By Rain Elizabeth Day <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Summary: Lois and Clark are both vying for spots on an important military press conference — but a drug test is required. Clark's in a jam unless Lois can come through with her offer to donate a sample. Shouldn't be any harm in that, right?
Well here it is, Folcs, my first fanfic. I think I probably got the drug testing idea from "Little Bird", by Debby Stark. I figured if we can have ten zillion revelation stories, we can have more than one take on the drug testing bit…<g>
For those of you who don't know (it's only mentioned in the first paragraph anyways), a combine is one of the machines used to harvest *wheat* <g> (in Saskatchewan, at least, and I assume in Kansas too…)
I wrote this story on two and a half hours of sleep (just so you're warned;) and the plot is a little, um, *strange*…
All standard disclaimers apply. Thanks to Mark for reading and offering very helpful suggestions (fighter planes beat announcements any day!)
Comments, etc. would be much appreciated.
"Clark, what do you mean you can't go? This could be a great story!" Lois Lane looked at her partner with an expression of disbelief. "I mean, what's the problem? No, let me guess. It's the time of year when you go back to Smallville and help your dad combine." She rolled her eyes, secretly proud of her casual insertion of the farming term into a conversation. Her eyes twinkled. "You know," she teased, "I bet if you really tried you could get a whole field done in, oh…" She trailed off, and her expression changed as she looked deeper into his face. He was smiling, but she knew him too well to be fooled. "What's wrong?"
Clark glanced around at the crowded newsroom, then looked back at Lois, who by now had a distinctly worried look on her face. He leaned in very close to her and whispered. "I just found out. They're doing random drug testing of reporters."
She looked at him, distracted for a moment by his closeness. "What? But you don't - ohhhh." He saw the dawning comprehension in her eyes. She took one of his hands in hers, stroking her thumb along the edge of his finger. "Yeah, I guess you can't - " She broke off, looking up at him beseechingly. There has to be some way around it."
Despite himself, he smiled, squeezing her hand. That was Lois, all right, already scheming. As he opened his mouth to speak, he heard Perry White's voice behind him.
"Hey kids, this is a newspaper, not a junior high school. I want to see daylight between all my reporters." Lois and Clark both smiled. The Editor in Chief of the Daily Planet was not-so-secretly thrilled that the two of them were together - a 'hot item', as Jimmy Olsen had put it, rather enviously, Clark thought.
"Did you want something, Perry?" Lois moved away from Clark, but didn't let go of his hand. She squeezed it reassuringly, only half listening to Perry. The other half of her mind was frantically thinking of some way Clark could avoid being tested for drug use without arousing suspicion. And it would look pretty suspicious if the needle wouldn't go into his skin. There were times when being invulnerable was not so much of an advantage as one might think. Not to mention what might be found if his blood or urine were to be analyzed. She thought for a moment, waited for a break in the conversation.
"Is the Air Force *allowed* to perform random drug tests on civilians?"
"You, ah, got something to hide, Lois?"
She made a face. "Of course not. It's just that I've always hated needles." She shuddered. "And besides, it's the principle of the thing. I mean, what's it to them if a reporter is so stupid as to, you know…"
"Maybe they want to make sure none of you are cheating, you know, getting a leg up on the competition," suggested Jimmy, who was passing by on his way to the darkroom.
"Right, Jimmy. Drugs that help you enhance your reporting instincts."
Jimmy shrugged. "Just a suggestion." He grabbed a mint from a little jar Lois had on her desk, and popped it into his mouth.
"We hardly know anything about this." said Lois, looking pointedly at Perry. She did not like being kept in the dark. Even Clark had known more than her. "I mean, all *I* know is that we're invited to a reception aboard an aircraft carrier, and that they're planning to unveil some quote, exciting new technology. And it's all a big top secret thing, and nobody's been able to find out anything about it, but our sources have been hinting at something big for months…" She trailed off, realizing that she was beginning to babble.
"Well, Lois, it's your lucky day. I was just coming out to tell you two all about it." commented Perry, with just a touch of sarcasm. "Now listen up. Word is, they're unveiling some sort of new fighter plane. They're having a random lottery among the invited reporters, to see who gets to go up in it. Drug testing is mandatory for those riding in the plane, for safety reasons."
Clark nodded. It made sense. And unfortunately, it didn't look as if he could back out. If he were chosen in the lottery, he would have to go, unless Lois was chosen too. And the odds of them *both* being chosen were slim, he imagined. He took a deep breath. *Calm down* he told himself. *The chances of _you_ being chosen are slim too.* Unfortunately, he had the sinking feeling that Murphy's Law would rule the day.
Lois squeezed his hand, then addressed Perry, somewhat belligerently. "So if I get chosen I have no choice but to have a needle shoved into my arm." Out of the corner of her eye she saw that she had gone too far. Perry was preparing to blow his top. "If I want to get the story, that is." She added hastily. "And I do. I do."
