Vitamins and Minerals

By DSDragon <DASWillow783@gmail.com>

Rated G

Submitted: September 2006

Summary: There's no cure for Kryptonite, but one ordinary morning Dr. Klein thinks he might have found something that will at least help.

Author's Notes: I don't even know WHERE this came from. Maybe it's the huge bottle of 1,000MG Vitamin C supplements sitting on the small table by my bed. And I know those of you on the message board are looking for the next part of "A [Parent's] Love That Risks Nothing," and to be honest, I am too. I'm just a bit stuck, so when I thought of this I figured I should at least try and write it, or I'd be blocked forever.

*This story is set somewhere in season four, although I haven't a clue where, since I haven't watched season 4 since it first aired in the mid/late nineties.*

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or the settings in this fanfic. I only own the idea. The rest belongs to Warner Brothers.

I've been a bit remiss in my thanks for the last 7-8 stories I've written. Therefore, in this story, I'd like to thank everyone who's helped me so far:

LabRat should be thanked first for her speedy and cordial inclusions of all my stories in the LC Fanfic Archive, and for her quick GE of "The Eyes Unfettered."

Thanks also go to Paul for the GEs of "Phone Call" and "Unexpected Visitor."

To GE Sue for "Voices in My Head," Janet for "Computer Whiz's Genius," Swirling Capes for "When the Snitch Didn't Snitch," and to Erin for "The Setup"'s GE, thanks!

Thanks also to the GE of this fic, Wendy, she has done a great job.

And a final thanks to those people who have commented on past stories, and those who will (hopefully) comment on this and future stories.

Thanks especially go to Terry Leatherwood on the LC Fanfic Message Board, because his comments make me giggle and make me want to write more.

Now, without further ado, on with the story!

***

Doctor Bernard Klein jolted awake with a suppressed scream. What was that awful noise that had just awakened him? He looked around when he heard it again.

Oh, right. It was his alarm clock. He had spent so many nights at the lab the last few months; he'd forgotten what the alarm at home sounded like.

It was nice though, to wake up on a comfortable mattress for once, instead of at his lab desk or on one of the couches in the offices, he thought to himself with a large yawn as he stretched out the cobwebs in his tall frame.

Not for the first time, he reminded himself that taking the night off was a good thing. Thinking back on his project from the night before, he felt that his head was a bit clearer, even though the details of the project itself weren't quite straight in his head yet.

Vigorously rubbing one hand over his face and bald head, the doctor sat up, his bare feet receiving a shock as he set them on the cold hard wood of his bedroom floor. Quickly, he shoved the chilled appendages into a pair of cushy black slippers with the words "Lab Rat 1" and "Lab Rat 2" embroidered on them.

*Maybe I should put a rug there,* he thought as he did every time he had awakened at home since first moving into his apartment. And like every other time, he immediately dismissed the thought on the grounds that, with his working habits, he wasn't likely to spend many nights in the bedroom anyway.

Shucking off the last of his covers, Bernie stood, shivering a bit as he left the comforting warmth of his not-often-visited bed. He did a dance and rubbed his arms with his hands as he made his way to the closet to choose his clothes for the day.

After showering and dressing, he made his way to the kitchen, where he discovered that the sour milk in his refrigerator was determined to keep him from having Cocoa Pods for breakfast this morning.

With a sigh, the good doctor resigned himself to coffee and a doughnut on his way to the lab, and grabbed his leather jacket on his way out the door, making a mental note to remember his Vitamin C supplement when he got to the lab.

***

Three hours later, Bernie was up to his elbows in lab write-ups.

He sat at his computer trying to remember what he had been thinking the night before when he left the lab. His electronic notes just didn't make any sense. Thinking the written data he had taken during testing might help him, he shuffled the papers scattered about his desk, searching for his notes on laser mechanics.

His movements uncovered a bottle of pills. Picking it up to read the label, he remembered his mental note to take his vitamins earlier that morning. He popped the lid and shook one of the tablets into his palm and went into his office to get some water from the cooler in there.

