By Melissa Dore (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: The stress of trying to come up with a good Christmas piece for Perry must be taking its toll on Lois, because she's getting an ulcer. The worst news, though, is that the doctor tells her to avoid coffee and *chocolate*.
Hope you like this…It was inspired by an irc chat last week. L&C characters used without permission. You may copy and download if you wish, share with your friends as long as no money changes hands. Please be nice, but comments are most welcome…here's my first fanfic…
Lois was staring at her computer. Just staring. Really staring. Eyelids stuck open staring.
Clark was peeking over her plant.
"wha…Clark! What are you doing! This is _not_ your story, soooooo…Shoo, go away! Find your own Christmas piece!"
Clark sighed. He knew that Lois didn't have a piece. She'd been staring at her monitor for over an hour, only getting another cup of coffee every 10 minutes or so as a diversion. They had less than a week until pieces were due for the Christmas eve edition. Perry loved Christmas, but that didn't stop him from giving "that look" when he suspected a story was going to be late.
"Lois…why don't you go out for a while…maybe you'll think of something as you walk." Clark cocked an eyebrow at her, "I just _bet_ you haven't done your Christmas shopping yet."
Lois glared. "I haven't _had_ the time. If you worked as hard as I do, _you_ wouldn't have either! Besides…It's sort of a … a…tradition in the Lane house … you see who can wait the longest. I've won for the past five years!"
"Surprise, Surprise.", Clark muttered under his breath.
Lois stared at Clark. She thought she heard a sarcastic comment…but _wasn't_ quite sure. She got up to head to the coffee machine. As she stood up, her stomach made this funny gurgle, and then this immense pain banged her chest from the inside. She gasped "Clark!" and then started to emit this half whistle, half cry. Clark whipped around to see Lois grab her chest and start to double over.
"Lois!" Clark jumped over her desk and grabbed her before she hit the floor. Clark held Lois as she curled up into the fetal position.
"Great Shades of Elvis! Clark…what happened? Jimmy, call an ambulance!!" Perry had been on his way to see his best team when Lois collapsed.
Clark, during this, had lowered his glasses and had started to x- ray Lois' chest. The heart wasn't affected…no poison, nothing in the lungs…and then he saw it … right at the base her esophagus in the interior of her stomach…the beginnings of an ulcer. Clark sighed in relief. Lois was in a lot of pain … and she needed treatment…but she wasn't in life-threatening danger…at the moment.
Lois continued to moan as the paramedics placed her in the ambulance. She was still clutching Clark's arm, it had almost taken his superstrength to have Lois release his shirt. Clark piled into the back of the ambulance with Lois, and as a concerned Perry and Jimmy looked on, Lois and Clark were rushed to Metropolis General.
"Can you believe this Clark? ME! A stomach ulcer! This is unheard of! No Lane gets an ulcer…we're above them!"
Clark sighed … twelve hours ago Lois had been writhing in pain, now…the real Lois was back.
"Lois, it isn't a _real_ ulcer, not yet anyway. The Doctor said you could prevent it from becoming a _real_ ulcer if you followed his instructions."
Lois leaned back into her very stiff hospital pillow. "Great! No coffee, no Soda, no Advil, no MSG, and…" Lois sobbed, "No Chocolate! Clark…How am I going to survive without coffee and chocolate!"
Clark tried to interrupt. "Lois…"
"I mean … I just bought a cappochino maker, you know one with the espresso arm? And Chocolate??? No fudge, no chocolate Easter Bunny, no Cadbury cream eggs…though I can only take those in small quantities anyway, no chocolate chip cookies, no frosted brownies, no ROCKY ROAD ICE CREAM???"
Clark just stared at the wall. It was the only way he could keep from chuckling. Lois was _definitely_ her old self again.
Two days later Lois was back in the office. Clark had seen her come in and was waiting for Lois when she got to her desk. Clark cocked his head in her direction, "How are you feeling Lois?" He was glad he was invulnerable at that point. A human would have died with that look.
"How do you think I am??", was the growled answer.
Jimmy, who had been wandering over to say hello, promptly pulled a vanishing act.
Clark took a long look at Lois. She looked great in that forest green suit, but something wasn't quite right…he looked down. Lois was wearing evening dress spikes. Clark raised his eyebrows…he was about to comment…looked at Lois, and then thought better of it.