"Well if it makes you feel any better, Lois, they're not doing blood tests."
Lois looked to Perry for confirmation. He nodded. "So I don't want to hear any more complaints. Go there tomorrow, get a great story, and make me proud." He turned to go.
"Perry, I would have gone if they *were* having blood tests!"
He turned. "I know you would have, Lois." His face darkened. "Because if you *hadn't*…" He let the threat hang in the air, then walked off towards his office, whistling what seemed to be a medley of several Elvis tunes.
Jimmy turned to go too. "Well, I guess it's just you and a cup, Lois."
"Jimmy, that's disgusting!"
"I know!" replied Jimmy cheerfully. "But hey, you're the one who has to do it, not me!" Before she could come up with a reply he hurried away, whistling a song by the Spin Doctors as he headed for the darkroom.
"What?" asked Clark, who had been silent for the latter part of the conversation.
"I'll tell you later. I still need to think about it a bit. But I wouldn't worry about tomorrow night. I don't think you'll be needing to plan a trip to Smallville after all."
Her good mood was infectious, at least to Clark. But she wouldn't say a word on the subject for the rest of the day.
"I figured it out!" Lois announced smugly that night. They were having dinner at her apartment, just finishing up, lingering over coffee.
"Oh?" asked Clark, regarding her with a look that made her catch her breath.
"Uh huh." she confirmed, watching him out of the corner of her eye as she went to put her dishes into the sink. He was watching her too, she noted, and her insides were beginning to melt at the way his gaze slid lovingly over every contour of her body. She returned the gaze, gave him a look which clearly said "later", and waited while he, too, put his dishes away.
He snatched her as she headed towards the couch. "Have I ever told you how much I love you?"
She squirmed in his embrace. "Oh, a few times," she said airily, laughing at the fake-hurt expression on his face. Suddenly she giggled and relented, kissing him on the tip of his nose before moving down to his mouth. "I love you too," she whispered, her lips brushing against his. Then she pulled away slightly, and realized that they were floating. "Hey! Don't you want to hear my plan?"
"Of course I do!" he murmured in her ear, slowly drifting them down to the couch. Lois sat cross-legged at one end, her knees touching Clark's, who sat in the same position, facing her.
"Okay." Lois began, briskly. "For one thing, it _is_ a *random* lottery. If you don't get picked, they won't test you at all." She held up a hand to forestall his next comment. "But I agree, we need to be prepared just in case. If you get picked and I haven't yet, you have to go, because if only one of us gets a chance and doesn't take it, Perry will kill us. Now my really big worry was the blood, but since they're not doing that, I don't really see a problem."
"But how do we know that my, um…"
"We don't." She began to speak faster, arguing her case. "I um, a few years ago, I had to do a story on a bunch of Olympic athletes who were taking steroids." She made a face. "I hate it when Perry makes me do sports reporting. Just because my father happens to be a big name in the field." Clark patted her knee, and she smiled at him before continuing. "Anyways, a couple of those athletes were, um, using other people's, ah, *donated*, um, bodily fluids, and they would have gotten away with it if it weren't for some," she grinned, "intrepid reporters…". Clark smiled. "So, um, I know how they did it, and it's kind of gross, but I'd rather that than have you exposed as an alien or something." She reached forward and brushed a curl of his hair down over his forehead, blushing slightly. "So…"She trailed off, and looked at him.
He looked back at her. "So you'll, uh, donate?"
"Well," he said with a straight face, "I've heard of people getting some *strange* gifts from their significant others, but I've got to say, this one takes the cake!"
She laughed. "So you'll do it?" She trailed one finger down his chin, past his throat, and along his chest. He shivered, his breath coming a bit faster.
"Well," he managed to say, "I wasn't looking forward to explaining to Perry why I wasn't going…" She smiled and leaned forward, her own rate of breathing increasing.
"Yeah, I don't think he'd buy the harvesting excuse…" Their bodies were now pressed tightly together, and Lois continued to lean forward until Clark toppled over backwards and she lay on top of him on the couch. "So you like my, uh, proposition, farmboy?" She kissed him before he had a chance to reply.
"I don't know." he managed to get out some time later. "Which proposition were you referring to?"
She giggled and sat up, pulling him off the couch. He pulled her down with him, unprotesting. "Well," she breathed, after a moment, "I hope you liked…both…"
He nuzzled her ear, his hands sending shivers up her body. She moaned once, then stood, pulling him up with her. Her arms encircled his back, tugging his T-shirt out of the waistband of his pants. She kissed him again, slowly, deliberately. "But I think…" she whispered in his ear, her soft breath doing unsettling things to his equilibrium, "that we can discuss the other one…later…"
And it was indeed much, much later when, snuggled together in Lois' bed, they began to work out the logistics of their plan.
