Author's notes:

This is the Lois and Clark: New Adventures of Superman fanfic I’ve had in my head for years. I loved that show when I was in my teens, and I've never stopped loving it, honestly. I don’t really write fanfic anymore, but I had to finish this and post it. “Top Copy” has always irritated me, being simultaneously one of my favorite episodes and with a solution that was way, way too easy. The idea of Kryptonite poisoning being “like cancer” is weird, because what, does Kryptonite start dividing relentlessly? Anyway, this is my version of things. I hope you enjoy.

Poisons That Open Your Eyes

by bananacosmicgirl

The damn beeping machine is back. 

Clark rarely swears, but the beeping noise cuts through his head like a knife, and what’s worse is that it means Diana Stride is once more closing in on him. It’s like being pray, a mouse sitting in wait while the great big cat prowls around. It’s not something he’s used to—and he’s quickly grown to hate it. 

Dropping behind Lois’ desk, he pretends to tie his shoelaces. A droplet of sweat is running down his back and he shivers. Nothing feels right. 

He glances over at the desk, hoping Diana won’t spot him. He’s exhausted, but manages to level one glare at the offending machine and once more, it crackles and smoke rises from it.

Diana growls in frustration. “He must be here. He must work here.”

It’s definitely better if he’s not here right now.

“Lois, do you have some aspirin?”

She glances at him. “Oh yeah, I think I’ve got some in my desk.”

She turns. 

He flees.



He takes a cab home. If he could, he would fly, but there is no energy left. Speeding out of the Daily Planet was all he could manage, with waves of nausea crashing over him, making him wonder if he’s going to throw up for the first time. The cabbie looks uncertainly back at him, probably wondering if it was the best idea he’s had to stop and pick up the sick-looking dude. 

The cab turns onto Clark’s street, and the motion has Clark swallowing hard to keep his lunch down.


How easy his life would be, if not for the green reminder of his home planet.

Well, maybe not easy. The image of Lois crosses his mind. But easier, anyway.

The cab pulls up outside his apartment. With shaky hands, Clark pays the man and stumbles out. He usually speeds around the world in minutes, but now climbing the stairs are akin to the effort of breaking an asteroid apart. Dragging himself up, each step is heavier than the last, and his fingers are shaking so badly that he barely gets the key into the keyhole. He has half a mind to ignore the lock and push the door open anyway, never mind the damage, when the key slides into place. Stumbling more than walking down the stairs, he collapses on the couch. 

He wipes his forehead and does the only thing he can come up with—he picks up the phone.


His mom’s voice sends a wave of warmth through him, warmth unlike the fever that is rising within. 

“Mom.” He hates the weak sound of his own voice. 

“Clark? What’s wrong? You sound awful.” She’s always been able to pick up any thread of pain in his voice, but this time, that ability is hardly necessary. 

“I need you and dad to come to Metropolis.”  

“What’s the matter?” There is concern in his dad’s voice.

“He sounds sick,” his mom says. “Clark, are you sick?”

“He doesn’t get sick.”

“Unless… Clark, is it—”

“Kryptonite,” Clark confirms. Nothing else in the world can make him suffer like this. 

He doesn’t want to burden them with his problems, but he has to. When he tells them that the poison is inside, he can hear their shock in the silence that spreads.

Fresh waves of nausea are hitting him more and more frequently until he has to put the phone away and promptly vomits in the trashcan. 

That’s an experience he could have lived without.

“Clark, are you all right?” His mother’s voice comes through the phone, tinny and concerned. “Clark!”

“I’m here, mom.”

“Oh, Clark, we need to get off the phone so we can book a flight to Metropolis.” 

“Great. I’ll be here at the apartment.”

“No,” his dad says. “Clark, you get yourself to a hospital.”

“Dad, they can’t operate. I’d break the scalpels.” Though, is that still true? With kryptonite in his body, he’s as breakable as any human. But what are would they operate? 

“There has to be something they can do.” There is hope in his mother’s voice.