Lois dropped her coat on her chair and grabbed her Superman mug. She was about to walk to the coffee machine when she felt heat radiating from the mug. She looked at the mug. IT was filled with some sort of clear hot liquid.
"It's green tea." Clark said, "It's caffeine free and will relax you."
"Who said??" Lois was still staring at the mug. She _wanted_ coffee.
"Most of Asia…and my mom.," Clark grinned. "It'll keep you away from the coffee."
Lois shot him another look, shrugged and sat down. Clark was still grinning as he went back to work.
For the next two days, Lois came in to find her mug filled with green tea. Clark was winning the battle to keep Lois away from the caffeine and chocolate… but he thought fighting Lex Luthor was exponentially easier.
As the days progressed…Lois was getting crankier and crankier…she was having a hard time getting up in the morning, and all she wanted to do was to scarf down a quart of rocky road. She didn't care if this required the next four days to be a starvation diet, and 20 story stairmaster run … she wanted Chocolate! Even the surprise drop-ins of Superman at her apartment this week didn't stop her desire for chocolate.
It was then that Lois started scheming _THE PLAN_
It was Christmas eve. Somehow Lois managed to finish her Christmas story of the family who had lost everything to a burglar, and how the burglar had a change of heart (thanks to Superman) and returned everything. Even though the burglar was in jail, Lois thought it was a great Christmas piece. Perry on the other hand, calmly and deftly, threw it in the recycle bin.
"Great Shades of Elvis, Lois! That's not a Christmas story…I want compassion, humanity, that…Special feeling!" Perry was _not_ happy. "This, this is normal…find something…SPECIAL!!" Perry deftly pushed Lois out of his office. "Go hit the streets Lois! And don't come back until you have that Special Christmas Feeling Piece! You have four hours!!!" With that Perry slammed his door, and Lois sulked back to her desk.
Clark was waiting for her. "I take it that he didn't like your story."
Lois flopped down and made the face Clark knew as the "Woes is Me" look.
Lois started the whine…"Clark…<Sniff> ever since they made me stop drinking coffee … I think…I think…"
"Yes, Lois?" Clark whispered, grabbing a stool, and sat very close to Lois, their heads almost touching.
"I think I'm losing my edge! <sniffle> Without that stress, without that boost, I…I'm *no* good! I can't (grabs a tissue) I can't <phnort!> even write a stupid little Christmas piece!"
Clark picked her chin up and made her look into his eyes. "Lois, you're a great writer. You don't need the caffeine to keep your edge…you have one built into you. It's just that if you keep eating and drinking caffeine and chocolate…you may lose that edge, and your health?" Clark looked around the newsroom, "Don't you see Lois?? We _care_ about you…We _want_ you here for a _long_ time. Give us that time…"
"What do you mean I'm only a 'Great' writer? Last time you said I was a fantastic writer!"
Clark sighed. He'd definitely lost this round. "So, Lois…where are you going to find a Christmas piece?"
"ohhhhh, I don't know…maybe if I wonder around town, I might find something…"
"Great Lois! Let's go!"
Lois put on the brakes. "Hold on, _Buster_! This is my story, and I'm _going_ ALONE!!!" Clark opened his mouth to respond when Perry stuck his head into the newsroom.
"Clark!!! There's a four alarm fine down in the warehouse district. Take Jimmy and get over there!!!"
Clark looked anxious. He wondered what excuse he could use to get rid of Jimmy, Superman (geez mom was right, I'm thinking in 3rd person) could take care of the fire. In this urgency, he didn't notice Lois heading towards the elevator.
Steiger's was a wonderful store. It had everything…Clothes, shoes, crystal, mattresses, rugs…and the true reason she was here…an ice cream and chocolate shop in the basement. Her plan had worked! She knew that Perry would hate that story, and send her off. Her _real_ story was still on her computer, but she wanted an excuse to leave. She wasn't sure how she was going to ditch Clark…but the fire came at the perfect time.
Lois zoomed up to the counter, knocking a small boy and his mother out of the way…"I want a large Rocky Road Ice Cream with Hot fudge and nuts!"
The lady behind the counter, glared at Lois, ignored her and looked at the little boy. "What would you like, little boy?"
