By Alicia U. <email@example.com>
Submitted June 2005
Summary: Is it a dream or is it Darth Vader? Clark awakes to find an unexpected presence in his bedroom.
This story would not have been possible without inspiration and guidance from Anna, Julie, David, Jill, and (of course) Kaylle (even though she wasn't on IRC for the crazy conversation).
Clark Kent sighed deeply and flopped onto his bed, still dressed in Superman's bright blue spandex. He hadn't bothered to expend the effort to change into a pair of shorts. "What a day." After a moment's consideration, he muttered, "If I'm talking to myself, I must be going crazy." He leaned his head against the pillows and momentarily closed his eyes.
All too quickly, he was jolted awake by a strange sound coming from inside his apartment. It almost sounded like … mechanical footsteps?
Before Clark had a chance to fully digest the situation or move to conceal his identity, a loud, equally mechanical voice startled him stiff. He couldn't move from the bed, even if he wanted to. It was almost as if some force was holding him back.
"So, Superman," the voice rang out across the room.
"Or maybe I'm already crazy," Clark whispered. Could it be a robot? In his apartment? He hadn't left the door open. Had he?
The guest took a long, deep breath before speaking again. "I assure you, Superman. You are not crazy." There was breath, and then the robot said, "We meet again."
Clark shook his head. "Again?" Who did he know that was working on robots that had already met Superman? "When did we meet before?" He was very unsettled because the voice was still coming from the living room, and he couldn't easily turn his head to use his x-ray vision.
The robot took several more mechanical steps before it entered Clark's room. "We have met before, Superman."
"I didn't ask if we had met, just *when* we met," the shell- shocked Superman muttered. Then, Clark decided not to continue the argument he couldn't win. "Never mind."
The visitor took another loud breath.
Clark took this lull in the conversation to finally look at his guest. His was finally able to turn his head, and when he did, his eyes rested on shiny, black armor, a long, flowing black cape, and a large mask. "Darth Vader?" he whispered.
Vader took another breath, and simply said, "I'm back."
"It wasn't just a force holding me back —"
"— No, it was *the* Force," Vader answered.
"Of course. *The* Force. What else?" He raised his hands in defeat. "What are you doing here, Darth Vader?"
Vader laughed evilly and took another deep breath. "You don't know?"
Clark shrugged. "Obviously."
"Oh, Superman —" Vader ominously reached a gloved hand towards Clark. "— you are so unwise. You dare mock me?" The robot- person took another gasping breath. "You know, I can strangle you." The gloved hand slowly began to squeeze shut.
"No, uh, no. I'm not mocking you," Clark said quickly. He scooted backwards until he was sitting up against the headboard.
Vader seemed to laugh, even though Clark couldn't see any expression. "I have been here many times before. I've studied you. I know you." Vader took another long, slow breath. "You are strong in the force. I have much more to learn about you."
Clark sighed. Of course Darth Vader would be interested in him. "What do you know about me already? When have you been here? Why didn't I know?"
"What do I know?" Vader turned around and eased the mechanical body down onto the bed so that metal brushed against spandex. "Superman —" The machine took another deep, mechanical breath. "— I know you're Clark Kent."
"Crap," was all Clark could manage to mutter under his breath.
"You have nothing more to say to me?" Vader extended a metal- covered hand and placed it on Clark's thigh.
Clark wanted to jump away, but he was afraid of where the heavy hand would touch if he moved even the slightest bit. "How do you know?"
"I told you —" Vader breathed again. "— I've been watching you."
"Why me?" Clark gasped. Vader really was getting a little too close for comfort.
"Because —" Vader moved his other hand to Clark's chest. "— you are the sexiest man I've ever met."
"What!" The feel of metal gloves against his spandex-clad body was almost too much for him to take. He wanted to get up and fly far, far away. But he couldn't move.
"Don't try to fight it, Superman."
"Fight what?" He felt his voice getting higher when Vader's hands moved along his body.
"Don't fight me. Our love —"
"— Our … love?" Clark closed his eyes, hoping this was all some kind of insane dream. When he opened them again, Vader's hands were on his shoulders.
