A Midsummer Night's Dream …

By Betsy R.

Summary: In the throes of a nightmare, Lois cries out for Clark, but it's Superman who arrives to comfort her. A story that takes place in the summer after first season.

Hello all. Just a few notes of explanation … This story takes place in the summer after the first season … Lois doesn't know CK = S, we're in the "best friend" stage, though both wish it were more.

This is also fluff-fic. There is absolutely NO A-plot. (consider yourself warned). *Thoughts are expressed in asterisks* {dreams are in curly braces}

Lois and Clark and Superman are all money-makers for somebody else. This is all meant in fun, and the story is mine, all mine …


"Has July ever been this hot before?" Clark Kent wondered as he floated above the sprawling city of Metropolis. He was in the suit, hoping desperately that either something would come along to occupy him or miraculously a large cold front would surprise Metropolis. Normally, things like heat wouldn't bother him. But lately, he was at the end of his tether. Everything seemed to set him on edge.

It was this whole "best buddy" thing, he decided. After weighing the pros and cons of everything, he had decided that being friends with Lois was better than nothing at all. But now, he wasn't so sure. There was a decided strain on their relationship; well, at least he felt strained in their relationship. It was so hard to pretend to be friends when he wanted oh, so much more. But he had made his bed, and he would lie in it.

The whole problem was that he couldn't sleep anymore. He couldn't eat. And it was just too darn hot. "Even the criminals think it's too hot. Of all the times for Superman to have nothing to do … "

Suddenly, a sound pricked his awareness. It was Lois, and she sounded very upset. But she also sounded muffled … there was definitely something wrong. He didn't hesitate, but swooped immediately in the direction of her apartment.

She had left her windows open because of the heat. Although she lived on an upper floor of one of Metropolis' several high-rise apartments, there still wasn't much of a breeze coming through her window. Her apartment was completely dark and she lay, tossing this way and that, in her decidedly crumpled bed. His first concern being for her health, Clark, as Superman, approached her bed to feel for her temperature.

Gently, he touched his hand to her forehead.. warm, but not too hot. She grew even more restless under his touch. "Clark, no, no," she ranted in her dream.

{{ … He couldn't be dead. It just wasn't possible. But it was true. Her partner. Her best friend. The only man she would ever love. And he was dead. Why didn't she tell him? Why did she chicken out? One stray bullet, and all her chances blown away. Just like that. She cradled him in her arms as the warmth left his body. She felt she had to say the words just once. Maybe they could bring him back to her … }}

"I love you Clark," She mumbled in a sad voice. She grabbed Superman almost fiercely, catching him off guard and pulling him down onto her bed. "I love you. Please don't leave me. Please."

After hearing the words he had longed so long to hear and the obvious distress in her voice, Clark temporarily forgot that he was in the suit and gently enfolded Lois in his arms. He held her and stroked her back and murmured soothingly. "Shh … Lois. I'm here. It's okay."

Lois began to calm down. Her dream was changing. Clark wasn't dead. He was alive. And he was holding her as if he would never let her go.

"Oh, Clark." Lois sighed and hugged him to her. She once again murmured, "I love you, Clark. Don't ever leave."

It was too much for Clark to bear. As he held the woman he loved in his arms and she professed her own emotions, the temptation grew too strong. He began to kiss her: light, soothing caresses on the soft skin of her face and neck.

Lois's dream was definitely taking a turn for the better. She was cuddling with Clark, and there was nothing she wanted to do more. She began to kiss him back, searching for his beautifully chiseled mouth. As the kisses grew more intense, she began to feel the moist heat of desire spinning through her. This was most definitely the best dream she had ever had.

"So real," she murmured as Clark's lips brushed over the naked skin of her shoulder. Goose-bumps pricked her sensitive skin as he inhaled her scent at the nape of her neck. It was then that she began to realize that this was NOT a dream. She slowly tried to grasp where she was and how Clark could possibly be there, making love to her.

She struggled to open her eyes and focus them on the man before her. She gasped and stiffened in reaction. "Not Clark!"

Clark pulled away from Lois, the passion still clouding his confused eyes. "Lois?"

Lois struggled to push away from Superman. "S-S- Superman. What are you doing here? What were you doing with me?" Her confusion was rapidly turning into anger. She reached to turn on the bedside lamp.

"Lois, I … I can explain … "

Indignantly, Lois interrupted. "Just what do you think you're doing, buster? Taking advantage of a woman as she sleeps. I thought you were supposed to be so pure … " She struggled to pull the twisted sheets up around her.

"It's not what you think. Honestly. Just let me explain … " Things were happening too fast. How could he have let himself get so out of control? Should he try to explain the truth now? She didn't seem to be in a very receptive mood.