As Dr Klein returned to the lab, he noticed that the vitamins weren't all that he had uncovered in his search. He still had not found his laser notes, but when he looked at the lead box containing one of his "pet projects," something just seemed to click in his mind.

Excited, and his mind filling with possibilities and possible problems which needed to be tested and eliminated, Klein hurried to the nearest telephone in the lab, dialing before he had gotten closer to it than arm's length.

The telephone rang once, twice, and was picked up on the third ring. "Clark Kent," the doctor heard on the other end.

"Mr Kent," Dr Klein said. "This is Bernard Klein over at S.T.A.R. Labs. I was wondering if you could ask Superman to meet me here this afternoon. I have an idea I would like to run by him."

***

At three o'clock that afternoon, Superman walked through the main doors at S.T.A.R. Labs and made his way to Dr Klein's lab.

Thinking back on the scientist's earlier phone call, he thought about the conversation he and Lois had a while back regarding letting Dr Klein know he was really Clark Kent. It would sure make those phone calls less awkward.

He was surprised, and would have been even without his tangential thoughts, when he saw the hastily-scrawled sign scotch taped to the outside of the laboratory door that said, "Knock before you come in, ESPECIALLY SUPERMAN!" He did as he was told, and rapped solidly—but gently—on the heavy door.

"Just a moment!" he heard Dr Klein say from the other side, and then there was a somewhat-metallic *thunk* before the doctor called, "Come in!"

Curious, Superman turned the knob and poked his head around the door. "Dr Klein?" he asked. "You had something you wanted to talk to me about?"

"Ah, Superman! Yes, please come in," Bernie said over his shoulder, tucking a box away in the heavy safe in the far corner of the lab. "Sorry about the sign. Necessary precaution, you see. Just give me a second to get this Kryptonite stowed away."

Superman inclined his head in acknowledgement. "I would appreciate that." Figuring that now was as good a time as any, he continued, "Actually, Dr Klein, there is something I've been meaning to tell you for awhile now, but haven't gotten around to yet."

Dr Klein closed the safe, spun the dial, and then turned back to the superhero. Absentmindedly, he asked, "What's that?"

The other man made his way across the room, gesturing to the scientist's desk-side chair. "Maybe you'd better sit down for this, Doctor."

"Is everything all right?"

"Yes, everything is fine, but there's something I want to share with you," Superman answered. "Over the last year or so, you've been a great friend to me, and I trust you. But there is more about me than what you have been studying. I have … another life, I guess you could say, in which I don't wear … well, this." He gestured toward the red, blue and yellow spandex of the suit.

On a roll now, he continued only somewhat awkwardly, "I think it would make contacting me a bit easier—not to mention, my visits could be less conspicuous—if you simply addressed me by the name I go by in my other lifeó"

"Clark Kent, right?" Dr Klein interrupted.

Superman's eyes widened. "Wha—? How did you—?"

"Lucky guess," the scientist quipped. "I didn't actually know for certain until I saw your reaction just now, although I have suspected since you made your first visit here as Clark."

"I'm still 0 for 2, though." The other man pouted.

"0 for 2?"

"Of the four people who know this secret—besides me, of course," Superman—Clark—explained, "two are the Kents, who found me when I was a baby and raised me as their own son; the third is my wife Lois, who found out the night before I proposed to her and was mad at me for a week because I hadn't had the courage to tell her first; and then there's you, who suspected but ultimately guessed yourself. I still haven't told anyone totally on my own yet."

"I see."

Clark nodded. "Would you mind if I closed the door behind me? I'd like to change and just be me while we discuss whatever you wanted to discuss, but I don't want anyone looking into the lab and seeing Clark where Superman should be …"

"Oh!" Dr Klein seemed to understand. "Sure, you can go into the office and change if you like, and I'll close the blinds in here."

