By Alicia U. <firstname.lastname@example.org> and rivka <rivka@UCLAlumni.net>
Submitted: July 2003
Notes: This story was a response to the 'Challenging Challenges' challenge (http://www.lcficmbs.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f =3;t=000062) on the Lois and Clark Fanfic Message Boards. (http://www.lcficmbs.com/)
It had been a lovely end to a hectic day. A romantic dinner, a stroll through Centennial Park, and the night was still young. As Lois thought about her plans for the evening, she felt a large, conspiratorial grin spread across her face. If everything went as planned, dinner would be only the beginning of what was shaping up to be memorable night. Lois idly poked at the fire she had just started. The fire's glow and lowered lights lent a romantic atmosphere to the living room. Today was her first Valentine's Day married to Clark, and she intended to make the most of it.
Behind her, she heard the pop of a cork and the familiar sound of her husband's footsteps. Lois hastily put the poker back on its hook, and turned to smile at Clark. He juggled a wine bottle and two glasses, carefully placing them on the low coffee table. She noticed he had already shed his jacket and tie. He rubbed the bridge of his nose, and removed his glasses and slipped off his shoes.
Clark smiled back at his lovely wife, and noticed that she was still fully dressed. She hadn't even removed her shoes. Maybe it wasn't appropriate to call wearing *that* dress 'fully dressed'! He had been absolutely drooling from the moment he saw her in the long, black, shimmering, clingy dress with its short, fitted black velvet jacket. It was cut down to *there* and slit up all the way to *there*, leaving little to the imagination. Clark was sure Lois had selected it carefully, knowing precisely the effect it would have on him. For what seemed like the hundredth time tonight, he allowed his eyes to trail up and down her body appreciatively, before deliberately turning his attention back to pouring the wine.
If he was going to stay sane throughout whatever game she had planned, he would have to make sure his attention was distracted elsewhere. Wine, yes, the wine was a safe subject. "I thought a nice Cabernet would be about right for cards."
"Hmm, yeah," Lois said. She really didn't care what wine they were drinking. There were many other, more important things on her mind — like finding the deck of Uno cards.
Clark turned towards his wife, but had to look away. The way she was stretching up to the top shelf exposed even more of her long legs. He gulped audibly. It took all of his willpower to carry on a conversation, suppressing the almost overpowering urge to ravage her on the spot. Yes, she had definitely chosen this outfit deliberately — it distracted his attention enough for him not to care about winning *whatever* game they might be playing. When Clark found his voice, he asked, "What did you say we were playing? 'Strip *Uno*'?" He'd never heard of 'Strip Uno' before, but he was always ready to try almost anything Lois suggested. He slowly eased himself to the floor and took a sip of his wine.
Lois had been hunting for the Uno cards on the game shelf, and she finally grabbed the large deck. Triumphant, she waved it over hear head. "Found the cards!" She walked over to Clark, smiling seductively. "Yeah, 'Strip Uno.' It was online. You did say I should come up with something fun and different for Valentine's Day." She leaned in to plant a soft kiss on her husband's lips as she sat down across from him. "A special game for an extra-special night."
Clark placed a glass of wine on the table, just out of Lois' reach. When she reached out to take it, he captured her hand in his, and began trailing kisses up her arm. After a moment, Lois twisted away, laughing. "Later, Clark."
He looked at her, eyes pleading. "Is that a promise?" he asked huskily.
"Mmm hmm." Lois nodded slowly, batting her eyelashes seductively. Then her expression changed and she grinned at him. "But first I get to beat you at cards!"
Conceding defeat, for now at least, Clark sat back and let Lois deal him three cards. "Just three?" At her nod, he shrugged. Since Lois didn't seem to be forthcoming with the rules, Clark tried to gently guide her into explaining them. "Who's going first?"
Instead of answering the question, Lois put her first card, a red 5, down on the deck. "Uno!" Lois exclaimed as she put her second card, a blue 5 on the pile. "Let's see some skin, Kent!"
Clark rolled his eyes. It wasn't as if he hadn't figured he would probably lose. He usually did when he played games with Lois, but he hadn't expected to start losing so *quickly*, before he even knew the rules, or had a chance to play any cards!
"But this isn't fair, honey, you're wearing more clothes than I am." She was wearing three more articles of clothing than he was! He was really stupid for taking off his tie, jacket, and shoes! Wait, hadn't Lois suggested he get more comfortable? "I'm not wearing nylons…"
"I'd sure hope *not*!" Lois exclaimed.
He rolled his eyes and continued, "Or shoes, or a jacket, so maybe you should take them off to make it fair."
Lois shrugged when she said, "Yes but you *are* wearing the Suit. That should count for at least three different items."
"No I'm not! I took it off. Superman is taking Valentine's Day off, for a romantic evening of 'Strip Uno' with his wife." He looked at her pleadingly. "So, come on, make it fair. I'm just wearing my boxers under my clothes." He unbuttoned a few shirt buttons, showing her his bare skin.
"That's your own fault, Clark." Lois shook her head slowly, as if she hadn't guessed that Clark wouldn't wear the 'Suit.'
"But the 'Suit' is so hard to take off," he argued.
"But you can do it in 5 seconds," Lois objected. "It is *not* hard for you to take it off."
"Well, I was hoping *you* would help me, with whatever I was wearing." He gazed at her hopefully.
Lois laughed. "I see." She smiled oh-so-sweetly at Clark. "Well, you *will* be taking off your clothes. There's no question about that. I'm glad you're thinking ahead. But judging by how well you're doing so far, you won't need *my* help."
