Vaulted Emotions (A Ficathon Story)

By Catherine Bruce <>

Rated PG

Submitted October 2007

Summary: Confined spaces + Clark + Kryptonite = Fun. (A Ficathon Story)

Okay, this was a big pain in the heinie! Not because the challenge was too hard or I wasn't given enough time, but because my brain was stuck on Kim Possible or WoW and for the longest time I couldn't come up with anything! Well, I could, but I don't think that Kim Possible crossovers were exactly what was being looked for here…

What? Who am I writing for? He he… guess y'all might wanna know that, eh? Lara Joelle Kent was my lucky winner! And, stealing from most everyone here, the challenge is down at the bottom :D Anyhoo, Lara, I really hope you enjoy this :D If not, let me know, and I'll um… pay you with… all the pocket lint in my pockets! (I'm otherwise broke…)

A bajillion-twelve and then some thanks, as always, to LaraMoon for the kick-heinie betaery!


Clark had never been one to enjoy airplanes. As a kid, since all his family had been located within driving distance — or at least the family that they got along with enough to visit — there had only been a handful of times where he had actually needed to fly. Each experience had left him feeling confined and suffocated and the only way he found any sort of relief was when he stared out the window.

When he discovered that he could fly without the assistance of oversized metallic birds, Clark had come to the conclusion that his mild plane phobia was because he did not like relying on the slow, cumbersome contraptions to get him from point A to point B. Or maybe it had been the attractive, albeit slightly creepy, stewardess who kept stopping by his seat every two minutes and flashing him a smile that was far too wide and toothy. The predatory gleam in her eyes, as she grinned wolfishly while showering him with more peanut packets and ginger ale than any one person could possibly consume in a two-hour period, made him think that she would devour him whole if he let his guard down.

As it turned out, Clark did not have a mere plane phobia as he had originally believed.

As he sat in a small eight-by-ten reinforced steel box, with only his lovely partner for company, he began to realize that it had nothing to do with flying at all. In fact, one thing was readily becoming crystal clear to the Man of Steel.

Clark Kent was claustrophobic.

As Superman, he had been inside of countless vaults as he foiled bank robberies and rescued reporters who invariably attracted trouble like a stray or animal attracted fleas, but never for more than a few moments and definitely not for a three-hour stretch and counting. Had this been any ordinary situation, he could very well have pounded his way through the thick steel door in point-zero-two seconds flat. Or if the air were to get so thin that it caused Lois to lose consciousness for three measly seconds, he could make short work of the lock and claim that Superman had finally come to their aid.

Unfortunately for Clark's rattled nerves, the safe was not airtight. In fact, there seemed to be some sort of air vent that circulated stale oxygen, which was perhaps a security measure.

Darn security measures.

As for Lois losing consciousness, that option seemed less and less viable with each passing second as she paced the two and a half stride length of the room, which only further jangled the poor Kryptonian's already rattled nerves.

Of course, had this been an ideal situation — with Lois unconscious — there was still one little problem standing in the way between them and freedom. Kryptonite.

Darn Kryptonite.

So, here he was, in a small room that seemed to be getting even smaller by the second, an obviously conscious Lois Lane, and no powers whatsoever.

"Clark? Are you okay?" Lois, who had been ranting and raving for the past twenty minutes about everything that had gone wrong, suddenly stopped mid-tirade as she eyed her green-gilled partner.

"Oh yeah, just ducky. Nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon than getting locked in an airless bank vault, which, by the way, seems to be shrinking by the minute, because for some reason the bank robbers didn't really approve of two reporters snooping around their arson. Wasn't this place bigger when we first got locked in here? Is it hot? It feels hot." Of course, he hadn't meant to let any of this slip out of his mouth, nor did he particularly care for the high-pitched tone his voice created in his own ears. Absently, he began to loosen the tie under his collar, wondering if that would make the walls start appreciating his personal space.

"The room's the same size as it was before." She studied him for a moment before tilting her head thoughtfully to one side. "You never told me you were claustrophobic."

"Probably because I've never been in a small, confining, *airless* room for more than five minutes at a time in order to *get* claustrophobic before." Clark was also realizing that sweating was rather quite icky. Normally, not even diverting a heavy asteroid from crashing into earth could cause him to sweat (although, he wondered, could one even sweat in space?) but now it was as though his body was trying to make up for lost time. It was wet, sticky, and had the distinct aromatic scent of onions.

