stomach. Air whooshed audibly from his lungs and he shoved her away before staggering after his fellows.
Lois was left on the floor of the underground casino, hands clasped to lips as she struggled to subdue her shaking limbs and fight back the sobs fighting to escape. It was only as she heard sirens in the distance that she mustered herself into action, fleeing for her jeep and tearing away from the scene.
* * *
Making record time, Lois raced up the stairs to Clark's apartment, grabbed his spare key from its hiding place and somehow managed to unlock the door despite her shaking hands. She made it inside as far as the couch and collapsed, finally giving into her shock and grief.
Moments later a gentle hand, touched her shoulder and she whipped her head around, only for her hopeful gaze to shatter as she took in the muted colors of Superman's uniform in the darkened apartment.
"Superman," she choked out, "Clark... you have to find him... he was shot..."
Superman knelt in front of her so he could meet her downcast eyes, "I know Lois, I'm so sorry I couldn't..." he soothed.
Lois made a sharp slashing movement with her hand as she vaulted to her feet, her grief giving over to exasperation as she bit out, "You don't understand! He managed to give me one of our signals after he went down... three taps to signal meeting up and whoever gave the signal's apartment. That means he was *alive* and rational enough to give me that signal. You *have* to go looking for him *now*! He could..."
"Lois!" Superman cut her off abruptly.
Lois snarled and grasped the hero's shoulder, trying to urge him to Clark's balcony, "I *said*..."
Superman grasped her shoulders as he rose fluidly to his feet, turning her to face him. Then, holding her gaze steadily, he squeezed her right shoulder firmly, then tapped it - one - two - three - four times, then squeezed it firmly again, all the while holding her gaze.
Lois froze and stared at the hand on her shoulder. In an effort to order her thoughts she ran through her and her partner's code in her head. One: pull back, Two: meet at the Planet, Three: meet at whichever partner's apartment, Four: all clear. Bracketing the taps were squeezes to signal the start and end of the signal. Not even Jimmy knew this code as it was reserved for times where they couldn't rely on verbal or visual cues which normally, for them, meant either they were undercover or somewhere dark. They had each *promised* to share the signals with *no one*. Taking in a shuddering breath she returned her gaze to the superhero's, "Clark?!"
Superman nodded jerkily and sank onto *his* couch, guiding Lois to his side as her legs gave out. The pair remained silent for a long moment until Lois whispered, "What do we do?"
Clark shook his head sadly, whispering, "I don't know... there were too many witnesses... no *human* could have survived those shots..."
Lois reached down and deliberately used their code with one tap on his wrist. Clark frowned down at his arm in confusion as she spoke, "Clark, you *know* how unreliable eye witness testimony is, besides we were there *under cover* in an *illegal* casino. Who's going to be willing and able to point us out in a photo lineup? Especially if you and I walk into work tomorrow and act like we were never there?"
Clark looked at her hopelessly, "But Lois..."
Her lips tightened and she pushed off the couch, setting her hands on his shoulders, forcing him to look at her. "Clark," she growled, "I am *not* loosing my partner to some cheap knockoffs of decades old gangsters." She planted her hands on her hips and defiantly stated, "You and I were *not* there! It's not like the police will even find a body aside from possibly Georgie Hairdo... and *him* this Capone wanna-be mentioned by *name* before telling the whole Casino he 'retired.'" She threw her hands up in exasperation, "All *anyone* in that casino will likely remember is that a woman in a red dress and a man with glasses were threatened by Capone and his lackeys, and the guy was shot." Her eyes narrowed thoughtfully and lowered her arms and began to pace. "In fact, did you go to the casino after I left?" she motioned to him, "Like that?"
Clark frowned and tilted his head in confusion, "Superman went to the scene of the gunshots, yeah..."
Lois nodded, "Who showed up from MPD and how many people were left."
Clark pursed his lips in thought for a moment before replying, "Detective Wolfe was the highest ranking officer I saw, I don't think you know him, he was fairly recently promoted and, now that I think about it, the officers were having to hurry to stop people from leaving the scene."
