Into the Early Hours

By Katie Sizer <>

Rated: PG

Submitted June 2002

Summary: What if Lois didn't fall asleep on Clark during the episode "The Prankster"?

This was written as a birthday fic for Erin, which was May 30th, so hope she had a great day!

Many, many thank yous to my BRs, Jill, Lena & Wendy for doing this so quickly, and giving me lots of encouraging comments, and making me laugh out loud while reading them, too :) It's very much appreciated! And special thanks to my archive GE, Julie, for being so nice to work with.

Apologies to WB for stealing some of their lines, too. <g>

Set in the episode 'The Prankster'. What if Lois didn't fall asleep on Clark?


Clark lay on his sofa, thinking about the day they'd just gone through, and sighed. The Prankster was really starting to get to Lois, he could tell. While she hadn't let on much, he knew that she'd been shaken up by the Prankster's tricks. But, of course, she'd shaken it off and said she was fine. It was obvious to him that she wasn't. He wished that she'd talk to him more about it, and let him help to reassure her.

He considered going over to her apartment to see if she was all right, but dismissed the idea. Chances were she'd be angry with him for trying to intrude on her and insist that nothing was wrong anyway. He knew Lois well enough to know that she wouldn't tell him how she felt if he pestered her about it. He hoped that she would eventually talk to him, in her own time. Then he could make sure she was okay, instead of just having to take her word for it and say nothing.

He concentrated on the basketball spinning above his head and blew out more breath to make it go higher. Maybe it would take his mind off Lois, but he found himself unable to stop worrying about her. He couldn't bear to think she was in her apartment by herself, feeling scared and alone. And besides that, how could he be sure that the Prankster wouldn't try and do anything else to her? Was she safe on her own?

Suddenly, a knock came to the door, interrupting his thoughts. Letting the ball drop to the floor, he x-rayed the door, and to his surprise, saw Lois stood outside the door, a stack of videos and a pizza in her hands. As he reached for his glasses, he wondered if the Prankster had tried to do anything else to her, and rushed to the door.

She seemed fine, and on first glance didn't appear to be afraid or upset, although he had a feeling she was painting on a false smile for him.

"Lois, it's after eleven," he told her, his voice sleepy.

"I know," she started, speaking quickly. "I know it's late, I'm sorry. I had a sudden urge for pizza and a Mel Gibson movie. I know how much you like pizza and Lethal Weapon."

"Great, come in," he said, wondered exactly why she was here. He was pretty sure that she hadn't just 'got an urge' to come and watch a movie and eat pizza.

"So, what shall we start with? Lethal Weapon One, Lethal Weapon Two, or there's Three. It's sorta stupid at the beginning but it gets better," she babbled, her voice giving away the fact that she had come here because she was upset.

"Is something wrong?" he asked tentatively, wanting to comfort her.

"Does something have to be wrong for me to want to spend some time with a friend?" she snapped back, trying to seem as if she really had just come here to spend some friendly time with him, but the look in her eyes betrayed her.

"No, sorry. Lethal Weapon One would be great," he said, deciding to let it rest for now. It seemed that he was only going to make her angry by prying. And besides, she was much more likely to talk to him if he was understanding towards her discomfort, and didn't ask questions. It would no doubt help her if he let her have her own time to tell him what had happened.

With that, she took the video and inserted it into his VCR, and then moved in silence to sit next to Clark on the sofa. She moved closer to him until they were almost touching. The movie started to play quietly, but she wasn't paying much attention. It felt so much safer being with Clark, even if she hadn't told him that she needed to be this close to him. At least she'd be protected from any pranks that the Prankster might decide to play on her.

She admitted to herself that wasn't the only reason it felt good to be near Clark. It just felt… right to be near him, and instinctively, she snuggled in even closer to him. He looked down at her and she realised they'd been silent for a few minutes. Maybe now she should at least break the silence; after all, she was just moving in closer to him.

"This is really great. What are you doing tomorrow night?" she asked, hoping that he wouldn't ask her to elaborate and just say he was free.


Just as she was about to reply to his statement of her name, the telephone rang, startling her. She was reminded of earlier in her apartment, when the Prankster phoned her up, and she yelled out, "Clark, don't!"

He answered the phone, and Lois held her breath, hoping that it wasn't him again. What if he'd followed her to Clark's apartment?

"Hello?" Clark spoke down the phone. When no one replied, he shrugged his shoulders and hung up the phone.

"No one there," he told her. "Must have been a wrong number."

She forced a smile onto her lips. "Wrong number. No problem. Happens all the time in a big city like this, right?"

Clark was silent for a second, merely looking at her, before asking, "You want to tell me what happened?"

"Nothing happened," she told him, her voice lacking any conviction at all, and she knew she wasn't fooling him. "Well, nothing that important. Griffin called me."

Clark's eyes widened in surprise. "What? What did he say?" he asked her.