Conceding defeat, Clark tried another tactic. "I don't understand, honey." He shook his head incredulously. "It makes no sense. We only get three cards to start, but you got to go first and you had two fives. And you win when you have Uno, not when all of your cards are gone? I've never played Uno like this before."
"We've never played 'Strip Uno' before, Clark." Lois said matter-of-factly. "The rules are different."
"I still don't think we're playing right." Clark shook his head woefully. "I didn't even get a chance to play any of my cards!"
"It's all in the rules, honey." Lois knew he wasn't really angry, but this was a script they often followed. He would accuse her of cheating, she would deny it, they would keep playing, she would cheat, and then she would win. It always worked out that way. She did anything to win — even accused *him* of cheating.
"Where did you find these rules?" Clark was having difficulty believing that these were real rules. They just couldn't be. He was fairly sure she had invented this game for tonight — a game that she was sure to win.
She flashed a piece of paper with two hand-written lines and said, "On a Valentine's Day web site. 'Spice up your love life.' Come on, Clark, I'll go easy on you. Just take off one of your socks," she said, tugging on his right sock for emphasis.
Clark pulled the sock off the rest of the way and flung it at Lois. "Hey!" she objected. "You're just supposed to take them off. The rules say *nothing* about throwing them."
"Oh, yeah? Let me see those rules. Who's ever heard of 'Strip Uno'?" He reached out to grab the rules from her hands.
She sat back just out of his reach and said, "Apparently, a lot of people. The site had over 10,000 hits, according to that little counter thing on the bottom. Plus, you're the one who claimed I cheat at strip poker! I thought it would be a nice change."
"Well, yeah, I said I wanted variety, but by variety I meant …" He shook his head woefully as he muttered, "I still think you made this game up."
"I heard that, Clark! You're just upset because you're losing."
"I am *not* losing! Let me see those rules." He grabbed them out of her hand as she protested.
"Hey, no, it's my game! I'm the ref and I make the rules." She realized her mistake, and quickly amended, "I mean decisions; I make the decisions. And I say take your sock off!"
"Can't you at least let me see the rules?" He decided to ignore her comment about making the rules. After all, he'd known *that* all along. But even though he had accepted that Lois had made them up, he couldn't believe what he was reading. His jaw dropped. "'Clark takes off all his clothes. Lois wins.' *Those* are the rules?"
"Those aren't the *only* rules. They're my 'house rules.' Every Uno game must follow the house rules. It's a *rule*. Look at the other side of the paper."
Clark flipped the paper and saw a page of notes in Lois' scrawled handwriting.
Lois tapped the paper. "See, *these* are the rules. But see, right there, where it says everyone must follow house rules? The house rules are on the other side."
"You made this game up."
"No I didn't! It's really on the Internet. We didn't have any ink in the printer, so I had to write the rules down. Do I have to show you?"
"Yes!" He exclaimed and grabbed Lois' laptop from the other end of the coffee table. "I want you to show me these so-called rules."
"Fine! I will!" As the web page loaded, she smirked at him. "I should make you take off your shirt for challenging me."
"Fine, if these are the real rules, I'll take off my shirt."
When the web page came up, she read it aloud. "Strip Uno, the fool-proof game for adult fun." She grinned at him when she said, "See, I told you! It's just like traditional seven-card Uno, but each player starts off with only three cards to make the game go faster. Whenever someone yells 'Uno,' the other players must take off one article of clothing. However, if a player has a wild card, he or she may use it to make another player take off an article of clothing of their choosing."
Clark scanned the page incredulously. "It's a real game. I don't believe it. Are you sure you didn't create this web page?"
Lois rolled her eyes and said, "Clark, do you *think* I know how to make web pages? I just learned how to use my email!"
"Liar! You used email before I did. And maybe Jimmy was in on this, too. Yeah! I knew it."
Lois rolled her eyes as she tugged on his shirt and started to unbutton the bottom buttons. "You lose, Clark, take off that shirt!"
Clark groaned. He was losing more quickly than he ever had before. Strip poker was looking better and better by the second. Begrudgingly, he finished unbuttoning his shirt and shrugged out of it revealing his delectable, bare chest. Watching Lois' tongue dart out and wet her lips, he realized that losing so quickly wasn't such a bad thing, after all. The sooner this game ended, the sooner they could move on to their … other plans.
With newfound enthusiasm, Clark picked up the deck of cards and dealt a new hand. "Okay, let's get this game going again."
All too quickly, Clark found himself wearing only his boxers. They were black silk, with tiny red hearts, and he had picked them out specifically for today. He caught Lois, still fully clad, eying them surreptitiously. The game would be over before he knew it! Then they'd be on to the good stuff he'd been waiting for all day.
Lois grinned at her utter brilliance. After playing just three hands, Clark was in 'check,' wearing just his boxers. She wanted to make it 'check mate'! She reached out to deal the next hand, the 'victory hand,' as she intended to call it. She was distracted by the wide, rippling expanse of Clark's chest. She couldn't stop her eyes from tracing a path across his well-defined pecs, down his six-pack abs …
"Honey, are you going to deal?" Clark asked, noticing that Lois had stopped celebrating her latest victory, but still hadn't picked up the cards. It looked like she was … distracted.
Maybe Lois' traditional victory celebration, something Clark definitely enjoyed, and the ultimate reward of losing to Lois, could come early tonight. Right now, he was considering conceding defeat. And judging from the way she was ogling him, he was sure she wouldn't object.
When it didn't appear that Lois was going to answer him, he decided to get her attention another way. He leaned over the deck of cards, spilling the pile. He grabbed her and pulled her close, trailing soft kisses down her neck. Mmm, she tasted so good …
"Clark!" Lois exclaimed in surprise. She had been staring at his yummy chest, but suddenly it was a whole lot closer. And *something* was sucking on her neck. "What are you doing?"