"I think you should go. I don't want to hear your explanations. I thought I knew you, Superman. But the man I knew wouldn't ever have taken advantage of a sleeping woman."

"Lois, you were the one who grabbed me!"

"Oh, and I suppose you came bursting in my room at," she paused to look at the clock, "1:30 a.m. because I was screaming for help in my sleep? I don't think so."


"Please just go."

Superman took one last look at Lois and flew out the window.


Lois fumed silently for a few minutes. "How could he do that?" she thought aloud. "I mean, it's not like I haven't given him chances in the past while I was fully awake. But no, he waits not only 'til I'm asleep but also after I've fallen in love with his best friend!"

*I've fallen in love with his best friend.* Her anger at Superman melted away as she finally completely admitted this fact.

The dream of Clark being killed was still fresh in her mind. She knew that, symbolically, this dream told her so much. She hadn't really been able to admit her feelings for Clark, even to herself, but this nightmare had made it all so clear. She loved him. Deeply and unconditionally. And to lose him would be unbearable. She must have been sobbing in her sleep; that would have brought Superman, her self-appointed protector.

Why had he done it? Why had he taken advantage of her in her sleep? There had been so many times in the past when she had more than hinted that she wanted him, yet he hadn't been interested then. Now, when she's obviously sleeping, he decides to return that desire?

Lois paced the room. She went over the episode in her mind dozens of times. When had it turned from a nightmare to a dream? What was dream and what was reality? She vividly remembered Clark whispering, "Shh … Lois. I'm here. It's okay." But the voice. Was it Clark's or was it Superman's?

She stopped and closed her eyes to think.

Clark's voice. Superman's voice. Normally, they seemed so distinct. But Superman didn't normally plead, as he did tonight. Clark did. And when Superman pleaded he sounded just like Clark.

Just like Clark.

"Shh … Lois. I'm here. It's okay."

His eyes. Brown and so deep. Just like Clark.

His scent as he held her. Fresh and natural, with just a tinge of aftershave … Clark's aftershave.

Funny, she had never been close enough to Superman for the length of time needed to analyze his scent.

Funny how much Superman and Clark had in common.

Of course, they were best friends. Or were they more than that?

"Shh … Lois. I'm here. It's okay."

Could it possibly be …?


She had to test her theory. She picked up the phone and hit the most used auto-dial. After a few rings, the machine picked up. "Hello. Sorry I can't answer the phone right now … " Lois listened to the voice, her reporter's instinct comparing it to the voice she heard most recently. The test was inconclusive. She'd have to do more research. As the message came to a close, she put on her best acting voice.

"Clark," she said in a typical rushed Lois Lane voice, "if you're there, could you pick up? You're not there or you're asleep. You must be asleep 'cos where else would you be at 2:00am? Well listen, I have a family emergency and I'm gonna go out of town tomorrow for a few days. If you see Superman, tell him I'm sorry I over-reacted, and everything's fine; he'll know what I mean. Some time, you're gonna have to tell me how you contact him, anyway. But I just wanted to tell you I'll be out for a few days. My notes for the credit card scam are in the top right drawer of my desk, and you remember my password. See you soon."

She figured she had rambled enough. She just hope that Clark/Superman bought it. She was going to need the time to do some heavy weight thinking, as well as some research.


After taking a good, cool-down soak in the Arctic Ocean, Clark did a fly-by of Lois's apartment. The lights were blazing, but she wasn't visible from the window. Sensing that he'd be the last person she'd want to see, he flew home. He entered his apartment via the open back terrace doors and saw his answering machine flashing.

He rewound and listened to the message at least three times. Was she really okay? Or had he, as Superman, really stepped in the dookie?

He could kick himself for the way he had acted. Indeed, he had kicked himself several times while taking his therapeutic swim. It was just holding her, and having her say words he had waited so long to hear … He couldn't believe it was real so he had acted as if it were a dream come true.

Maybe she was truly over the evening's incident. Maybe her dream had been nothing but a dream, and it was still the Suit she wanted, after all. It made sense. By the time she had woken enough to clearly think out what was going on, she regretted having thrown Superman out.

But why, then, would she need the time off? Why would she be running away? Of course, Clark Kent wasn't supposed to know about tonight's happenings, so he shouldn't be suspicious in the least.

Without really thinking about it, he picked up the phone and called Lois. He wanted to comfort her, though he didn't really know if he could.


"Lois, this is Clark. Is everything okay?"

Lois listened to the voice carefully. With the connection they had, there was no way she could tell one way or another. Darn that cordless phone of his! She'd have to try another tactic. "Clark, where have you been at this hour of the night?"

Clark's brain stalled. At his best, his excuses were bad. Right now, he didn't know if he could get himself out of this one. "Umm … I've been asleep. I just woke up. And I came to the kitchen for … a drink of water. It's so hot, you know. I must have woke up because I was thirsty. And when I was out here, I saw the answering machine flashing. So what's the emergency? Is your emergency anything I can help with?"