“I guess you’re right. But I’d better go as Superman.”

He has to go, if there’s but the slightest chance… he can’t just sit here, or he will die. 


He doesn’t want to die. 

His dad asks if he has insurance, and Clark hasn’t even thought about it, but he figures they can work something out afterwards.

If there is an afterwards. 

He puts the phone down and hopes he’ll talk to them again.

He takes his glasses off. Shakily, he leans back and starts undoing his shirt. It’s taking everything he has to make his fingers do what he wants them to with the buttons. He fumbles, but finally manages. He stands to undo his pants.

That’s when he sees Lois.



She’s worried. It’s not something she likes to admit, ever, because worrying is not part of the Lois Lane image, but when her partner comes into the newsroom looking like death warmed over, she does. Clark is always healthy, always. Except that time in Smallville, but that was allergies, not sickness. In the time she’s known him, he hasn’t so much as had a cold, which if you ask her is entirely unfair, but still, that’s the way it is. 

Until now.

And he disappeared after asking for aspirin. She called his place, but the line was busy. Most likely, he’s talking to his parents. Whining. Man-colds and all that, he’s probably even worse if he’s so rarely sick.

Still, she finds herself in her car, driving to his place. 

She’s just going to check on him. Make sure he’s okay. Yell a little at him for getting sick in the middle of an investigation. 

It won’t do for anyone, least of all Clark, to realize how much she worries about him.

She raises her hand and is about to knock on his door, when she sees him on the couch. He’s undoing his shirt—and he’s looking much worse than when he left the office an hour ago. His hair is damp from sweat, and she can see his fingers tremble as they work on the buttons of his shirt. His color is pasty white, almost grey. He takes off his glasses.

And then she sees the blue. 

That’s a weird undershirt, she has time to think, until Clark pushes open the shirt a little more, and the very familiar red and yellow becomes visible. 

He stands up, shaking and unsteady, and what was a hint before becomes visible: the red and blue spandex with the yellow S on the front. 

He raises his gaze and he sees her.

The world stops spinning. 

They stare at one another. 

He’s half-Clark, half-Superman. His hair is wet but not slicked back. No glasses to hide his eyes. He has the pants Clark wore before to work, and the shirt is hanging half-undone. The Superman logo is as attention-grabbing as always.

He’s both.

And she’s never realized.

She’s worked with him for a year and a half, and she’s never realized.

All the flimsy excuses.

All the Superman exclusives.

All the situations they shouldn’t have been able to get out of.

Her ordinary partner is the extraordinary superhero. 

And then he falls.

He takes one step towards her and his legs no longer support him. He falls to the floor. If she had any doubt left whether her partner enjoys dressing up as Superman in his spare time or if he’s the real deal, that uncertainty disappears when the floor dents where his knees hit. 

Panic floods through her. She pulls at the door, but he’s locked it. She takes off her coat and protects her hand with it when she smashes through the window so she can open the door. 

Her heart is beating its way through her chest when she runs down the stairs to his side. He’s trying to get up, trying but failing. 

“Clark,” she whispers. “Are you all right?”

He’s not. She knows he’s not.

He looks at her, eyes clouded with pain. His face is white and agony lines his features. “Lois. Got to get… to a hospital.”

“You can’t go like this.” He can’t go as half-Clark, half-Superman. He can’t go to the hospital dressed in half a business suit. 

He pulls at the shirt, trying to get it off. The shirt rips because he shakes so badly. 

“Here, let me.” Lois has no idea how she’s keeping her voice so steady. She unbuttons the rest of the shirt and helps him pull it off. The cape unfolds, and she stares for a few moments, seeing her partner transform into Superman. 

She helps him with his pants. His chest heaves with every breath.

“Where are your boots? Never mind, you’ll have to go without.” She reaches for the phone and dials 9-1-1 with shaking fingers. 

“Nine-one-one emergency, how can I help you?”

“I need an ambulance right now. My—my friend—someone poisoned him, and he’s dying. Please.”