Not wanting to make Clark think she wasn't as tough as she made out, she tried her best to play down what had happened. "Oh, you know, the usual. Hi, how are you, long time no see. I'm gonna kill you…" she trailed off, her voice squeaking at the end of her sentence.

"Kill you?" Clark said, suddenly very worried about the safety of his best friend. "Have you called the police?"

"Clark, I'm a professional reporter. This isn't the first threat I've ever received. They…" she paused, trying to make herself sound more convincing, but knowing that she was failing miserably. "They never pan out."

"Maybe, but I'd feel better if you stayed here tonight," he told her softly.

"Oh…" she started, pleased that Clark had asked her to stay. She didn't feel at all comfortable on her own and wanted to be with him. She knew that he'd protect her, and also not think her a coward for not wanting to be on her own. Covering for herself seemed to be a waste of time, because he already knew by now she wasn't there to watch videos. But it seemed stupid to her to just stop trying to cover for herself, so she continued. "Well, if it would make you feel better, then I guess I…"

"Gee, don't let me twist your arm," Clark said, with a small grin on his face.

Suddenly, she felt bad about trying to cover up how she was feeling. He'd been kind enough to offer to let her stay for the night, and she was still not being truthful with him. Deciding that she had to be honest, she looked at him, and spoke quietly, "Clark, I don't wanna die!"

The frightened look in her eyes shocked him, and he felt an urge to comfort her and protect her. He hated Griffin for what he was doing to her. He certainly knew that Lois wasn't the type of person who would be scared this easily, and the fact that this man was doing just that to her, without a second thought made his blood boil.

"Lois, I would not let that happen," he told her, wishing that he could tell her that whenever she was around him, he would protect her without fail. But there was no way of letting her know that without telling her that he was Superman. And however much he wanted her to know she was safe right now, he didn't want to tell her yet. It would only serve the purpose of making her upset with him, and maybe even leaving to go back to her apartment and spend the night alone, which certainly wasn't what he wanted.

He saw Lois giving him a nervous smile in reply to what he'd said, and felt her tuck herself into his outstretched arm. Gently, he moved his arm so that he was hugging her towards him, and was pleased when she made no move to pull herself back out of the close position.

Lois suddenly felt nervous that they weren't saying anything, and pointed to the television, where the movie was playing to itself. "You know, Mel Gibson is really funny in these movies," she said with a yawn.

"He plays a great wild man," Clark replied. "Sometimes I think, maybe I should be more of a wild man myself. Jimmy even suggested that I wear an earring, but it's not really me, I…"

He looked over at her, and realised she wasn't saying anything to him. He saw her looking up at him, a bemused look on her face. "You, an earring?" she asked, giggling.

"Hey, it wasn't my idea!" he told her, laughing. "And anyway… you think I couldn't pull off an earring?"

"It's not really you, Clark!" she exclaimed.

"Well, I suppose I have to agree with you," he grinned.

She smiled back and they continued to watch some more of the movie in silence, occasionally making remarks to the characters in the movie, or making the odd comment to each other. After all the pizza was gone, Lois started to yawn more frequently, prompting Clark to remember to ask whether she wanted to go to bed. It was past midnight, after all, and they had to go to work tomorrow. It had already been a long day for Lois.

"Lois, you look tired. I think we should turn the movie off and get some sleep before we have to work tomorrow," he suggested.

For a fleeting moment, he thought he saw a look of disappointment cross her face, but dismissed the idea, as there was no reason for her to be disappointed. Unless she wanted to be near him, and not just in the same apartment as him? It seemed like a crazy idea, but maybe it was true.

"Do we have to?" she asked quietly, and then remembered herself. "I mean… don't you want to finish the movie?"

"We've seen it before, Lois," he told her; definitely noticing the disappointed look this time. "But, if you like, we could just talk for a while?" he added, not wanting to hurt her feelings.

She smiled up at him, her eyes showing gratefulness. "I'd like that, Clark."

She involuntarily shivered, causing Clark to realise she must be cold. She hadn't come over in the warmest of clothing, and now her arms were bare. He stood up, deciding to get a blanket to cover the two of them

"Where are you going, Clark?" she asked.

"Just to get a blanket for us, Lois. You seem cold."

"Okay," she replied softly.

His worry for her began to grown even more. She seemed even more shaken up than he'd originally thought. He would only be gone less than a minute, and yet even that seemed to upset her! It felt strange that she wanted to be this close to him. He'd comforted her before, but normally she would try to play down her worries and fears, and not let him in. Now, she was revealing her weaker side to him.

He felt both honoured and concerned that she was allowing him to see past her protective walls and into her soul. She obviously wanted him to be this close to her, otherwise she wouldn't have come to his apartment, not bothered by how uncomfortable her night of sleep would be on his sofa, just wanting to be near him.

He'd already decided he was going to offer her his bed to sleep in for the night, and he would sleep on the sofa. However, she seemed to want to be nearer than that. What would she say if he asked her to sleep in his bed tonight, and let him hold her, and make her feel safe and protected from the world? It was as near to each other as they could get.