Clark leaned back, still holding her close. He winked. "I found it on the Internet."
Lois raised her eyebrows. "You found sucking my neck on the Internet?"
"Hey, you found 'Strip Uno' on the Internet. I can't find new things there?" He shrugged. She wasn't the only one surfing the net for new and exciting Valentine's Day activities.
"What site did you find this on, because it is *not* fun." It felt like a high-powered vacuum was attacking her neck. It wasn't fair. She could suck on *his* neck for hours and he wouldn't have to worry about embarrassing hickeys, but if he sucked on her neck for more than a few seconds, she'd probably be covered in them.
"Oh, you know, I got a link to it in my email and it looked interesting." He grinned wickedly. "So I thought I'd try it."
In his email? Junk email? What kind of email gave ideas about kissing techniques? "Was it porn, Clark?" she accused.
Defensively, he said, "No, no, www.vampirekisses.com. It was a link in an email with vampire jokes." He laughed to himself before he continued, "Like 'What do you call it when a vampire kisses you?'"
"I don't know." Lois wasn't sure if she really wanted to hear the answer. Sometimes Clark had a very weird sense of humor.
"Necking." He laughed loudly, not really at the joke, but at the expression on Lois' face. She was obviously *not* impressed.
Lois groaned. "That isn't funny."
Clark decided to go back to 'necking' and leaned down to press his lips against the smooth, inviting, ivory skin of Lois' neck. "Mmmm, delicious," he murmured when he lifted his lips.
"More vampire kisses?" Lois groaned. It wasn't that the kisses didn't feel good, quite the opposite, actually. She didn't want to lose control and his lips on her neck were making her crazy. If she wanted to continue the card game, she had to change the subject quickly. "You are *not* a vampire, Kent!" Lois jumped up, grabbed the poker from the fireplace, and waved it threateningly. "I have a stake, and I'm not afraid to use it!"
Clark raised his eyebrows and looked at her questioningly. Yes, she had successfully killed the mood he had been trying to set. He decided to play along. "Stake, Lois? But I'm a Super-Vampire. It won't hurt me unless it's made of silver! Or maybe a garlic-covered *steak*?" He grinned at his wife, who looked distinctly unamused.
She reached back and put the poker back in its place, not amused by his joke. The mention of steak reminded her of dinner and she found herself grinning again. "Dinner was fun, wasn't it? You chose a really nice place. But *I* was supposed to pick tonight's game, so let's get back to it. No more delaying the inevitable! You're going to lose — and lose quickly." Lois wouldn't let a little thing like being distracted by her husband's smooth, muscular chest get in tthe way of victory.
She started to deal the cards, but paused when she laid eyes on his bare chest again. No, she just wouldn't look at him. What she needed was a minute to collect herself. Her focus was completely shattered. "You know what?" She stood up hastily. "This talk about food is actually making me a little hungry." Almost as an afterthought, she added, "Do you want anything?"
"I vant to suck you blahd." Clark tried to grab her and steal a kiss, but Lois ducked away, laughing, as she headed for the kitchen.
"No more 'vampire kisses', Dracula." She laughed again despite herself. "Maybe I'll just eat a whole garlic clove." Grinning, she sauntered into the kitchen.
Clark watched his wife disappear through the kitchen door. His expediting tactics had not worked. He should have known better. Lois obviously had something big planned for when he lost. She was right. He *had* picked the restaurant and it *had* been her responsibility to pick the game. Maybe it would be better if he just sat back and watched.
As Clark waited restlessly for Lois to return, he wandered over to the desk. He began to sift through the large stack of unopened letters. He hadn't had a chance to look at the mail in a few days. Long hours at the Planet and too many Superman emergencies had kept him extremely busy.
He idly flipped through the envelopes and muttered, "Water bill, electric bill, Visa bill, letter from Aunt Gail. Wait, letter from Aunt Gail? Oh no!" Clark eyed the very bright purple envelope — complete with elaborate gold lettering — with trepidation. How had he missed this? The last time he had received a letteer from Aunt Gail, it was to announce she was coming for a visit. "Hey, honey?"
"What is it, Clark?" Lois called back from the kitchen. "Getting ready to lose another hand?"
He grabbed the letter and started to walk towards the kitchen, still staring at it in disbelief. "Did this come today?"
"Did *what* come today?" They'd gotten a lot of mail. Did he mean a package, a letter, the newspaper? She didn't have x-ray vision, so she had no idea what he was talking about.
Clark stopped next to her and tossed the letter on the table, still shocked that he'd missed it. Lois would have had no way of knowing what it was. *He* should have known better. "This."
Lois turned around with two kiwi halves in one hand, and a spoon in the other. "Oh, *that*, hmm, I think it came a couple of days ago. Maybe yesterday." Why did Clark look so stunned? She had seen the odd letter, but had assumed it was some sort of advertisement, or a perhaps one of those tiresome death threats. She shrugged. "It isn't important, is it? I mean, it's in a purple envelope and I didn't recognize the name. I thought it was just junk mail so I ignored it. Plus, I don't know any Lt. B.G. Robinson and I've never heard of Enterprise. I was going to ask you about it, but I must have forgotten."
Quickly, Clark said, "Oh no, honey, I should have warned you about her." He sighed deeply. "It's Bronwyn Gail, actually. Lieutenant Bronwyn Gail Robinson." He sighed again.
"Oh, so you know her?" Lois asked, raising her eyebrows questioningly.