*Yeah, I'm trying to figure out whether or not my best friend can fly, and if he can, why hasn't he told me before now?!* "Umm … no, Clark. It's my aunt. My great aunt actually. My mother's Aunt Druscilla. She sprained her ankle and needs somebody to look after her for a few days until her daughter can come pick her up."

*She's not much better at making excuses than I am.* "Are you sure I can't help? You know, I'm stronger than you, and if your aunt needs to be lifted … "

*I'll just bet you're stronger than I am, Buster.* "No, no. Auntie Druscilla is a recluse. She only wants to see family. And I'm the only one available."

"Okay. About the Superman message," he began cautiously

"Oh, it was nothing, really. It's that time … you know … and I ran out of chocolate and I've been in such a mood and I kind of blew up at Superman. I can do that sometimes. And I just wanted to make sure that I didn't hurt his feelings too much."

*Yeah, and you want to make it up to him, too, I'm sure* Clark thought, jealously. He sighed. "If I see him, I'll pass on the message."

"Thanks, Clark." *If I see him. HA! Just look in the mirror, buddy!*

"No problem, Lois." *I'm such a good PAL, aren't I?!* he thought, disgusted with himself. "Listen, I'm going to try to get back to sleep."

"Oh, okay. Clark?"

"Yeah, Lois?"

"Sweet dreams."

Clark laughed a short humorless chuckle, and replaced the handset of the phone. His thoughts were a muddled mess. If anything, he was even more antsy than before. But he couldn't do anything about it. So, he turned to his bed to try to get some sleep.


Clark Kent entered the Daily Planet the next morning with what he figured must be a headache. He had never really had a headache before, but this seemed like it could qualify. The events of the early morning had tapered off into a restless sleep, only to be disturbed at 3:00 by a 5 alarm fire in the warehouse district. The warehouse had been used for the illegal storage of used PERC, a toxic dry-cleaning chemical, and the firefighters had a hard time containing the poisonous fumes. Superman buzzed around the scene, forcing the fumes directly upward. Not that that would get rid of the toxins, but it would disperse them a little.

The bright side of it was that Clark Kent would have a good story to write up, what with the Superman quotes, the investigation into the owner of the warehouse and the potential source of the PERC. Between that and the fraud investigation that Lois had handed him, he expected to be busy. Hopefully, that would keep his throbbing head clear of thoughts about Lois.

Where was she now? Was she all right? Had she just gone away to think, or was she plotting some sort of revenge against Superman— he could see the headline now: "Superman modern day Incubus." But thinking about it was making his head pound even more, so he decided to get to work.


The next morning, in the library of Metropolis University, Lois Lane sat amid a huge stack of microfiche printouts, her meticulously noted calendars from the past two years, and a large thermos of coffee, making notes and cross- referencing dates.

"Ms. Lane? Lois Lane?"

Lois looked up from her notes to see Maurice Washington, the library staffer she had become good buddies with during her tenure at MU. "Hey, Maurice! How have you been?"

"Fine, Lois, just fine. But you? I thought you swore off all nighters in this library after that senior project of yours!"

"You know, Maurice, I have a kind of … side project I'm working on."

"Say no more. No privacy at the Daily Planet's morgue, eh?" He laughed, knowingly. "I guess you took me up on the offer of lifetime use of this place."

"Yeah, well, I figured that with summer sessions being over, you wouldn't mind an alum taking up prime desk space."

"Hey, it's no problem. If you need help, just holler. Oh, by the way, I have been meaning to get in touch with you."

"What about?"

"The journalism department is starting a new series of seminars, to be taught by outside people. I was thinking that maybe you and your partner, Mr. Kent, could come teach a series on investigative journalism. I know that you're busy, so I didn't make a suggestion to the department yet, but they asked me to be on the lookout for ideas."

Lois hesitated. With things being in the state they were in, she didn't know if she would have a partner named Clark Kent in a few days. She smiled and gave a non- committal "Thanks for the offer, Maurice. I'll talk it over with Clark and give you an answer in, say, two weeks?"

"That's just fine. Well, I guess I'll let you get back to your … project."

