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Night Shift

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"Hmm?" Clark yawned, stretched out his toes but remained mostly sleeping.

"Do you maybe want to get back down here?" Lois sounded slightly annoyed. That didn't seem good. He cracked an eye open.

Oh. Okay. He was floating three feet above the bed. He could see how that might be a problem. Particularly when he'd taken the quilt with him. He yawned again.

"Heeey," he said, waving down at her. She grabbed his pillow and threw it at him. He frowned as he caught it, and tucked it under his head with one arm, still floating. "I'm working on it."

"Am I going to have to start bringing another blanket?" she asked, curling up on his sheets to stay warm.

"Nooo, you're fine, it's fine." He yawned again as he drifted downward, holding the covers out so they'd land on her. "This is... no."

"Is this going to be like that thing where Wendy had to tie the Lost Boys to their beds so they wouldn't float off at night?"

It was a highly specific accusation. He tucked the blankets around her as he settled in next to her on the mattress.

"No, I don't usually—I don't think I usually..." He gestured vaguely toward the ceiling. "Flying dream."

"Flying dream?" She was either incredulous or amused. She rolled conveniently onto her side, so he pulled her close against him, an arm around her waist and his knees tucked behind hers.

"Don't say it like it's weird," he huffed, nuzzling against her hair. "People who can't fly have flying dreams, too. This is facts."

Lois chuckled, and he pressed his forehead against her back, listened to her heartbeat. It sounded like anyone else's, but it wasn't. It was hers. He wished he could pinpoint exactly what it was that made it hers. He'd like to be able to identify her just by the sound of her heart beating. He wasn't convinced that was physically possible, but he'd like to. "You don't hear people talk about walking dreams," she pointed out.

"'s different."


"It's flying." The light filtering through the bedroom window was artificial, billboards and streetlights. Moonlight mixed in there, somewhere, lost in neon. It landed yellow on the wall, tinted by the stained glass sunflowers he had hanging above his headboard, flower-shaped shadows.

"You fly all the time." Lois hated the stained glass. She hated most of the things in his apartment. She preferred to fill her home with glass and chrome and a fear of fingerprints.

"Still flying." Every time she complained he ended up on Etsy. So far he'd acquired three quilts, a new set of throw pillows, five mismatched coffee mugs, a giant plush toy of the Loch Ness monster, and a stained glass honeybee.

"Even flying has to get boring eventually."


Lois sighed, wrapped the quilt tighter around herself. "You're cute," she said.

"Adorable," Clark agreed, and she snorted.

Someone screamed. He didn't notice most screams, because most screams were children playing or teenagers teenaging or adults consenting. This was not one of those screams. So he slid out of bed, grabbed his suit on the way to the bathroom, feet never touching the ground. Easier than running, less noisy, less likely to ruin his floors and keep him from getting his security deposit back. He put the suit on quick, though the boots always took slightly longer than he'd like and pulling them on made his cape fall in front of his face.

Did Bruce's cape ever fall the wrong way? He'd never admit it if it did.

His hair was a goddamn nightmare that he sorted out with a tungsten carbide comb and entirely too much pomade, using his other hand to brush his teeth. Superman didn't get to show up to work with bedhead and morning breath.

Neither did Clark Kent, but still. Principle of the thing.

Eight seconds. Not his best time, not his worst. He shot out from the balcony, fairly confident that the scream had come from about six blocks east and a little north. Flying really didn't stop being fun, even when he was just going from Point A to Point B. He liked the wind and the cold and the distant blur of lights, swimming and falling and neither. Like running downhill, but upwards.

He'd figure it out how to explain it eventually.

He unfocused his eyes as he looked through walls and through people, until something of interest brought his attention to one spot. One adult, one child, only one of them belonged there. Parents had gone out for the night, a perfect opportunity for a robbery if they hadn't left the kid home. As midnight screams went, relatively easy to take care of.

Superman entered the apartment the same way the interloper had, and grabbed him by the belt. The belt usually worked best, least likely to end up accidentally hurting anyone. Then he yanked him outside and hung him on a lamppost for someone else to deal with. He took the gun to crush it, checked that he didn't have any other weapons before going back to check on the kid.

"What?" the man in the lamppost asked, right as Superman was leaving.

Superman slowed down this time, for the first time since he'd left his bed. "Hey," he said, trying to look non-threatening. Though usually the costume took care of that, where kids were concerned. "You okay?"