"I know it's, well, unusual, Lois, but she's my mom's weird aunt." At Lois' blank look, Clark explained, "You remember. Mom's Aunt Gail. You know, the one who gave us that unusual sculpture, that wedding present we put away somewhere? Well, she lives in Enterprise, but she thinks she lives *on* the Enterprise."
"She is lives where? Enterprise? Is that in Kansas?"
"Well, actually, yes, it is."
"Oh, okay, so Enterprise *is* in Kansas? I thought you were just making that up." Now Lois was really confused.
"Yeah it's right off Interstate 70, maybe 50 miles from Smallville." He shrugged and continued, "I mean, according to my mom, she was always a little different, but when she moved to Enterprise, she got really … strange." 'Strange' was definitely putting it lightly.
Lois picked up the envelope and examined the return address again. "But this envelope doesn't say Enterprise, KS, it says *the* Enterprise. Is that the only Enterprise in the US or something?"
"See, I *told* you she's a little … odd. She lives in Enterprise, Kansas … but the thing is, she thinks she lives *on* the Enterprise."
"What is *the* Enterprise? I've never heard of it." It did sound oddly familiar, but Lois could not place it.
"You, know, like in Star Trek?" When he saw her blank stare, he continued, "The Starship Enterprise?"
Lois nodded. Now she remembered. "Oh, right, Star Trek, that movie with the cute grizzly bear."
"Grizzly bear?" Clark raised his eyebrows. There weren't any grizzly bears in Star Trek, were there? He wasn't exactly a Trekkie, but he had been forced to watch several episodes.
"Right, what *is* his name?" She shook her head, trying to stir the memory. "He's tall and fuzzy." She tapped Clark on the shoulder, hoping he would jump in with the answer. "You know the movie. It has all those robots with a lot of numbers and letters, and that funny-sounding guy, Dark Nader. You know, 'Duke, I am you father.'"
"Dark Nader?" What did she mean? Robots with lots of numbers and letters? Then he figured out what she must be referring to. "Oh, you mean *Darth Vader*. And he was *Luke*'s father. That's Star *Wars*. I'm talking about Star *Trek*. You know, the Starship Enterprise? Vulcans? Tribbles?"
"Oh, Tribbles, aren't they those cute little … oh *that* Enterprise!" Clark's Aunt Gail thought she was a character on a TV show?
Deciding a change of subject was necessary, Clark opened the letter. He looked more and more unhappy as he read it aloud.
*Transporter Chief's Log, Star Date -326084.47
New orders received from Admiral M Kent. I am to arrive at 348 Hyperion Avenue, Metropolis, New Troy, United States of America, Earth, Sol System, Sagittarian Arm, Milky Way, Alpha Quadrant no later than Stardate -326122.83. My orders are to search for intelligent life at that location. Return to Enterprise by Stardate -326128.31.*
"Oh no, she's coming!" groaned Clark.
"She is?" How did he get that from the gibberish he had just read? "When?"
"Well, she didn't use regular dates." He showed the letter to Lois, pointing. "But my mom told me how to convert Stardates into our calendar … Aunt Gail always uses Stardates, so we learned how." Clark pondered for a moment. "It says she wrote this two weeks ago! Oh no! Just how long have we had this letter sitting here?"
Lois looked a little guilty, but ignored his question in favor a more pressing one. "But when does it say she'll be here?"
Clark did another quick calculation. He raised his eyebrows in horror. "Tomorrow night! At 8 o'clock. Lois! What if I hadn't seen this letter just now? What if she'd just shown up, and we weren't expecting her?" He tried not to panic. Aunt Gail was very … strange. He was never sure *how* to prepare for her, but he always tried.
Lois was unconcerned. "What if she did? Do we need to crazy-proof the house before she comes or something?" She shrugged.
Clark fought a grin. "No, Lois, but we do need to find that statue. If I know Aunt Gail, she'll be very upset if we aren't displaying it. She might even try to use it as an excuse to stay *longer*! Where did we put it?"
"But, Clark, it was *awful*! It's a statue of … of … *ET* or something, made of some sort of purple rock with yellow polka dots! I don't even know how anyone could *make* something like that or how someone could *buy* it. It was so *bright*, so garish, so horribly *ugly*! I don't even like having it in our house, let alone in our living room! It gave me the creeps!"
"Lo-is. It was NOT that bad. It was just… colorful." Probably in Aunt Gail's mind, it was the most beautiful, prized stone in the world. She would be devastated if she arrived and her favorite, okay, *only*, grandnephew wasn't displaying her precious gift.
"Clark, didn't you hear me? It was *purple*! With yellow *polka dots*! And it looked like *ET*!" She knew Clark was giving his aunt the benefit of the doubt. He was just so sweet, so *Clark*, but oh, that THING! Lois shuddered in remembered horror.
Clark sighed, not wanting to argue. "Just tell me where it is, Lois, so we can put it out and get back to our game." Recognizing the mulish look in her eyes, Clark changed tactics. "You know what? Don't tell me. I bet I can find it all by myself."
Clark lowered his glasses, and scanned the room, concentrating on the closet. Nope, not there. He gazed up, and through the ceiling above them. Now, where would Lois have hidden it? Aha! It was right there, way in the back of the guest bedroom closet, behind all those never- unpacked boxes. At superspeed, he zipped up the stairs and back down, statue in his hands. "Aw, Lois, he's kind of cute. With that pug nose and that pudgy belly …"
Lois stared at him in disbelief. "Maybe the Lieutenant isn't the only wacko in your family," she said under her breath. She lowered herself to the floor and straightened the strewn cards back into a neat pile.
As Lois dealt the cards for the next, most likely final, round, Clark quickly set the 'statue' on the center of the coffee table and took his place on the floor.
