Author's Note: Does Clark have to shave? Wouldn't normal razors just shatter trying to trim the super-stubble? I dunno. That's why I'm deliberately leaving shaving out of this vignette. (laughs) Anyway, unlike the first two stories, this one is actually kinda the opposite of the word that inspired it. Hope you enjoy!



Chapter Three

Word: Vim


Chloe groaned and rolled over, slapping the snooze button on her alarm ferociously. She was tired! With the annoying buzzing of the clock off, she could hear the soft pattering of the rain against the window, and it seemed to be whispering a lullaby to her. She'd just sleep a little longer...Clark would wake her up for work anyway.

Falling back into bed, however, she gasped a little when her bare shoulder made contact with flesh instead of the sheets she had been expecting. She didn't even have to look to know it was Clark—Chloe's shoulder might've landed on a concrete wall for all of the give those muscles allowed her. What was surprising is that Clark was always awake first, and it was very rare that he should still be in bed at—here Chloe cast a glance at the alarm clock—6:30 in the morning. Farm boys, always getting up at the crack of dawn.

Squirming around to see him better, Chloe noticed that he was lying half on his stomach, facing away from her, his pillow clutched tightly under his chin. The blanket was pooled around his waist, and the rhythmic rising and falling of his exposed back was testament to the fact that he was still very much asleep. Unusual, yes...but Chloe rarely got a chance to see him sleeping, so she took a few moments to study her husband, a small smile playing over her face.

Eventually, Chloe ran her fingers down his shoulder blade, chuckling at she watched the muscles under his skin shudder in response to her touch. Leaning over and pressing her lips against his ear, she whispered, "Hey, time to get up."

No response.

Tracing the swirling pattern of hair at the nape of his neck, she said a bit more loudly, "Come on. Time to get up."

Again, no response.

Chloe raised an eyebrow. "Clark."

Not even a hitch in the breathing.

She began tugging on his earlobe. "Seriously. Up and at 'em, Kent. There's coffee to be drunk, articles to be written, cataclysmic tragedies to be prevented. I can only manage the first two, thank you very much."

This time Clark shifted a little and groaned grumpily. Chloe continued to tug on his ear, wiggling it up and down in a manner she could only assume was annoying. When that failed to gain another reaction, she reached down, seized the covers, and flipped them off of the man.

Clark immediately groaned again and curled into a fetal position around his pillow, eyes still firmly closed. His hand stretched out, grasping for the blanket that had just been torn away from him. Grinning, Chloe kept it just out of reach. Eventually Clark seemed to give up; his breathing returned to the slow, steady pace of sleep.

Now a little aggravated, Chloe began to dig her fingers underneath his body. She slid her arms between the sheets and the dozing man and threw her slight weight against his much bulkier form, using her forearms as levers. Clark rocked a little and murmured "Hey...'top ih," into his pillow.

Chloe tried shoving him again harder and this time all six-feet-three-inches and two-hundred-twenty-odd-pounds of Clark Kent went tumbling over onto his other side and teetered on the edge of the bed for an impossibly long moment. Then, arms flailing, he fell.

Scooting over to the edge, Chloe smiled down at the man, now sprawled between the bed and the end table, dressed only in a pair of boxer-briefs. "Good morning, honey-lamb," she said, grinning toothily.

Clark blinked up at her slowly. His dark hair was horribly mussed, and his usually bright eyes were a dim shade of grey. He inhaled deeply and shook his head a little, as if trying to clear it. He shifted languidly as Chloe reached down and rubbed the top of his head energetically, making the already untidy hair stick out at all sorts of odd angles.

"I'm going to go make coffee. Too bad the caffeine doesn't affect you, Clark. You look like you could really use it this morning," the woman laughed. "Go take a shower. Maybe that'll wake you up."

Nodding slowly, Clark got up and stumbled off towards the bathroom, rubbing his face as he went.


Chloe had brewed, doctored, and drunk two cups of coffee before she got worried. She knew Clark took long showers sometimes, but this was getting ridiculous. At the very least, she wasn't going to get any hot water.

Knocking on the door but not getting a response, the woman peeked inside. The water was running, the curtain was closed, but there was no answer from Clark. Suddenly going into panic mode, Chloe rushed over and ripped back the curtain. Clark was leaning against the wall under the spout of water, eyes half-lidded and breathing deep. He rolled his head to look at Chloe and smiled weakly.

It took about half a second for her to blush. Yeah, she knew they were married, and she'd certainly seen him unclothed before, but there was always something about wet, naked Clark Kent that sent Chloe straight back to high school. Seeing that he wasn't drowning somehow, she quickly turned off the water—long since turned cold—and grabbed a towel.