The kid nodded. Ten, maybe? Looked ten-ish.

"What's your name?"


"It's nice to meet you, Alan. I'm Batman."

That got him a shy grin. "No you're not."

"I'm not?"

"You're Superman."

He looked down at himself, pulling his top away from his chest so he could look at the symbol upside-down. "Huh. I guess I am. Did your parents leave a number? Do you know how to call the police?" Alan nodded again. "Do you want me to wait here with you until they get here?" Another nod. "Okay."

In retrospect he should have told Lois where he was going. He checked his back pocket, but he hadn't remembered his phone. Nothing but a little cash he always kept on hand for emergencies. Like doughnuts. Doughnuts could count as an emergency. He was pretty sure that little corner store on 12th was open all night. He could get lokma. Or baklava. Or both. If Kadir was working he could ask for gözleme. But he'd need to get some for Lois, too.

This daydream was rapidly becoming expensive. He yawned.

"Do you want some coffee?" Alan asked.

Superman immediately tried to look more alert. "No, thank you," he said with a smile.

Alan picked up a box and brought it closer for him to see. "We have a bunch of different hot cocoas," he said. "You can have anything but the campfire cocoa."

Superman looked at the little single-serve plastic cups, then back at Alan. Kids liked to feel like good hosts. "Mexican sounds good, if it's no trouble."

Alan nodded seriously and went back into the kitchen. "My mom says she'll be here in ten minutes," he said.

"Did you tell her you were okay?"

"Yeah." He put a mug on the coffee maker and pressed a button.

"Did you take care of everything you were supposed to before she got home?"

"Ye—" Abruptly Alan opened the freezer, pulled out a whole chicken and started rinsing ice crystals off the plastic in the sink. He wiped his hands off on his pants and brought Superman a mug of cocoa. The mug was shaped like an elephant. He suspected this was what Alan considered to be the best mug in the house.

"Thank you very much for the cocoa." He sipped at it slowly, just in case it was terrible.

Pretty good, actually.

"Thank you for not letting me get murdered," Alan said.

"I don't think you were going to get murdered," Superman said, not wanting to give anyone nightmares. Alan looked ready to argue, but instead he dried off the plastic around the chicken and tried to make it look like he'd set it out to thaw hours ago.

"Do you like ketchup or mustard on hot dogs?" Alan asked suddenly.


"My friend Freddie from school says only kids like ketchup on hot dogs so I've been asking people."

"You should tell Freddie you can put ketchup on whatever you want," Superman said. He stopped himself from adding 'because you're an American' because he didn't think ten year-olds understood irony.

"But what do you put on hot dogs?"

"Mayonnaise, tomatoes, and sauerkraut."

Alan's face twisted up into an expression of extreme disgust. "Sauerkraut?" he asked, horrified.

"Sometimes onions."


"You should try it sometime." Footsteps coming closer, not quite running but still hurried. "You should get the door for your mom."

Superman tried to finish off his cocoa before she got there, not wanting to be any more rude than loitering in someone's apartment uninvited ever was.

"Alan!" The kid's mom bent down to hug her son tight, which he clearly did not appreciate. He tried to squirm away while she smothered him with kisses.

"Mooom," he protested. "You're embarrassing me in front of Superman."

"Thank you so much," she said.

"It's no problem," Superman said, drifting toward the still-open window. "You got this under control?" She nodded, so he gave her the half-wave, half-salute that he almost always gave when he flew away.

He couldn't actually remember where he picked that up, but people seemed to like it, so.

He resisted the siren song of Turkish desserts, because he was tired and he usually went there as Clark and that was a recipe for disaster. He flew higher than was strictly necessary, because he liked the way the air smelled when it was thin. Back to his apartment, and once inside he peeled his costume off, rubbed his cape in his hair so he wouldn't leave an oilslick on his pillow.

(He had more then one cape. He could wash it. It was fine.)

Clark slid back under the quilt beside Lois, and she made a discontented sleepy sound. "Why are you so hot?" she demanded groggily.

"Good genes."

The actual answer was 'super-speed', but that wasn't as fun.

She felt around for an extra pillow so she could hit him with it. He ignored it, curled around her the same as he had before. She let him pull her back against his chest, sighed and relaxed against him. He kissed her shoulder, and listened to the sound of her heart.