Clark Kent was not, by nature, a confrontational guy.
Sure, there were times – usually involving spandex – when it was his job to be reasonably in-your-face, but he didn't particularly love them. Being someone else from time to time, let alone someone as visible as Superman, was both tiring and tedious. He was comfortable when he was just Clark, when he could push his ineffectual glasses up his nose and shrug his way out of a scene. He wasn't that person enough.
"Kent!" Lois Lane strode into the Daily Planet bullpen, in possession of a Starbucks thermos and three-inch stiletto heels. "Daydreaming about Superman again?" She smirked at him as she set her formidable purse on her desk chair.
Ignoring the fact that her quip was accurate, to a degree, Clark sighed. "That's only you, Lois," he said resignedly. "At least I was here on time."
"At least I was getting a lead on the Luthor story while you sat around here mucking out stalls in your mind, Smallville." She took a huge sip from the steaming thermos. Clark watched and shuddered, despite his invulnerable tongue. Pulling a jewel case out of her bag, Lois continued. "All the proof we need is right here, on this disc." She leaned over onto her elbows, waving the case under Clark's nose. "Can you smell it? That's what a Pulitzer smells like."
Clark, who could smell the pork chow fun Lois had for dinner the previous weekend, among other things, turned away from her teasing brown eyes and matching low-cut blouse. He had a feature on the Mayflower Dog Show to write.
It sometimes amazed him that he could tune out Lois and then hear a police siren from six and a half miles away. Fire on Twenty-Fourth Street. The building was starting to collapse. If he didn't get out of there now…well, he didn't want to think about it. He glanced discreetly at Lois, still ranting, across the desk. "I have to go to the bathroom," he muttered.
Zooming up the stairs to the roof, Clark caught the sound of a child's scream. A fireman was shouting, "She's on the third floor! Where's the ladder?" He took off from beneath the gleaming globe, leaving his civilian clothes in a vent by the door. Clark used to dream about moments like this. When he learned he could fly, he was entranced by the notion of swooping down to a rescue. But it had been years of systematic saves between nefarious plots from his nemeses; being Superman became more of a routine than a thrill.
Arriving at the smoking apartment complex, he rushed into an open window and gingerly grabbed the child. He set her down and flew away just in time to hear the frenzied mother's cry: "Oh, thank you, Superman!"
The first sound to greet him as he returned to the Daily Planet roof was that of Lois' long fingernails drumming on their desk. He winced. Checking his watch, he saw that he had only been gone for seven minutes. Maybe his excuse would hold up.
"Where have you been!" Lois yelled as he edged through the newsroom door hesitantly, buttoning his sport coat. "I turn around, expecting you to actually be working on something for once, and you're gone! Again! What if we'd gotten a call from a big source? What if Perry had upped a deadline? What if some super-villain had breezed in here with a cosmic death ray? You didn't even tell me where you were going!"
Clark blinked owlishly. "I said I was going to the bathroom."
She was pacing now, heels maliciously clicking on the wood floor. "No, Clark. You don't get to use that excuse again. Guys don't take that long in the bathroom. You don't take that long in the bathroom. I want to know where you really were."
He sighed and sat wearily, picking up a pencil in order to resume his work. "Lois…" He shrugged and pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "Just let it go, all right?"
The severe sound of Lois' shoes stopped abruptly. Gripping the arms of his chair, she leaned over him much as she had been earlier; any hint of previous good humor had vanished. She scowled, her nose inches from his. Slowly, she uttered, "I'm sick of this disappearing act, Kent. Where – were – you?"
The pencil snapped in Clark's hand. Glowering just as his partner was, he, too, spoke slowly: "None – of your – business."
Lois stepped back, shocked.
Clark's parents had always told him not to let his temper get away from him. At this moment, he knew why, so he tried to keep his voice calm. "You've been doing this ever since I started at the Planet: bossing me around, acting like you're my babysitter. But you're not. I have more responsibilities than you know, and I handle them just fine without you. More than that, I know you're a talented journalist and a woman that can handle a big source or a cosmic death ray without me for a few minutes. I trust you, Lois. As your partner, I expect you to trust me, too." He breathed deeply, taking a moment to enjoy the catharsis.
Lois stammered feebly. "Feeling more powerful than a locomotive, are we?" Clark knew she was surprised he had it in him.
"In fact, I am," he smiled. The day was saved.
A/N: This was written for my English class, but it was just too fun to not post. Reviews would be very, very awesome – constructive criticism especially.
It should also be noted that the title comes from the infamous introduction of The Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves, and the Mayflower Dog Show is shamefully stolen from the brilliant satire Best In Show.
Thanks for reading!