A Typical Day at the Office (Clark's point of view, see Ch. 1 for this scene from Lois's perspective)

It had been a long day. Clark had spent the last couple of hours tracking down a group of kidnappers who had thought it'd be a good plan to take a class of school children and keep them for ransom. It should have been easy to resolve, but these weren't the dumbest criminals Metropolis had to offer. They'd split up the class and hidden them all over the city. It had taken hours to track down every kid and be sure they were safely returned to their families.

He figured that Lois was going to want to know where he had been all day, and he really didn't feel like drumming up another lie. As the elevator moved up to his floor, Clark started running scenarios in his head.

The ding of the elevator went off, and the doors slid open. All of Clark's excuses fell out of his head, and there she was. He knew that in less than a second she would turn around and want to know where he'd been, but Clark was capable of accomplishing a lot in that time. He noticed the familiar smell of her perfume, the sound of her fingers brushing across the computer keys, and the way that the light shone down and made her glow like she had a halo. He soaked it in, laughing at himself at the thought of Lois Lane having a halo. Not likely. He also wondered why her fingers were only brushing over keys instead of actually typing. She wasn't one to sit still long, and heaven help all of Metropolis if she was bored.

As the sound of the elevator reached her ears, she swiveled around. He thought she looked glad to see him. It might have been wishful thinking, as Lois didn't spend much of her time seeking anything other than her next big story. She considered it her mission to keep Metropolis aware of what was happening, whether it was in the streets or in the boardrooms.

"Clark, where have you been?" Ah, his favorite question. Luckily this was Lois, so if he could get her more worried about a story he wouldn't have to come up with a lie about how he spent his day. Also, she wasn't done welcoming him. "There is apparently nothing going on in Metropolis today, and somehow Perry seems to think that I'm going to come up with some amazing headline out of nowhere. Does he think Pulitzer prize winning stories just drop out of the sky?"

Clark folded his jacket and draped it over his seat before relaxing for a moment. This was one of his favorite parts of the day, when he could just be Lois's partner and give her a hard time. He pulled his phone out of his jacket pocket before settling into his chair.

"Hey Lois, nice to see you, too. How've you been today?" He knew it drove her crazy when he ignored her welcoming rants and made polite conversation. She pretty much believed that manners were a waste of time. Glancing down at his phone, he realized that she had messaged him nearly twenty times in the last few hours. He bit back a smile. Lois was the only person in Metropolis looking for just him, Clark, the partner, not Superman, the hero. Not that she wouldn't mind a visit from the latter, Clark was sure. "I see you've texted once or twice." He ought to try and answer her messages once in a while, but he didn't spend most of his time with his phone on hand.

"Smallville, the purpose in having one of those handy devices is that you can answer me even when you're not in the same room. It's living in the space age, isn't it?" Clark was fully aware of her sarcasm, and he smiled as he read over the string of messages. He noticed a theme. It centered around the fact that he needed to finish whatever he was doing and get back to the office and back to her.

"Did you need anything, Lois? None of these messages actually seem to ask a question." One of Clark's favorite pastimes was just being really nice to Lois. She was normally the most sure-footed person he knew, but throw a few polite remarks her way and she couldn't tell which direction was up.

"Clark," she began, sending him a killer smile. He was completely aware that it was the smile that she used when she wanted something, and it was crazily effective on him. With that look on her face, he wanted to do whatever it was she was about to ask. "I just thought that maybe you wanted a chance to write an amazing piece for tomorrow's paper! It just screams 'Clark Kent,' and I even went ahead and did some of the leg work for you."

For another smile Clark would have written tomorrow's entire paper. Whatever the story was, she must really hate it to pass it on. The two of them had gotten pretty decent at sharing a story, so his curiosity was peaked. Lois reached across their desks to pass him a notebook, and he stretched out his hand. His fingers brushed across hers as he took the notebook, and he felt her all over. What was it about her that made him want to grab her and fly off into the night? One part of it was that she just seemed to honest and real to him in a world of the fantastic and amazing. The other part of it he was going to have to figure out, and soon. Granted, it was crazy to describe her as honest when she was blatantly manipulating him into writing some story about a reality show chef she didn't want to deal with. To be truthful himself, though, he was free to say no.

"Gee, Lois. Thanks for the story. Are you sure you don't want to keep it for yourself?" Of course she didn't, but Clark could see the charm in the details as he scanned over the notes. The adolescent had been in and out of the Metropolis juvenile system for a couple of years, until a foster parent held helped him find an interest in culinary arts. After seeing so much hate all the time, Clark was happy to dedicate some of his attention on something good.

"No, you have at it." Lois obviously saw this as an escape opportunity. "Perry needs that ASAP if you don't mind." She grabbed her things and made a dash for the elevator. She didn't make it all the way out before she remembered something. She stuck out her hand and stopped the elevator.

"Oh, and Clark?"

"Yes, Lois?"

"I figure I gave you a good bit of finished work on that story, so be a pal and make sure I can find my name on the byline."

"Oh, of course Lois. And thanks again!" Clark smiled as the elevator doors closed. No way was she getting a byline on this. Lois Lane's name didn't belong under the headline he was going to write about this kid who'd overcome the odds and moved off the streets of Metropolis.

He'd make it up to her. He could finish this story in minutes and meet up with Lois, but not as her partner from The Planet. He'd catch her on her way home and fill her in on the kidnappings from today. Clark sometimes liked to write his own account of Superman's heroics, but sharing about his day with Lois and then reading it back in tomorrow's paper was one thing that made him able to do it again tomorrow. The tension and pressure seemed to melt away as she put into words how his actions allowed the families of Metropolis, and often the rest of the world, sleep at night. She reminded him of why he did it.

Maybe, if she asked nicely, they could even find time to go for a late night flight.