"I don't believe it!" Lois exclaimed as she looked at her cards. "I don't have anything." She started picking cards off the pile of facedown cards, not finding one to play until the ninth one she drew. Her frown grew. She put the single card down. To her annoyance, she had no other card to play. "I guess it's your turn," she said begrudgingly.
Clark raised his eyebrows, surprised. He hadn't gotten the chance to play a card before now, and he almost wasn't sure how to play. Two of the three cards in his hand were red, and the top card on the pile was also red. "Uno!" Clark exclaimed. He was shocked, staring for a moment at the one card he had left. "Uno, Uno, Uno!" he yelled as he waved the card in front of her face. "Goodbye, shoes!"
As Lois angrily removed her right shoe, she muttered, "Right shoe. Not shoes, plural. You were just lucky. Don't think it'll happen again." Then she reached over to deal.
She was wrong. The improbable happened again. Now she had lost both shoes, and was precariously close to losing her nylons — not to mention her temper. She eyed her five cards, Clark's two cards, and then the long-forgotten kiwi. She was *not* going to lose!
Clark put his second-to-last card onto the deck, and exclaimed, "I won! I won again!" Then he realized that he had forgotten one of the main rules of the game. "UNO!"
Lois looked at his one card in disbelief. "You didn't win! You couldn't have won *three* in a row!"
"Why not? Because you're cheating? Come on! Goodbye nylons!" As Lois reluctantly began to pull her nylons off, Clark got into the spirit of his new winning ways. "Lo-o- is lo-ost, Lo-o-is lo-ost," he taunted in a very off key chant. He stood up and started waving around his one card near Lois' head. "Uno, uno, un-o!"
Clark was being ridiculous! And he *never* gloated like that. Lois couldn't believe he was rubbing his wins in her face. She grabbed her uneaten kiwi from the floor and stood up. When Clark stopped dancing to look at her, she raised her right arm and smashed the kiwi into his face.
The sweet, sticky, green kiwi juice ran down his face, as Clark tried to figure out what had just happened.
"Oh my god, I am so sorry, Clark!" Lois exclaimed. She dropped the kiwi, not quite believing what she had done. She watched the juices run down his face, dripping onto his chest. "Can I help you?"
Still stunned, Clark wasn't sure what to say. He stared at the sticky juice in disbelief.
Lois took the paper towel the kiwi had been wrapped in and said, "Here, let me." Gently, she use it to wipe off the dripping juice, first from Clark's chest, then moving up to stroke his face.
Swallowing hard, Clark took the towel from her, going over the spots she had missed. Finally, he looked away, breaking eye contact. He gazed at the strange statue. The tides had turned in his favor as soon as he had brought the odd-looking rock down. "I think I just found something very valuable."
"What?" Aww, that was so sweet. She knew what he was going to say. He was so sweet! Of course he was going to tell her that she was the something valuable. Then she would tell him that *he* was the valuable thing she had been waiting for all *her* life.
"This!" he exclaimed as he picked up the sculpture. Then he settled back onto the floor, the statue next to him. "Here Kiwi, come sit by me, where you can see my cards." He patted the top of the figure's head as though petting a dog. "Good Kiwi!"
"Kiwi, Clark?" Lois shook her head, still not exactly sure what he was talking about. That horrible, gaudy statue was his idea of something valuable? "And you named it? After a *fruit*?"
Ignoring Lois, Clark turned his attention to his new pet. "Come on, Kiwi, let me rub your belly for luck." Looking at Lois while rubbing the statue's round belly, he said, "I need all the luck I can get to beat you, honey. Kiwi makes me lucky *and* I hope he makes me *get* lucky, too!" He grabbed three cards off the deck for himself and gave the next three cards to Lois. Without waiting for her to make a move, Clark put two of his cards onto the discard pile. "Kiwi!" He exclaimed. Then he shook his head to clear his mind. "I mean, Uno!" He picked up 'Kiwi' and started to dance with it. "U-no! U-no! Good-bye jack-et! Good-bye jack-et!" he chanted as he gyrated obscenely with the statue.
Lois shook her head. Something was wrong with this picture. Clark was *dancing* with that horrible ET statue. He had *named* it. None of it made sense. The worst thing was that she had lost three, no four, hands in a row. This had to be a dream, didn't it? It was way too outlandish to be real!
Eventually Clark settled down. Lois shrugged out of her jacket, and dealt the cards again. This time Lois watched her husband very closely. Suddenly, she gasped with shock and anger, as she realized just *how* Clark had been winning. "Clark! I *knew* you were cheating!"
"Cheating?" Clark asked innocently. Or at least, he tried to ask. The word came out rather garbled, since his mouth was full.
"You're *eating* the cards! You didn't expect me to see that?" Lois just stared at Clark. She had seen him do some odd things on occasion, but eating *cards*?
"But Kiwi told me to do it," he protested. What was wrong with eating the cards? They tasted really good — like kiwi fruit! He sucked the card into his mouth and chewed. "Tasty! Wanna try one?"
Lois was speechless. He didn't see anything *wrong* with eating the deck of Uno cards? *What* was going on? Before Lois had a chance to ponder that question, there was a sharp knock on the door. "Oh, no!" Lois exclaimed. "Who could that be at *this* hour on *Valentine's Day*?" Couldn't they ever have an uninterrupted night alone?
"Ooh, Jimmy, I bet it's Jimmy! Jimmy's my friend!" He grabbed 'Kiwi' again, and twirled around with it. "I bet he wants to meet Kiwi! Kiwi's my friend!"