But would that scare her off? Would she think he was trying to force more on her than friendship when she was vulnerable? Was that a chance he was willing to take? Of course, there was every chance that she'd be grateful for the offer and take him up on it.

Suddenly, he became aware he was standing there staring at Lois, and had made no move to go and get a blanket. She was looking at him with a curious look on her face, and he decided that he should just go ahead and ask her. But how could he just come out with that sort of question, without making it seem like he wanted something sexual from her?

Slowly, he sat back down on the sofa, and gently took one of her delicate hands in his own. "Lois…" he began.

"Don't leave me, Clark," she interrupted, looking deep into his eyes, pleading with him.

Her small voice tore at his heart, and again he felt anger for Griffin. He squeezed her hand tighter. "I'm not going to leave you, Lois. It's okay, you're safe here with me!"

He pulled her in close to him and hugged her, trying to reassure her that she was okay. "I'm sorry, Clark. I don't know what's wrong with me!" she exclaimed through the tears that had formed.

"It's okay, Lois!" he told her, cradling her as she cried. "It's not your fault. Don't worry, we'll get Griffin back behind bars soon."

"I know. It's just until we do… I'm scared of what he's going to try and do to me, Clark!" she told him, raising her head from his shoulder to look at him.

"I'm going to be there for you, Lois. You don't have to worry about him! You'll be safe with me," her said to her soothingly, wishing she could believe that.

"That's so sweet, Clark, but you're just as vulnerable as me! How do I know he won't come after you too? What if he tries to harm you?" she asked, tears flowing down her face again.

"I promise you, Lois, he won't hurt me," he said, still keeping her in his fierce hug.

She fell silent and buried her head into his chest. As he felt her sobs subside, he glanced at the clock and saw it was almost 1am. She had to get some sleep now, if she was going to be fit for working in just a few hours.

"Lois, I think you should get some rest now," he told her, pulling her up to a sitting position on the sofa.

She thought for a while. She knew Clark was going to offer his bed to her, because that was the kind of person he was. But did she want to be sleeping in that big bed on her own? The answer sprung to mind immediately. No! He'd already told her that he'd stay with her… so what would he say if she asked him to stay with her in the bed? It would be so nice to fall asleep with him. She needed the closeness of him being next to her. Just his form next to her, and his soft breathing would soothe her and relax her, she was sure.

"Okay," she said, not daring to ask him to stay with her through the night.

"Lois…" he began, taking a deep breath. "Would it make you feel better if we shared my bed so I could hold you?"

Lois smiled at him, hardly believing he'd been thinking the same thing as her. "Oh, Clark… you have no idea how much I wanted to ask you that!" she revealed.

"Well, I said that I wouldn't leave you. And I won't. I'm sure it'll make both of us feel better if we stay together tonight," he told her.

Lois just nodded and stood up, holding her hand out to Clark. He took it, and they walked over towards his bedroom.

Once inside, Lois felt a tiny bit apprehensive, but was reassured instantly when he asked her which side of the bed she wanted. Always the gentleman.

"I'll have either," she told him, smiling softly. "Um… have you got anything that I could wear?"

Clark pointed to one of his drawers and climbed into the bed with the clothes he'd been wearing that evening still in place. Probably so he didn't have to leave her to go and change, she mused, and once again, like many times before that night, she found herself thinking just how caring and sweet Clark was. The bestest best friend she'd ever had. The only best friend she'd ever had.

Quickly, she took a t-shirt and sweat pants out of Clark's drawer and prepared to change, before remembering that Clark would be watching her. Blushing slightly, she took the change of clothes into Clark's bathroom, yawning all the way.

Moments later, she re-emerged to find Clark already on his way to sleep, and she felt a sudden pang of guilt for keeping him awake so late at night. He was smiling at her, and she noticed how adorable he was. His hair was drooped over his forehead, and his eyes were starting to look sleepy. She mused she'd never seen him looking so cute.

Quickly, she got into the other side of the bed and turned out the light, taking the room into dimness, with only a soft light coming through the window. It felt much nicer that way. They looked at each other in silence for a minute or so before Lois spoke.

"Good night, Clark," she said, and added with a whisper, "Thank you,"

"Night, Lois," he said back to her, wondering what she'd do if he planted a tiny kiss on her lips.

As if she read his mind, her lips parted ever so slightly, and he leaned over to kiss her. It was a brief kiss, but it felt wonderful to the both of them. Clark smiled at her, and the expression was mirrored back to him on her face.

Slowly, he put his arms around her and pulled her body close to his, into yet another soothing hug, and this time, there was something more to it than just comfort and friendship. And it felt good.

They continued to hug throughout the early hours of the morning, occasionally exchanging quiet murmurs, and thoroughly enjoying the closeness they were sharing, until they finally fell into a comfortable sleep, filled with dreams of what would happen between them in the weeks to come.