Lois lowered her head once again to her work. Her hair fanned over her cheek as she checked the dates once more. *Hmm, the bus was stopped, seemingly by one man who left a hand print in the front of the bus on the day Clark interviewed at the Planet. That seems to be the beginning of the documented super-type events in Metropolis.*

She flipped to a second pile of papers. *Then, there's this story from Bali of the jet plane losing both its engines, yet landing safely. That was at the same time that Clark wrote this article for the Kansas City Star about traveling through Indonesia. And the article on Northern India comes shortly after the large train wreck, at which there was a reported hero who lifted one of the cars, saving dozens of lives. Of course, the man was not identified, though he had dark hair and was possibly of mixed descent. Some witnesses report him floating on air, but these were discounted.*

She chewed on her lip and started trying to link up Clark disappearances with Superman appearances. After hearing the what seemed like two dozen lame reasons to leave the office a day, she had started keeping track of his excuses, weird and normal. She was a reporter, so she had the habit of writing down lots of observances in her daily calendar. Now she was glad she did. Every single one of his excuses that she had recorded had corresponded to the guy in tights appearing somewhere else.

*Okay, what about the time that Clark cut himself, at his parents house? Well, he seemed very shocked at that. Also, there was all that Kryptonite around. I didn't realize the power of it then. That must have weakened him enough so that his skin could be cut.*

*The globe. Of course he keeps it for Superman*

Lois had just about convinced herself of the fact that Superman was, in fact, Clark Kent in disguise. It made her kind of mad that he had hidden it from her for so long, but at the same time, she understood. At first, he couldn't trust the confrontational reporter who would have liked nothing better than to reveal the secret identity of the flying man from outer space.

Then she had to go get that crush on the Superman side of him. He just didn't realize how overwhelming he was in the suit. But it was more than the suit that attracted her. It was the little glimpses of personality that he showed her. Personality that she now knew was an aspect of Clark Kent people rarely saw.

The more she thought about it, trying as a good reporter should to see the story from all angles, the more she sympathized for Clark. *He must feel so alone, with no one to lean on. No wonder he's so close to his parents. They must be the only ones he can talk to.*

She needed one more piece of proof to completely convince herself. Physical proof. The only way she was going to get it was to hunt it down. *Hey, if Jack and his brother could break into Clark's place, it must be a piece of cake!*

Lois entered the door of Clark's apartment quietly. *Jeez, you'd have thought he'd have improved his locks by now. They weren't even a challenge!*

She walked gingerly through the living room that she knew so well, to the bathroom. There, hanging in the shower, was a suit. A blue, yellow, and red, caped suit. Dripping dry. "Jeez, Clark, why don't you try Woolite next time. Looks like a bit of the color ran." (Parts of the shield had an orange tinge to them.) This in itself was proof, but she was looking for something a little more. She walked through to his bedroom and noticed the pictures on his dresser. One of his parents. One of him and Lois together, one of Superman and Lois together. She put the latter two next to each other and studied the faces. No doubt about it. Take off the glasses and slick back the hair, et le voila, as the French would say. She also remembered, vividly, seeing Clark in a towel. Mmmm … well anyway, the physique was also the same. Proof positive. *Now, what do I do about it?*


Superman was patrolling Metropolis again. There was a predicted storm front coming through later that night, but the combination of oppressive heat and high humidity was making everything seem doubly depressing. He hadn't heard from Lois in two days. Well, not exactly two days. Forty-six hours and 32 minutes, to be precise. The stories had helped some, but now that that research and writing was done (super- speed and x-ray vision sometimes had their drawbacks), he was at a loose end. And he had all the time in the world to go over the other evening's events in his mind. What should he have done differently? How could he have helped himself? Would he act the same way if he had the chance to do it all over again?

Little did he know that he was about to get the opportunity to find out .

It came upon his awareness all the sudden: "No, No, NO! Please, HELP ME!" It was Lois again, and this time she really sounded in trouble.

Superman flew into her window without stopping to check the scene before him. He was greeted with a familiar sight. Lois, drenched with sweat, in crumpled bed clothes, tossing and turning and ranting. "No, no. Not Clark. Please. Please. Someone help. Clark … " She was crying.

The man of steel melted.

He went and sat at her side on the bed and gently stroked her back. "Shh … Lois. I'm here. It's okay."

Lois calmed slightly and stopped tossing restlessly in her tortured covers. She grabbed possessively at the figure next to her. This time, though, Superman was not caught off guard, and merely sat as if made of stone.

Immediately, Lois became restless again. "Clark? Clark? Don't leave me! Please … "

Superman looked down at Lois, temptation getting the better of him. He picked her up and held her. Stroking her back, he murmured quietly in her ear to calm her down.

"Clark?" The voice sounded a little more awake.

"Uhh … no, Lois. I'm Superman. You were having a terrible nightmare … "

"Clark," she interrupted more fiercely; sleep completely gone from her voice.

"No. Lois, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have come here … " He started to pull away from her.

She caught his face in her hands before he could move away and looked deep into his eyes with a smile. He looked concerned, confused, and indecisive. "Clark." She said, with satisfaction in her voice.

Then she kissed him.

(I refuse to say that that's the end, but you have good imaginations …;-)

Thanks to my proofers, Kathy and Rich. They have infinite patience with my lack of a spell checjer <bg>.