"Clark!" Lois exclaimed. "Even if it *is* Jimmy, I hope you drop this crazy bit. And put some clothes on!" What was wrong with Clark? He'd taken this crazy Kiwi bit way too far. It was no longer even bordering on amusing.
"Yes, honey!" Clark nodded obediently. As Lois went to the door, Clark grabbed a handful of clothes from the floor, and dove behind the ficus tree in the corner of the room.
Before opening the door, Lois gazed through the peephole. She saw a short woman, dressed in a vaguely military- looking jumpsuit. It was black and mustard yellow, with a strange emblem on the chest. The oddly-dressed woman was carrying a huge bouquet of red and yellow balloons. "Oh my god, that must be Aunt Gail," Lois muttered. No one else could possibly look that silly — and that much like Martha — at the same time. She took a fortifying breath, and opened the door. But Clark said she wasnn't coming until *tomorrow*! Clark had obviously been wrong. Stupid stardates. Who actually knew how to read them? Even Clark, who could order dinner in 347 languages, couldn't even figure the crazy things out.
Lois opened the door hesitantly, unsure *what* to expect. Except for the costume and the balloons, Aunt Gail didn't *look* too strange — but looks could be deceiving. Who brought hundreds of balloons as a gift when they visited? And just two colors — red annd yellow? Maybe they were from her home planet.
"I am Lieutenant B.G. Robinson," the woman introduced herself. "You are Commander L.J. Lane, I presume. I believe you received a communiqu‚ regarding my arrival. May I have permission to come aboard?"
She wanted *what*? Somewhat dazed, Lois managed to say, "Sure, come on in." The 'Lieutenant' stayed in the doorway, standing at attention. Why wasn't she coming in? Had she not heard her? Groaning silently to herself, Lois tried again, "Permission granted, Lieutenant." Thankfully, that did the trick. Posture now relaxed, Clark's aunt followed Lois in. Looking around the living room, Lois wondered where her husband had gone. He couldn't have just disappeared. A movement over in the corner caught her eye.
"These are for you, Commander, from our exploratory mission of the planet Gorlok." Aunt Gail thrust the ribbons from two of the balloons into Lois' hand, allowing the others to float up to the ceiling. "They come in peace."
At a loss, Lois found herself saying, "Thank you, Lieutenant." She wanted to tell the crazy lady to call her 'Lois', but she had a feeling it wouldn't be any use. And what the heck was she supposed to do with these balloons? Was there some sort of significance to holding just two balloons? No, wait, she really *didn't* want to know.
Before Lois could ask anything else, Aunt Gail looked around the room and asked, "Where's my favorite alien?"
"What?" Lois sputtered. She was absolutely shocked. Clark had told his crazy aunt his secret? That didn't seem possible.
"My nephew, your husband, Commander. From the planet Kimbob, you know. Earth Name: Clark Jerome Kent."
Lois had absolutely no idea how to answer this woman. Maybe she should fight insanity with more insanity. "Oh, he's behind the ficus," she answered, trying to stay calm. She tried to surreptitiously check whether Clark had managed to get dressed, but the ficus was blocking her view. With an internal shrug, she closed the front door, and walked into the living room still holding her two balloons. She hoped Clark had managed to get dressed. If not … well, there was always the ficus.
Aunt Gail seated herself on the sofa. "Oh, there you are, Clark. It's good to see you."
Still wondering what to do with the balloons, Lois turned to look at Clark. Well, he wasn't wearing just his boxers anymore! Lois fought down a giggle. He must have picked up her clothes by mistake. Now, in addition to the silk boxers, Clark sported her bolero jacket, and teetered unsteadily in her nylons and heels. And … were those *leaves* sticking out of his mouth? As Lois watched in horrified amusement, Clark swallowed the leaves, and adjusted the jacket.
Lois tried desperately to think of something — *anything* — to say to explain Clark's odd behavior to his aunt. "Ah, well, you see, Clark, he, we …" She sputtered to a stop. To Lois' astonishment, the other woman didn't seem to notice anything unusual.
While Lois was distracted, Aunt Gail had picked up the statue from the floor. Clark must have left it in his rush to get dressed. She looked at the odd thing with affection. "I'm so glad you have Trokob out. He would be so lonely if he couldn't see people. And you know," she leaned over to whisper in Lois' ear, "I think he might be claustrophobic." In a regular voice, she told Clark, as she handed him back the statue, "He does seem to like the outdoors. He was in the middle of an Andorian field when I beamed him up." She turned back to Lois. "That's what I do you, know. I'm the transporter chief."
Lois could only nod, still at a loss for words.
Casually, Aunt Gail added, "Actually, my boy, you're starting to look a bit like an Andorian yourself — antennae and all."
"Oh, thanks, Lieutenant!" That was a new one for Clark. In all the years he had known his crazy aunt, she had never told him that looked like one of her bizarre, non-humanoid aliens. It seemed like Crazy Aunt Gail was getting even more nuts as time passed.
"Antennae?!" Lois looked at Clark, and realized blue antennae were indeed sprouting out of her husband's head. "Oh my god, Clark, she's right! You *are* growing some!"
"I am? You're kidding." Clark reached up, and was somehow not surprised to find two new stalk-like appendages sprouting from his head. "Dude, antennae are cool!"
"I think so too, Borlog!" Gail agreed.
"Borlog?" Lois wondered aloud. Maybe she shouldn't have said anything, but it had seemed to be the safest thing to ask. It was much easier to think about why Aunt Gail called Clark 'Borlog', than why he had suddenly started eating cards and ficus leaves, or why he had grown antennae.