Lois smiled and nodded, "See? No one wanted to be on record as being at the casino even to help catch these 'gangsters'." She marched to the phone and quickly dialed a number. Clark stood and walked over to her, a questioning eyebrow raised. Lois waved him off as someone picked up on the other end. "Hey Johnson, is Henderson in? It's Lane." She rolled her eyes as the kid manning the phones tried to put her off. "Listen, I got tip on a shooting tonight that deals with a story I'm working on... think Henderson wants to risk me going to press *without* talking to him?" She smirked as the kid stammered out a reply and she was put on hold.
Clark slowly shook his head and muttered, "Lo-is..." in exasperation at her tactics.
Lois rolled her eyes at him as the line picked up and she heard Henderson's dry, sarcastic greeting, "Hang on, I'm putting you on speaker." She put words to action and held the phone between her and Clark. "Okay, Henderson, a source called me and said there's been a shooting by these gangster clowns at a dive on Hobs street. What can you tell me?"
Henderson's voice came over the line, laced with derision, "I can tell you it ain't my case, Lane. Who else is listening, anyway?"
Clark appeared to debate with himself for a moment before saying, "Hi Inspector, sorry to disturb you, but you know how Lois gets..."
Henderson let out a low laugh while Lois grumbled, "Thanks Clark..."
Henderson's voice came through the line again, "Well Kent, for *you* I'll check to see if Wolfe's here and willing to talk." And they were on hold again before Lois could make her contempt of the officer's deference to her partner known.
Neither reporter managed to stay totally relaxed, though, as they waited for the line to pick back up.
A few minutes later a voice Lois wasn't familiar with came on the line. "Ms Lane, Mr Kent, this is Detective Wolfe. I'm not in the habit of talking to the press but, Henderson is vouching for you so I figured I might as well see if we can help each other..."
Lois raised a brow in grudging respect. "Well, Detective, a source of mine contacted me about the happenings tonight at a place on Hobs'. He didn't tell me much except that it had to do with the nut-jobs who stole an antique car from my editor, Mr. White, the other day." She allowed more annoyance into her tone, "It turned into a real mess for him. The car was on loan for the Planet's anniversary bash this year and the owner was making a real stink about the theft."
Wolfe snorted, "I can see that. So far we've got these look-a-likes for theft of that car, some vintage weapons, a bank heist, where an officer was shot... all of which I bet you know about, got anything to make sharing more worth my while?"
Lois grumbled before offering up, "Dr. Emil Hamilton had the bodies of several gangsters exhumed several years ago to take genetic samples at the same time he was trying to find some sort of 'criminal gene' that he believed could be manipulated to stop people from ever turning to crime." She ignored the detective's incredulous snort. "The same guy rented out some period appropriate clothing from Sammy's Look-Alike Agency a few weeks ago..."
Wolfe cursed, "How did you two uncover *that*?!" They heard paper rustling in the background. "I need that address."
Clark provided the address and continued, "It was blind luck, detective, we'd planned on canvasing a few talent agencies to see if they knew of anyone who played Bonnie and Clyde and the first one we went in to gave us 'Mad Scientist Rents Gangster Costumes.'"
The detective snorted, "I've heard about Lane's 'luck'. I'm surprised she wasn't in the middle of the mess tonight."
Lois jumped back in, "and what *was* the mess tonight?"
Wolfe sighed. "Another mimic, of Al Capone this time, tried to take over an underground casino tonight. He murdered the previous owner and then shot an unknown man before high-tailing it out of there. No one wanted to be caught in the casino, so we haven't got as many witnesses as we'd like and it wasn't like Vegas with cameras everywhere."
Lois felt Clark wilt with relief next to her and she grinned at him before prodding. "Is that *all* you can tell us?"
Wolfe grumbled something under his breath, "Lane, normally I wouldn't have even given you *that* much."
