Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
They tell me your blue skies fade to grey
They tell me your passion's gone away...
Well you need a blue sky holiday
-Daniel Powter, "Bad Day"
"It isn't even lunchtime, and already this day sucks."
Chloe Sullivan, better known as Lois Lane, leaned back in her chair, frowning at the dark-haired man who sat at the desk next to her. At the sound of her voice, he glanced up, the fluorescent lights overhead reflecting off his glasses, concealing his brilliant green eyes. An untidy mass of bangs fell over his forehead, his shoulders slumped, and his dark gray suit was rumpled, as if he'd left it on the floor and walked on it. He was a very unremarkable-looking guy.
Most people would never have guessed he was an alien.
"What's wrong?" he asked. His voice was pitched a little higher than was natural, to an unimpressive, almost meek-sounding tenor.
"Everything." Chloe growled. "Some kid in the basement scooped me on this story about City Council. Perry's threatening to fire me if I don't learn how to use commas. And worst of all, there's no coffee in the break room except the decaf kind."
"Well..." Her co-worker smiled a little. "Every now and then, even the famous Lois Lane gets scooped. It doesn't mean you've lost your edge, or that you've lost your passion. It just means you need to try a little harder."
Chloe glared at her screen, and her co-worker went on. "And you know perfectly well Perry won't ever fire you, not after you won that Pulitzer. You could start coming in at noon every day, and he'd put up with it. Anyway..." He flashed a bad-boy grin that didn't quite fit his nerdy exterior. "Just tell him you're leaving errors on purpose, so he actually has to earn his paycheck for once."
"He'll pop a blood vessel."
"No, he won't. He'll think it's funny."
"So what about the coffee situation?"
"That," he agreed soberly, "is a genuine crisis. 'Lois Lane' without caffeine is like a car without gasoline."
"I was wondering if a certain high-speed reporter I know might be able to run to the store and solve the problem."
"Possibly." He pushed his dark-framed glasses up on his nose. "But honestly, Chlo, I think the problem goes a little deeper than lack of caffeine. You're stressed."
"I am not."
"You are, trust me. This happens every so often. You work too hard, put in too many hours, for too long, you get stretched out like a rubber band, and sooner or later... you snap."
"I do not."
"You totally do. Last time, you wound up cussing out Perry. Remember?"
She shifted uncomfortably in her chair. "Well... he kind of deserved it."
"He moved you to a desk by the window. This is not a crime, Chlo."
"The light made it hard to see my screen," she said grumpily, aware that he was right. She'd overreacted then, and she was on the verge of making another big scene any time now. She could feel crankiness bubbling inside, threatening to explode.
"I don't think you need caffeine," he said. "You need to relax."
"I don't know how."
He laughed. "I do. Meet me on the roof in ten minutes."
"Um..." She frowned. "The roof? Why?"
"Trust me." He stood up, his bangs falling shaggily into his eyes, his shoulders slumped in a way that made him seem much shorter and narrower than he actually was. "Ten minutes."
Ten minutes later, she stood on the roof of the Daily Planet building, gazing up at the bright blue sky. It was a perfect early fall day. A cold front had just passed through, adding a slight chill to the air, and the sky was shockingly vivid, with no hint of the smoggy brown tint that tended to obscure it here in Metropolis. She couldn't see a cloud anywhere.
As she stood there waiting, something grabbed her, and she squealed as she found herself shooting upward, toward the brilliant sapphire vault overhead.
"Could you please give a girl some warning?"
"Sorry," her co-worker said cheerfully. He no longer looked geeky and unremarkable. The dark bangs were combed out of his eyes, the glasses had disappeared, and his voice was deep and smooth. He wore a tight blue and red costume that displayed every finely honed muscle in his body. "But I didn't want anyone to see me pick you up. It's better if people don't associate you with Superman too much."
She wrapped her arms around his neck. "I can understand that. So where are we going, exactly?"
"Right here," he said, and slowed to a halt. She looked down and saw that they were hovering over the city, quite a distance above even the LuthorCorp building. Since that was the tallest building in Metropolis, they were a long way up.
"It's beautiful," she said softly, looking over the glittering towers. It was also cold, but the warmth from his body kept her fairly warm, and she knew if she began to shiver, he could warm her further with his heat vision.
"Yeah," he agreed. "It is. I like to come up here and think sometimes. It helps me relax. I thought maybe it'd help you, too."
She leaned her head against his chest. Being this high above the city ought to freak her out, but they'd been friends forever, and she trusted him implicitly.
There had been a time when they'd been sliding toward something more than friendship, but he'd gone off for training, and when he'd finally come back they'd picked up their friendship without trying to deepen it. Still, she couldn't imagine her life without him, whether as a friend or, someday, as a lover. She couldn't imagine her life without his strong arms there to catch her when she needed him. He'd never let her fall, and she knew he wouldn't let her fall now.
Oddly enough, being so far above everything helped her relax. Maybe, she thought, it helped her put things into perspective. Everything that seemed so huge and insurmountable when she was sitting at her desk looked very small and distant right now.
"It's relaxing, all right," she said, and tilted her head up, looking at the blue sky. "It's a great day."
"Yeah, it is. On days like this, you feel like you can see forever."
"Well..." She laughed. "I guess you really can."
His white teeth flashed in a smile. "When things get too crazy," he said, "I like to hang out up here. Away from all the noise and the bustle. It's kind of like being back in Smallville, in a way."
"So this is where you come when you need a holiday, huh?"
"Yeah And if you need one, too, well... we can stay here as long as you like."
She sighed. "I have a couple of stories to write, three interviews to follow up on..."
"Chlo." He spoke gently but firmly. "You can't let your job drive you this crazy. Sometimes you have to take a break. Believe me, I know."
She supposed he did know, better than anyone, because no one else in the world carried the burdens he did. Her problems were very small and insignificant next to the ones he coped with every day. She ought to know. She'd been his friend since middle school, and she had a better understanding of the issues he struggled with than anyone else.
If anyone on this planet understood stress, it was Clark Kent.
"Well..." She felt herself wavering. "Maybe for a few minutes."
"We can spend an hour or two up here if you want, Chlo. However long it takes you to relax a little."
"Okay," she agreed, letting the question of how long they'd spend up here slide for now. Part of her wished they could stay up here forever, just the two of them, far above the world. "Let's hang out here a while. Together."
His arms tightened around her, and he gazed down at her. There was a spark deep in his eyes that made her think maybe he was thinking they could be more than friends, too. Someday. He smiled at her, a warm, genuine smile that spoke of their longstanding friendship, and maybe just a little bit more.
"Sounds like a great way to spend a holiday," he said softly.