While Lois was still trying to decide if this could possibly be a dream, she was startled to hear a loud beeping emanating from somewhere in the room. Clark and Aunt Gail didn't seem surprised, though. Aunt Gail casually pulled what looked like a black cell phone out of her back pocket. Did they have those on spaceships? Lois wondered dizzily.
"Lt. Robinson here. Yes, yes, right away Captain. No, I won't miss it, sir. Right away, sir." Aunt Gail closed the somewhat clunky-looking phone shut with a snap. "Well, it has been lovely to see you two, but my shuttle back to Enterprise is due to leave in," she checked an odd-looking watch, "five earth minutes, precisely. I'll see myself out." Leaving Lois staring after her, and Clark playing with his new antennae, she left.
Lois turned back to look at Clark, hoping he had just put on an act for his crazy aunt. She had no idea how he made the antennae, but they were a nice touch. "That was … " she trailed off, forgetting what she had been saying. Mouth agape, she stared at her husband. First the antennae, and now … ! "My God, Clark, you're turning *blue*! Are you okay?"
"I'm *what*?" Clark asked. Then he gazed at his blue hand, turning it to see both sides. He shrugged. "Turning blue?"
"Yes!" Lois exclaimed. "And you're not worried about this?"
"No," he said matter-of-factly. Then he nodded. "Good, I like blue. Blue is cool. Like Superman."
Before Lois could answer, or even *begin* to process what was happening, blue-Clark disappeared in a flash. "Clark? Clark, where did you go?" Lois asked frantically.
In another flash, her husband, now blue from head to toe, appeared before her. She had no idea where he had gone, but at least he had come back when she called.
"You know I'm Superman. He's cool." He picked up 'Kiwi' and sang to it. "I am, I am, I am Superman, and I can do anything." As he sang, his voice got higher and squeakier, and he turned an even brighter shade of blue.
"What's wrong with your voice, Clark? You sound like a Smurf on crack! You *look* like a Smurf on crack!" Lois could not believe her eyes!
"I am, I am Superman, and I know what's happening," he sang in the same squeaky voice.
"Well, good, then explain it to *me*," demanded Lois skeptically. She couldn't wait to hear this explanation!
"I'm blue because I'm Superman." And with that, Clark spun from the boxers, nylons, heels and jacket into the briefs and belt from his Superman suit — *just* the briefs and belt.
"My briefs are red and my belt is yellow!" he continued singing. "I match! I am, I am Superman, and I can do anything." Handing 'Kiwi' to Lois, he grabbed a handful of balloons from the ceiling. "Yay! Celebratory balloons from the planet Gorlok! Hooray! I've always wanted to go to Gorlok. Now it's almost like I'm already there. And they're red and yellow. Just like my briefs. Look how well they match. They're *Superman* balloons from the planet Gorlok!"
"Gorlok, Clark, really?" Lois couldn't believe how weird Clark was acting. Maybe insanity really *was* contagious? After all, hadn't Aunt Gail also said the balloons were from Gorlok?
With his bunch of balloons now tied around his wrist, Clark grabbed Lois around the waist and high-kicked. She didn't kick along with him, but that was okay. He sang, "We're men, we're men in tights."
Lois wasn't sure what to do. It didn't seem to matter to him that she wasn't dancing along. Maybe she should try a different approach. "Clark, I'm a woman and I'm not wearing tights … and neither are you!"
"I'm a man, a man that's blue."
"Just go back to the real song, Clark."
Lois still wasn't dancing with him, so he let her go, but continued singing and dancing.
*"We may look like sissies, but watch what you say or else we'll put out your lights!
We're men, we're men (and Lois) in tights,
Always on guard defending the people's rights.
We're men, MANLY men (and sexy Lois), we're men in tights (she's not in tights).
I'm Superman, Superman in tights (TIGHT tights),
Always on guard defending the people's rights.
When you're in a fix just call for Superman in tights."*
"He's worse than a two-year-old." Lois watched Clark dance with the balloons. Suddenly he grabbed the ficus and started to drag it, spilling dirt all over the rug. "Clark! What are you doing?"
"All around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel," he sang loudly, off-key. He looked at Lois and said, "I'm the monkey and you're the weasel." He pulled the ficus out to the middle of the room and continued, "And I want to chase you around the mulberry bush!"
Lois stared at him incredulously. What had *happened* to her husband? He had seemed fine until … Could it be? Was it that crazy statue? Could 'Kiwi' be making Clark act so strangely, grow antennae, and turn blue? She had absolutely no idea. Or was it the ficus? When in doubt, she could always blame the ficus.
At this point, Lois was willing to try anything. Maybe the ficus was laced with some kind of red kryptonite. Right now she'd almost believe anything, so she decided to get rid of the suspect tree. She'd never really liked it anyway.
Leaving 'Kiwi' on the table, Lois grabbed the ficus and dragged it away from Clark. Then she shoved it into the fireplace. The flames engulfed the tree, and Lois walked away, wiping her hands. There, if that was the problem, it was taken care of.
"But, but, but," Clark squeaked, a single tear trickling down his cheek. "Why did you burn my mulberry bush, mean weasel?"
"The weasel ATE the mulberry bush. It's all gone." Lois looked back at Clark and gasped. Oh no! He was still blue and squeaky! So maybe it wasn't the ficus after all.
Clark, still very sad about his mulberry bush, stuck his tongue out at Lois, and grabbed 'Kiwi' from the table.
To Lois' shock, as Clark picked up the horrible statue, his skin turned an electric blue. Could it really be that stupid statue that was making Clark crazy? Maybe it was made out of a strange kind of kryptonite. Then it hit her. Aunt Gail had said she had beamed it up from an Andorian field. Lois remembered Clark telling her that there was a park in Smallville that he had played in as a boy, called the 'Andorian Fields' or something like that. They even had a picture somewhere … Could this statue be made of some strange rock from Krypton? Possibly, and in any case, she knew that they had to get rid of the statue.