"No need," Clark answered. He shut the door, and rushed around at super speed, twisting the blinds closed. Once that task was finished, he stopped in the same place he had been standing before, and began to spin, changing clothes. In less than a second, the whirlwind stopped, and Clark Kent stood in Superman's place, sliding the frames of his glasses over his eyes.

Dr Klein did a rather convincing impression of a fish out of water, and then slumped backward in his chair, the palm of his right hand hitting his forehead in astonishment. The chair rolled a couple of feet backward with the movement, and the scientist sat up again, using his heels to bring himself back to the desk.

Clark, worried at the older man's silence, asked, "Are you all right, Dr Klein?"

"Bernie."

"What?"

"Call me Bernie."

"Oh. Okay, um, Bernie." Clark thought it might be about time to get back on track. "What was it you wanted to talk to me about?"

Still a bit dazed from the revelation, Bernie only said, "Huh?"

With infinite patience, and a little bemusement, Clark answered, "You called and said you wanted to talk to me about something?"

"Oh! Yes, I did."

Clark sat in one of the other chairs in the lab, leaning his elbow on the edge of the desk. "What was it?"

"What was what?"

"The thing you wanted to talk to me about?" Clark reminded the doctor.

"Oh!" Dr Klein said again. "Vitamins and mineral supplements. Or rather, just minerals."

"I'm not following."

"Sometimes, humans' diets don't provide enough of one or more nutrients, so they take vitamins or mineral supplements to counteract the deficiency, like the Vitamin C supplement I take every morning," the doctor explained.

"Yes," Clark nodded. "And?"

"I think you might have a lead deficiency."

"A lead deficiency?" Clark was skeptical. "As far as I know, I'm perfectly healthy. I've never felt better."

"Except when you're exposed to Kryptonite," Bernie prodded.

A light seemed to go on above Clark's head. "You mean, you might be able to create a lead supplement to go with my daily diet which might counteract the effects of Kryptonite?"

"I'm not quite sure yet, but I think it just might work," the doctor acknowledged. "Of course, first, we would have to find out just how much lead is in your system on a normal basis—we would need to get a blood sample for that somehow. Then we would have to find the absolute minimum blood-to-lead ratio required to protect you from Kryptonite radiation. And finally, we would have to make sure that the amount of lead used would not adversely affect your powers—specifically vision and flight."

Clark nodded, understanding, but had a few worries. "But what about the people I interact with on a regular basis? Lead is poisonous to humans, and I wouldn't want to harm someone just by being around them all the time. Not to mention, you would be making the supplements."

"Oh, we work with all sorts of volatile and potentially harmful substances here at S.T.A.R. Labs all the time," Dr Klein practically boasted. "I'll be certain to take all of the necessary safety precautions before attempting to manufacture any sort of lead-based substance. As for the people you interact with on a more-than-daily basis, I have a theory."

"And that is?"

"Humans have trace elements of lead in their systems already," the doctor elucidated. "I suspect that this trace amount is just enough for each human based on their metabolic rate and other such factors for them to be immune to Kryptonite. I also suspect that either you do not have enough lead in your system, or you do not have any, and therefore you are vulnerable to Kryptonite. If my theory is correct, then should you take the hypothetical lead supplements you would not bring any harm to those with whom you interacted regularly."

Clark listened to this explanation with excitement. "Well, what are we waiting for?" he exclaimed. "Break out the Kryptonite again so we can get a blood sample!"

"Right!" Dr Klein shot up out of his chair and turned toward the safe again.

"Wait," said Clark.

Bernie halted mid-stride and turned his head back to look at the younger man.

"Maybe you'd better get out what you'll need to take the sample first." Clark blushed at his earlier reckless enthusiasm. "I don't want to be exposed to that stuff longer than I have to."

THE END

Feedback is greatly appreciated. Please e-mail me at (http://www.lcficmbs.com/cgi-bin/boards/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_t DASWillow783@gmail.com, or go to the feedback thread opic&f=1&t=005756) on the message board for this story.