By Sarah Luddy <meerkat_comments AT aslandia DOT net>
Submitted: September 2002
Summary: Without enough sleep, even a superhero can forget there's a secret he's supposed to be keeping.
Disclaimer: These characters are not my own, I'm just borrowing them for a fanfic. :) This story was written as a birthday present for Kathy and Jo, so happy birthday, you too! Special thanks to Annie and Kaylle, and to everyone who was on IRC the fateful night I was throwing out "crazy revelation" ideas (and who then made me promise to write them all).
Life for a superhero wasn't always easy. On the upside, though, it was never boring. Sometimes, though, Clark wished it was just a little more boring. At least enough that he could get a decent amount of sleep each night.
Clark, of course, needed less sleep than the average human. He could manage on only a few hours a night for days on end. But he did need some sleep, and the world (and Lois) didn't seem to be willing to grant him even that lately. He'd been up all night Monday night helping victims of an earthquake in Zimbabwe. Then Tuesday he'd stayed up all night on a stakeout with Lois, and unlike her, he hadn't been able to go back to sleep once they'd turned in the story…he'd had to untangle a six-car pileup on the Beltway, and then save a young woman who seemed determined to throw herself off the bridge. Wednesday he'd been up all night stopping a trio of bank robbers and giving his statement to the police, and then *last* night Lois had kept him up all night. No, not in a way he'd enjoy, but because she'd decided she needed help going through a list of criminals to try to figure out who gave the information to her source, who had turned up dead.
In other words, Clark hadn't slept for four days, and he was definitely feeling it. So when Perry had told Lois and Clark that he was sending them to a press conference the mayor was giving on a change of policy in regards to the new parking laws the city was going to start enforcing, Clark had groaned audibly.
"What's wrong?" Perry had asked him, startled.
Clark wasn't about to admit that he'd hoped to be able to escape to get a few hours of sleep. Maybe feigning a *long* coffee run. Although at this point, falling asleep on his desk might even work. Maybe Lois would feel sorry for him and work on whatever story they were assigned without him. But he couldn't get away with that if they had to go to a press conference.
"I kept him up all night last night," Lois told Perry.
Perry raised an eyebrow.
Lois blushed. "On a story! We were going through files all night." She turned to Clark. "Honestly, Kent, the first thing you need to know about being a reporter is that we have to be able to exist on no sleep for days at a time! You can't stop to snooze when you're going after criminals."
Clark rolled his eyes as he remembered how readily Lois had taken Wednesday morning off to get some sleep after their all-nighter. "I think Lois thinks she works for the FBI, or at least the police department," he informed Perry.
Perry chuckled. "Well, get down there, you two. It's Friday, Clark, you can catch up on sleep this weekend."
Lois grabbed Clark's arm before he could respond, and dragged him out the door.
Just as they were about to get into a cab, Clark groaned as his superhearing caught the sound of a bank alarm across the city. "Ah, Lois, I-"
"Forgot something and will be right back," Lois finished for him, rolling her eyes. "Go! And you'd better meet me there."
Clark smiled gratefully at her before racing back around the corner to change.
The bank turned out to be a false alarm, and Clark sighed with relief as he escaped quickly and soared across town toward Town Hall, where the press conference was taking place. He landed in an alley down the street.
Just as Clark started to walk out of the alley, he saw Lois getting out of a cab on the empty street. He hurried to meet her.
"Hey," she said with a smile. She pulled her press pass out of her pocket as they hurried towards the plaza. Clark reached into his pocket for his own press pass. And then… "Uh-oh," he said, stopping.
"What's wrong?" Lois asked.
"I forgot my press pass in my other suit," he said. Without giving her the chance to respond, he quickly spun into his Superman suit, pulled his press pass out of the pocket in the lining, then spun back into his Clark suit, holding up the pass triumphantly. As he stopped spinning, though, he saw Lois's stunned expression.
"Oops," he said. "I didn't…uh…duck into that alley to do that, did I?"
Lois shook her head mutely.
He sighed. "I meant to." Lack of sleep was definitely getting to him.
Lois was still staring at him, jaw slightly open.
"Lois, I think there's something I need to tell you…" he said.
Lois shook her head and started to walk. When Clark stared after her, she ran back, grabbed his arm, and dragged him along towards Town Hall. "No, Clark," she hissed. "I was momentarily blind. Didn't see anything."
He saw Lois glance around nervously, scanning the empty street and the alley they were passing. "I'm not supposed to find out until the end of the second season," she whispered.
"Oh!" he said. "Well, that's all right then."
She smiled at him. "Don't worry, we'll have plenty of fun once I do." She wiggled an eyebrow, which gave Clark plenty to think about besides the mayor's boring speech throughout the press conference.