"Pop goes the weasel!" Clark exclaimed as he popped one of the balloons tied to his wrist. "Yay! Crazy planet gas! I wanna drink the Gorlokian gas."
"No, Clark, don't!" Lois exclaimed, by force of habit. At this point, though, Lois wasn't sure if drinking helium would do anything to him. It certainly couldn't make things any worse!
"But, Lois, I want to sound squeaky," he squeaked as he flew around the room trying to catch the 'crazy planet gas.'
"Honey, you already do." Lois wasn't sure what else to say. She still wasn't even sure if this was really happening. It *had* to be a dream, right? Oh, *please* let this all be a nightmare! Experimentally, Lois pinched herself. Nope, Clark was still flying around the room, chasing balloons and looking blue.
But as Clark flew around the room, sucking up the helium like a flying Hoover, he began to look a little less blue. "I like it, Lois!" he exclaimed, his voice now a little *less* squeaky. "It's yummy!"
Lois had absolutely no idea what was going on except this: ficus, bad, 'Kiwi', bad, helium, *good*. She had to figure out a way for Clark to inhale as much helium as he could, and get rid of that horrible statue. They *did* have hundreds of balloons on the ceiling. Now she just needed to make Clark drink all their helium.
"Clark, do you like the alien gas?"
Clark looked at her with wide eyes. "Yes, honey," he said happily.
"Do you want *more* alien gas?" Lois prodded.
"But it's strange alien gas. Do I want to drink strange alien gas?"
Lois nodded. "Doesn't it taste good?" Lois felt like she was coaxing a reluctant child to eat his vegetables.
"But it's drugs. Drugs are bad. Balloon alien gas kills brain cells." He had a panicked look in his eyes.
"I think yours are dying by the second anyway," Lois muttered. Then she yelled, "But, Clark, you're *Superman*! It doesn't kill *yours*."
"Oh, right, because I'm Su-per-man!" and then made a loud "whooshing" noise as he made their 'flying' gesture. He lifted off the ground, and started popping balloons and inhaling the helium.
With each balloon he popped, he turned a little less blue, and his antennae shrank a little more.
"Honey, I think 'Kiwi' is homesick."
Clark stopped mid-flight and said, voice almost back to normal, "Oh no!"
"Why don't you send 'Kiwi' back to Andor, sweetheart. It misses its mommy and daddy." Lois prayed this tactic would work.
"Oh no!" Clark picked up the statue and his hands started to turn blue again. He carried it to the door and threw it skyward. "Bye-bye, Kiwi! I'll miss you." His lower lip trembled as he watched the statue zoom up and away. "K- iiii-wiiiii," he moaned. He reached his arms out towards the sky, beckoning the statue to return.
Lois breathed a sigh of relief as the statue whooshed up, into the stratosphere and beyond, she hoped. The farther the statue got away, the more normal Clark looked. The antennae had completely disappeared, and his skin was even returning to its normal shade. She just hoped the rest of him was back to normal, too.
Suddenly Clark exclaimed, in his usual voice, "*What* am I wearing? I didn't lose *that* badly at Strip Uno, did I?" He examined his yellow belt and red briefs carefully. "I *know* I had boxers on, even if they *did* have a kiwi stain on them."
Lois was so relieved that he was back to normal, she just stared at his wonderful *not blue* face for a moment. Gathering some of her poor scattered wits, she managed to say, "Oh, Clark, please never say 'Kiwi' again!"
"But *where* are my boxers? How did I change? Did you help me change?" He was confused. The last thing he remembered was making Lois take off her jacket. Everything after that was a blur.
"No, honey, you did that all by yourself."
"What? What are you talking about?" he asked. Then his eyes focused on the large, slightly dirty, but otherwise empty spot in the corner of the room. "And *where* is the ficus?"
"You don't even want to know!" She pointed at the blazing fire.
"Are you serious? You burned it? Why? Did we run out of firewood?"
"Clark, you were *eating* it, and *dancing* with it. I had to do something." Lois was relieved Clark was back to normal, but how was she supposed to explain the inexplicable?
He shook his head. "All I wanted was a quiet Valentine's Day night at home playing Strip Uno with my wife like a normal guy. Is that too much to ask for?"
"No, Clark, it's not." Her heart went out to him. She smiled at him, trying to make him feel better. "But Valentine's isn't over yet. We still have a few hours to … celebrate."
"Do you want to finish our game?"
"No, I think we should finish this upstairs, since it's already clear who lost." She gently reached out and tugged on his arm as she walked towards the stairs.
"But you said …" He looked down at his red briefs and said, "Never mind." He shook his head woefully. Maybe it was okay that he couldn't remember. He had a strange feeling that he just wouldn't want to know.
"I make the rules, Clark, and I say get naked!"
Authors' note: This story was written in response to the "challenging challenges" issued by LabRat and Skitz on the lcficmbs. http://www.lcficmbs.com/cgi- bin/boards/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=000062 We tried to include as many of the challenge items as we could and this was the result. From LabRat's challenge, we included: a grizzly bear, one red and one yellow balloon, Lois finding something valuable, Clark is visited by his overbearing aunt, a new type of K causes problems for Superman, and a ficus. From Skitz's challenge, we included: the phrase "looks like a Smurf on crack", a game of strip Uno, Clark in drag, the song "Men in Tights", a Star Trek cameo, an obscene use for a kiwi, and vampires. We hope you enjoyed our insane little fic. We sure had fun writing it!
Alicia & Rivka