"Sure, our love." Vader took another deep breath. "Look at it this way. We're both all-powerful. We're both strong in the Force." He shrugged. "We both wear capes."
"We both wear capes?" His voice was filled with doubt.
"Yes." Vader was not easily deterred.
Clark narrowed his eyes at his adversary. "If you go that way, then we shouldn't love each other because I wear spandex and you wear armor. It's like the snake and the armadillo."
Vader stopped, poised above Clark's trapped body. "The snake and the armadillo?"
While Vader seemed confused over the irrational comment, Clark reached up and put his hands on Vader's mask. "Who are you?" he demanded.
"No!" Vader yelled. He pulled back sharply out of Superman's grasp.
"Let me see your face!" Clark sat up and grabbed at the mask again.
"No. I, um —" The visitor took another deep breath. "— I cannot allow you to do that. I would die if the mask came off." He backed away. "Wait! I didn't say that. Forget everything you just heard."
"You won't die if I take the mask off."
"Yes, I will."
"No, you won't."
"Okay, if I won't, then you will." Vader took another shuddering breath. "I am Kryptonite."
"You are Kryptonite?" he asked skeptically.
Vader nodded, and said, "You can't take my helmet off because I am Kryptonite."
"Why do I think you're lying?" Clark tried to x-ray through Vader's helmet to see the face behind the mask. He cursed and exclaimed, "Lead-lined."
"Because I am made of Kryptonite and do not want to hurt you."
"I'm Darth Vader. I don't lie."
Clark sighed loudly. "You're Darth Vader. Of course you're lying. Superman is the one who doesn't lie. You're from the Dark Side!"
"Blah, blah, blah, all that Dark Side stuff. It seriously gets such a bad rap." Vader leaned down over Clark again. "Kiss me, Superman."
"What! You want me to kiss you?" He shrugged. "Then you have to take off the mask."
"No. You can't remove the mask." Vader reached up to stop his companion's hands.
Finally, Superman overpowered the Dark Lord and quickly pulled the mask over his adversary's head.
"No-o-o-o-o-o!" Vader exclaimed. As the mask pulled further from his mouth, the voice became more and more feminine.
Clark dropped the mask and gazed into his adversary's eyes. Vader was a woman! "Lois!"
"Clark," she whispered. "You weren't supposed to remove the mask!"
"What the heck?" Clark moved his hand to his face. "Thank god you're a woman!" was the first coherent thing he could think to say.
"Of course I'm a woman. Come on, Clark. Did you really think Anakin Skywalker was on top of you like that?" She shook her head. "If you did, you have major problems, Clark!"
"But Darth Vader isn't a woman," Clark argued. "And your voice was so deep. And the breathing!"
"I know." She shrugged. "It was Mr. Stern's voice and a vacuum hose."
"Mr. Stern?" Clark shook his head. "How?"
Lois shrugged with her body still covered by the black armor. "I recorded him talking, and I spliced some words together."
"No, you didn't."
"What, you don't believe Darth Vader?" She winked at him.
"No way." Clark laughed heartily, unsure of what he was really laughing at.
"Why should I believe Darth Vader?"
Lois ran her hands down Clark's spandex-covered legs. "If you can't believe my sexy alter ego, you should believe me."
She leaned back on her legs and placed her gloved hands on her hips. "No. Why don't you come to the Dark Side?" With that, she leaned over and kissed him.
"Seriously, Lois, I need to know how you knew I was Superman, uh, Clark, uh, you know."
Lois shrugged. "Well, it's even now. You know I'm Darth Vader; I know you're Superman. Now kiss me."
Clark shrugged. "Okay. You're Darth Vader. I'm Superman. Let's kiss." He reached out and grabbed her cape and pulled her on top of him.
"You got what you asked for. I'm going to kiss you." He put his arms around her back and stared into her eyes just before he let his lips gently brush against hers. When their lips separated, he said, "And I'm going to kiss you again, and again, and again for the rest of our lives."
She grinned. "Okay. Just don't ask me to wear the mask and helmet next time."
Clark sighed. "Oh man, I kind of like the mask. Just my luck. I'm going to have a Darth Vader fetish from now on."