Lois knelt before his hunched figure, sitting against the wall, and placed a comforting hand on his knee. Normally, this would have had him dancing around on the inside and singing arias while attempting to maintain a mild-mannered facade on the outside, but even the gentle pressure of her small hand against his quaking joint was almost enough to send him leaping into the air like a cat whose clueless owner had the audacity to touch him while a vacuum cleaner was running.

"It's okay, Clark. Even Superman has weaknesses. Just take deep breaths, all right?" For a couple of seconds he mimicked her exaggerated long inhales and deep exhales, not really thinking about her words, but after a couple of calming yoga techniques, Lois grabbed the sides of his face with both hands. "I said deep breaths, Clark. Nothing about hyperventilating."

He tried to drown in the deep pools of her eyes, to ground himself in the feeling of her hand on his person, to anchor himself by the sweet scent of her shampoo. He tried to do all of those clichéd things that a person is supposed to do in times of great duress, but all he could think about was how her domineering presence — one of the things that he admired so much about her — now threatened to take over every available square inch of the room and suffocate him.

Clark leapt to his feet so quickly that a startled Lois toppled over on her shapely behind. His 'fight or flight' instinct had taken over, and he was going to do his darndest to fight for the ability to fly. He began to hammer his fists against the thick steel door, crying out for anyone out there to come rescue them.

"Clark, it's Saturday! The bank is closed! And we've already tried that earlier, remember?"

"Maybe there's a security guard out there, or an over zealous employee looking for overtime, or another robber, *someone!*" He paused in his physical assault against the flawless metal and scowled, grumping over the fact that at any other time his flailing fists would have diminished the door to nothing more than a lump of cheese. Now, though, it felt as though said piece of cheese would still look as pristine and flawless as the door under his flailing fists.

"You know," he began, not entirely aware that he was speaking out loud. "At any other time, Superman would have been able to save the day. But can he now? No. Why? Because some little hooligan decided that, hey, it would be *'so totally rad'* to mess with the Man of Steel, to try and take him out to build up his *'street cred'* amongst the real criminals of Metropolis. And so now, thanks to some hapless *punk*, we're stuck in here and we're probably going to suffocate long before anyone finds us, or starve to death, or get eaten alive by these damn *walls!*" With the end of his tirade, he brought his fists back over his head and swung them as hard as he could onto the polished steel.

Point-zero-two seconds later, he and Lois were gaping past twisted fragments of metal to the door that had created a decent sized indentation against the far wall twenty feet away.

Deep seated panic warred with body-trembling relief as he slowly turned to face his partner. Frantically he scoured his brain for something, anything, that would make for a good excuse. "Um, gee, faulty craftsmanship and fear-induced adrenaline. Can't beat that, huh?"

For long, agonizing moments, Lois just looked at him with an unreadable expression. However, as he was planning a packing list of things he would take with him as he left, after allowing her to beat the snot out of him with noodles cooked in Kryptonite juice, she suddenly smirked before sauntering out of the demolished vault, hips swaying in a predatorily pleased gait. He just stared after her, mouth gaping wide open as her words floated back to him.

"I told you I know how Superman kisses."


Now, I *know* what it's like, from countless instances, of what a cat does when you go to pet him while a vacuum cleaner is running. I have the scar on my face to prove it! (It wasn't my Tristan's fault, my poor baby!) You would think that I would have learned after the first time… but nooo. Of course, the poofy tail was probably some sort of indication to leave him alone.

And also, I realize that I could have had Clark thinking about Lois's perfume, but in "Pheromone, My Lovely," I remember her saying that she doesn't wear perfume just as she's sprayed.

Here's the URL for the original challenge:;f=5;t=001990

*Three things I want in my fic:*

1. an absurd or humorous situation involving Clark

2. possibility of revelation (doesn't have to actually happen)

3. Lois and Clark or Lois and Superman romance

*Preferred season(s):*

1 or 2 or afterwards

*Three things I do not want in my fic:*

1. Timetravel

2. New Krypton

3. New Kryptonians