Lois paced uneasily through the stateroom she had been assigned on the huge aircraft carrier. Naturally, Clark had been selected for a drug test. And naturally she hadn't, so she had nothing to keep her occupied while she worried about him. And furthermore, she was feeling more than slightly queasy from the rocking motion of the ship. She groaned and cursed herself for insisting she wouldn't get seasick. She'd tried lying down, but that had only made it worse. She was trying very hard to concentrate on something else - anything else. And unfortunately for her state of mind, the only something else that presented itself was worry over how Clark was doing. And whether their plan would work. Thoughts that would have given her butterflies in her stomach at the best of times. She had just about reached the end of her tether when Clark finally appeared, looking cheerful.
"So?" she asked, hugging him.
"So." he replied, kissing her forehead. "I think it went OK. Nobody looked suspicious." He grinned. "It's amazing the things you learn how to do in this business…"
Lois smiled faintly. "Good." She looped her hand through his and pointed towards the door. "So now we go mix and mingle and wait for the big demo tomorrow."
"Right." he said. He looked at her closely. "Are you all right?"
"Not really." she admitted. "But I'll live. C'mon." She poked him in the side. Looking at the pasty color of her face, he realized that it might not be a good idea to return the gesture, not if he wanted her dress to continue to look as good as it did on her. He thought a bit apprehensively about the formal dinner coming up (in more ways than one…) but decided against mentioning it.
In the end, Lois was feeling a bit better by the time dinner was served. As they sat across from one another at a long table filled with illustrious journalists, each was thinking of the previous night's dinner, and how much more…satisfying it had been. They told each other so with looks and little touches of their feet under the table, all the while joining in on the conversation that took place around them. Everyone was eagerly awaiting the demonstration the next day and most people were pleasantly surprised at the decent quarters they had been assigned. Apparently the humorous articles that had been written after the last such event had hit home. The conversation turned to the drug testing. A few people were upset, most were philosophical. Several of them had been tested, and were the targets of good-natured ribbing about whether or not they'd passed, as well as some half-hidden jealousy about the opportunity they were getting.
"I heard that the range of tests they're subjecting the samples to is amazing," remarked a well-known Washington Post columnist. Heads nodded around the table. Several people made mental notes that there could be another story in all of this, even if the evening's speech by General Habib proved to be a disappointment. Or if it was never made at all. It had already been delayed several times.
On cue, a long-suffering aide stepped up to the microphone. "May I have your attention please. We regret that the general is unavoidably delayed, and will not be here in time to speak during the dinner tonight." He waited for the buzz of conversation to die down, then continued. "He will, however, be here in time for the reception afterwards, and the presentation, I assure you, will be made at that time." Clark could not help but feel sorry for the young man, who had become the undeserving focus of several nasty looks and grumbles around the room. He took it in stride, though, and descended from the platform as if he had heard nothing.
"Do you think there really *is* an General Habib?" asked Lois, looking uncharacteristically fed up. There were chuckles from around the table, but several people looked as if they almost believed it.
Everyone was beginning to wonder when, at the reception, yet another delay was announced. "Do you get the feeling they're planning on keeping us up all night?" Clark turned around to see the source of the voice, an older man with grey hair and twinkly blue eyes. He was loosening his collar, uncomfortable in the stuffy air of the reception room.
"Sam!" Clark exclaimed in pleasure. "Have you met -" he broke off as Lois, looking distinctly green, tugged on his sleeve.
"Clark, I have to get out of here." She swallowed hard, clenching her teeth.
Clark shot a quick glance of apology at Sam, then put an arm around Lois' shoulder, quickly steering her towards the door. "Are you going to be sick?"
"I'm not sure."
"Well, maybe some fresh air will help." They reached the wide double doors and stepped out onto the deck, buffeted a bit by the wind. Lois took several deep breaths.
Clark watched her carefully. "Feeling better?"
"A bit." She leaned back against him, and he grasped her shoulders, steadying her. "You know, it's funny, Clark. I've been on boats lots of times, and I've never been seasick before."
"Well -" Clark broke off as he heard someone coming out the doors. They both turned to see who it was.
"Ahhh, Mr. Kent!" It was the ship's chief medical officer, and something in the way he looked at Clark made Lois nervous enough to reach out and grasp Clark's hand protectively. "I've been looking all over for you."
"My partner wasn't feeling well." Clark inclined his head towards Lois, trying not to betray his own nervousness.
"Ah, yes, Ms. Lane." The doctor regarded her, appraising her rather clinically, she thought. Abruptly he turned his attention back to Clark. "Well, Mr. Kent, the results of your drug test were most, ah, interesting."
His face hardened, although something in his eyes seemed to relish what he was about to say.
"Congratulations, Mr. Kent. You're pregnant!"