Clark tilted his head and interjected, "I don't know if this got to you or if Perry White reported it at all, but Capone also tried to bribe him today, presumably with money from the bank heist. Same story for the mayor."
Wolfe let out a gusty sigh, "I'd heard about the mayor, but not White. Though now that this is on my plate I guess I should take a closer look. From tonight, all we've got is a few of the witnesses we managed to coral. A couple mentioned a woman with the guy who got shot, but they can't agree on her hair color or what she was wearing, let alone anything else. And we have even less to go on for the poor guy." He let out a long sigh while Lois did a silent fist pump. "Anything else you got for me?"
Lois rocked her head back and forth in consideration while Clark gave her an expectant look. Finally, she offered, "Hamilton wrote papers on 'accelerated growth' of cloned embryos and that 'resurrected criminals' would be the most humane specimens for his work..."
Wolfe grunted, "Crackpot decided to play god and look where its gotten us..." There was a pause and then he offered up, "Strangely, there was no blood evidence either, nor have we found either victim."
Lois pursed her lips, "No blood on *either* victim?"
Wolfe replied, "We aren't sure what they did to the casino owner, but no, no blood evidence for either victim."
Clark grinned at his partner as he drew the conversation to a close, "Thanks for speaking with us, detective, we really appreciate it."
Wolfe grunted and shot back, "If you two find out *anything* more about these yahoos let the *cops* know about it. These wackos are a different breed from what you're used to facing, they'll shoot to kill if you look at 'em wrong. Henderson wanted a word before I let you go." They heard the line go back on hold.
Clark grinned widely at his partner before changing into casual clothes, glasses firmly planted on his nose. Lois returned the grin until they heard the line pick up.
Henderson's dry voice came over the line, "Lane, I fully expected you to be in the middle if things tonight. Did you finally decide to stop sticking your nose where it doesn't belong and let us do our jobs?"
Lois snorted, "I had a date, Henderson, but if it'll make you happy I'll try and find these gangsters for you..."
Henderson sounded almost like he'd choked, "A date?" It was the most flustered Lois had ever heard him. "Mind if I ask with who?"
Lois turned to her partner, who was now frowning at her, "Why yes, I do mind, Inspector. But maybe he doesn't, anything to add, partner?" she fluttered her eyelids at him as his jaw dropped.
Henderson laughed genuinely and replied, "Congratulations on pulling your head out of the sand, Lane. Kent, not sure if I should offer congratulations or commiserations... but it's about time!"
He hung up to Lois' outraged screech of "Bill!"
Lois huffed as she returned Clark's phone to its cradle.
Clark let out a long relieved sigh and smiled at his partner. "*Thank you*, Lois. I was beyond panicked and not thinking at all clearly when I got here." He tilted his head in consideration as he continued, "You've taken this better than I ever thought you might," he told her almost shyly.
Lois regarded him intently for a long moment, during which his smile faded and his shoulders hunched. If he had been a little boy she was sure he would have been squirming. "Don't take my relief that you aren't *dead* as protection against the *massive* amount of things we're going to have to work out, my *super*-partner," she said caustically. Clark gulped and started to reply but she cut him off, "*And* you owe me a date. The *best* date you can come up with!" she volleyed with a triumphant grin. "But first, we have some gangsters to help get off the street," she finished as she sauntered past her partner, pausing only to give his shoulder a squeeze, four taps, and another squeeze before heading for the door, knowing he'd be right behind her.
Pretty sure this is a one-shot, but never say never...
*The Chuck fic in question is the epic rewrite of Chuck staring after the season 2 finale by Marc Vun Kannon
collectively entitled "nine2five". In that fic (starting in chapter 4 of its streamlined season 1) Chuck and Sarah use a code of tapping their fingers against one another's skin to communicate whether or not they are safe. Tapping 1-2-3-4 (all four fingers one by one from pointer to pinky) was "Status?" and "1-2-1-2" was "Green", "1-3-1-3" was "Yellow" and I don't remember a "Red" off the top of my head but I assume it would be "1-4-1-4".