Lois was furious! She had put in her order, now she had to wait as this little Pip-squeak took all the time in the world to choose _what_ he wanted! And to top it off…the Counter lady seemed to be taking her sweet time! Lois was fuming by the time it was her turn.
Finally Lois had her ice cream. She sat at a table, slowly picking off the nuts, licking the chocolate off of them before chewing. She was going to enjoy this for as long as possible. After savoring the sundae, even to slurping the melted ice cream, Lois wandered back upstairs. She was feeling really good, and decided that it was time to do her Christmas shopping.
Lois spent the rest of the afternoon shopping. She found a nice lead crystal knife holder for her mother, a great paisley scarf for herself, an Elvis watch for Perry, a new set of earrings for Lucy, and a coral reef tie for Clark. She pondered if she should get something for Superman. She decided against it. What did he need? Where would he _put_ it?
As the afternoon wore on, Lois felt sleepy, that wonderful feeling she had after the sundae was starting to wear off. Her arms were getting tired, and she wanted to sit down. Lois felt as if her head was going to roll off her neck…so she found a place that looked good and sat down…
"Miss…uh, miss? I'm afraid you can't sleep there. You're going to have to move…If you don't, I'll have nowhere to put the presents."
Lois started to wake up. She felt this heavy weight on her stomach, and could _swear_ that she saw stars through her eyelids. Stars? In Metropolis? I don't _think_ so…Lois opened her eyes. To her left, standing over her was an old man in a red and white suit. She looked up. Less than three inches from her face was a pine branch covered with white lights. She had fallen asleep under a Christmas tree!
"This is, This is sooooo embarrassing…I'm soo sorry." Lois began crawling out from under the tree. It was in the entrance way of Steiger's! Lois could feel the embarrassment rising about her.
"It's OK, Lois." the old man said, "Christmas trees are great shelter, and no one noticed you. I wouldn't have, except I needed to put my presents down."
Lois rolled her head toward the old man…sleep still controlled most of her active functions.
"This is a department store tree…why put presents under it?" The old man simply smiled…"a tree is a tree…and for those that have nothing … this is their "special" tree." With this the man put down his hand wrapped gifts, softly held Lois by the arm … and pulled her around the corner.
"We can see them, but they can't see us." said the man.
"Who can't see us?" questioned Lois.
"The Children. They live on the streets. They think they're going to "steal" these presents. It's not true, but kids like these don't believe in charity."
Lois watched in silence as 12 or 13 boys and girls, ranging from 6 to 18 snuck across the parking lot. They were very wary and tried to stick to the shadows.
"Where are the cops?" Lois whispered. "The security guards?"
The old man shrugged then smiled, "Having a good Christmas I suppose."
As they whispered, the children slowly took the presents, and ran back into the shadows.
Lois stared at the old man. "Why did you do that?" She asked.
The old man shrugged and smiled. "For the laughter," he said. Lois stared at him. Then over the wind, she heard the light yelps of glee and giggles of new found friends. The children had opened their presents. She turned her head to follow the sound. When she turned her head back, the old man was gone…not even a footstep left in the snow.
"Wha…Superman! What are you doing here!!!"
"Looking for you Lois. Clark told me that you never came back to the Planet. Perry was getting worried and sent everyone looking for you. He said you never missed a Christmas party."
"ohhh…that's nice of Perry, Superman…Did you see an old man in a red and white suit walk by??"
"Lois?" Superman looked at her with concern.
"Ohhh…nothing…thanks for looking for me. Let me just collect my gifts and …what?" Lois had reached behind the Christmas tree to grab her packages, as she looked down, a small package was sitting there. Lois picked it up. It had her name on it. It wasn't there earlier.
"It's for me.." Lois said with a curious note in her voice.
Superman x-rayed it. It wasn't a bomb. "It's safe to open it Lois." He said with relief.
Lois opened the package. She looked at Superman. He shrugged. "I'm afraid it's not mine, Lois."
In the box was a compact disc. *A Night Wasted with Tom Lehrer* Lois looked at the back, she giggled. "It's got 'Silent E'! from the Electric Company! I used to _love_ that show!" A smile filled her face as she remembered when she and Lucy used to sing 'Silent E' and 'LY' while skipping home from school.
Superman smiled as he watched Lois remember these fond times…Then his Superhearing picked up a strange sound … at least for Metropolis.
For a brief second, he thought he heard sleigh bells.