"Here," she said, holding it out to him and turning away.

He laughed slowly and took the towel, wrapping it around his waist before dragging himself back to the bedroom. A few minutes later he emerged in a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt, crossed the apartment's living room, and flopped on the couch.

Chloe, who had been setting records for world's fastest shower due to the severe coldness of the water, found him drifting off to sleep once more upon her return to the living room/kitchen area. Eyebrows knit, she shook his shoulder.

"Clark, what's wrong with you? Get dressed, we have to leave for work soon," she said, instinctively feeling his forehead for fever. Of course he didn't have one...Clark Kent never came down with a cold.

Stifling a yawn, Clark opened dull eyes. "I dunno, Chlo'. I'm so tired. You think I can call in sick today?"

Chloe bit her lip. "You used up all your sick days last week when you dealing with that hurricane in the Caribbean. I don't think Perry..." she trailed off as she noticed Clark had fallen asleep again. Now that she really looked at him, he seemed pale. Something was definitely not right.

She decided she would call him in sick today...and take a day off herself. If there was something up with this man, it deserved some serious observation and quick remedying. Chloe had just dialed the number for the Planet and was listening to the ringing when snatches of the morning news came floating over to her. She always turned the news on while she had her coffee.

Now the pretty anchorwoman was talking with the weathergirl about the rain. Chloe caught pieces of the conversation. The anchor was mentioning that the storm was a remnant of last week's hurricane, and the weathergirl agreed that the dying hurricane had met a warm front just over Metropolis and had caused the overhanging storm. The anchor casually mentioned that it'd been raining for four days straight and was told not to expect a break in the weather until the end of the week.

It was almost as if an audible click went off in Chloe's brain. Slapping a palm to her forehead, she hung up the phone and took a look out the window. Yep, it had been overcast for days. Shaking her head, Chloe walked back over to the sleeping Clark and dragged him to his feet.

Clark opened groggy eyes and Chloe patted his cheeks to keep him awake. Smiling ironically, she asked, "You think you can still fly for a little bit? Do you?" She raised an eyebrow as Clark shrugged and nodded weakly.

Soon the two were on the roof, Clark wobbling against Chloe as his eyes slipped shut again. "Hey, cut that out!" she cried, shaking his arm. "Now fly. Yeah, go on, go sun yourself. Above the clouds with you." Clark looked at her for a second, totally uncomprehending, then drifted slowly upwards. "And don't come back until you feel better!" she shouted after him, adding "Dummy," under her breath.


Around eight that evening, the window slid open and Clark floated through. Chloe looked up from her movie and Thai takeout and rolled her eyes. "How do you feel?"

Clark touched down lightly and had the decency to look sheepish. "A lot better."

Chloe turned back to the television and harrumphed, "My husband: the solar battery. We really need to get you one of those "Recharge Now" warning lights, Clark."

"Hey," the man protested weakly, speeding over to the couch and curling up next to her. "I'm not a cell phone."

"No, cell phones have convenient little chargers and don't go into power-saving hibernation mode after a few rainy days. Here, try the eggplant," she said, passing him a box and a pair of chopsticks.

Now it was Clark's turn to roll his eyes. "Hey, I can't help it. Must've been a combination of being really busy last week and having no exposure to the sun this week. Kinda used up my reserve stores, I suppose."

Popping a piece of beef into her mouth, Chloe muttered something that sounded suspiciously like "Damn Kryptonian physiology."

"Eh, you know you like it," Clark rejoined with an exaggerated wink. "And since I'm feeling so much about we skip the movie, hm?"

"Hell no, I paid four bucks for this at Blockbuster. It's my reward for going to work all day while you were out doing a glorified version of working on your tan. Now hush, I'm watching Joaquin Phoenix."

"Waste of four bucks, then," he said with a sly laugh as he kissed her neck. "How about a better reward?"

Swatting at him playfully, Chloe sighed. "I think I liked you better in power-down. At least then you were less annoying."

"Admit it, you wouldn't have me any other way," Clark's deep voice rumbled against her jaw.

"Yeah, okay, fine. Welcome back to the realm of the living and fully-charged, Clark," she said, turning to kiss him back.

Making a triumphant sound deep in his throat, he scooped her up and carried her out of the living room, movie and Thai food completely forgotten.


Taadaa! There's Vim (definition: energy; activity; vigor). This story is dedicated to my potted violet, Edgar, who was not happy when I removed him from his nice sun-lit spot in my parent's kitchen and brought him to my relatively dark dormitory with no direct light whatsoever. Yeah, I think it killed him. I know Clark's always compared to a solar battery, but I always think of him like a plant! (laughs) Weird me. Anyway... (shakes tin cup)