The man on the other end asks questions, asks for the address, asks what symptoms her friend is exhibiting, asks until Lois can’t take it anymore. 

“Just send the damn ambulance!”

“Ma’am, the ambulance is on its way.”

He’s supposed to sound reassuring, but Lois wants to reach through the phone and wring his neck instead.

She hangs up and kneels next to Clark. Superman. She has to call him Superman, even in her own head, because otherwise she’ll slip up and there’s a reason he hasn’t told the world. Most likely a hundred different ones.

He lied to her all this time.

She reaches out and touches his forehead. He’s hot, almost scalding, much warmer than any regular person could be and still be alive, but he turns into her touch. 

“What happened?”

He has to fight to get enough air into his lungs to answer. “Kryptonite… Diana Stride.”

“I knew it! But where?” She looks around. She should have looked already, why didn’t she do that immediately? “I don’t see anything.”

He reaches a shaking hand up to his chest. “It’s inside.”

“Inside?” Her eyes widen. If it were around somewhere, she could get him away, but—inside? How are they supposed to get it out if it’s inside of him? “How did this happen?”

She wonders if she imagines it, but Clark looks away, looks almost ashamed—but when he answers, and she knows it wasn’t her imagination. “She kissed me.”

“Kissed you?” Lois refuses to call her tone ‘screeching’, this is her normal voice, thank you very much.

“It wasn’t—I didn’t,” he mumbles. “I didn’t—kiss back.”

Lois cocks her head, because no, she didn’t think he would. On the other hand, she couldn’t have imagined him being stupid enough to let Diana Stride kiss him, either.

“I—I got sick immediately after that.”

“So the Kryptonite was on her lips somehow? Like, in her lipstick? And when she kissed you, you got it on your lips, and you absorbed it into your body.”

“I—I think so.”

“And now it’s causing chaos inside of you, making you sick.” She pauses. “Oh, god.”

“It’ll—it’ll be all right.” He has to squeeze his eyes shut, and a whimper escapes him. She has never heard him whimper and it cuts through her like a knife to the heart. She remembers her own thoughts on the way over, that he’d be whining about a cold. 

“How?” It’s almost an accusation. Tears are burning in her eyes. “How will this be all right? Clark!” 

He gets his breath back under control. “Lois… please.”

She blinks and the tears fall. She wipes them away with the back of her hand. “Can I get you anything?”

He gives a minute shake of his head. “Just… stay.”

“Of course I’ll stay.” 

Sirens in the distance. She hopes they’re coming for him.

Silence spreads between them, making his labored breaths all the louder. 

She tries to reconcile this man on the floor, this man in so much pain, with her strong and healthy partner, and with the greater than life superhero she has been worshipping since she first laid eyes on him. Her cheeks heat at the memories of how she’s thrown herself at Superman, all the while ignoring Clark—she even said she’d love him even if he was an ordinary man.

“Are you… angry?” His eyes are barely open. 

Angry. Is she angry? She should be, because he’s lied to her a thousand times, lied to her ever since they met—but right now, the fear is all-consuming. Cold, gut-wrenching fear. 

He’s dying, she’s sure of it. 

Kryptonite inside of him—and this time, she can’t pluck it out with a knife.

“No.” She chokes on the word. “No, I’m not… I’m not angry.” 

There might come a time, later, when there’s time to be angry.

Or there might come no such time.

The sirens arrive outside the building and a few moments later they come inside, two young men with a stretcher. 

They stop in their tracks when they see who’s on the floor.


“Please help him.” For the first time, Lois wishes she had followed in her father’s footsteps and become a doctor—perhaps then she could have helped. Perhaps then she wouldn’t have felt so useless. 

Surprisingly quickly, they find their professionalism and the two men hurry down the stairs. They’re carrying bags of medical supplies and they kneel next to Clark and start checking his vitals. Lois stares, tries to stay out of the way until Clark reaches out a hand to her. 

She takes his hand. Heat radiates from it and he’s shaking.

Superman’s hand.

Clark’s hand.

“According to the nine-one-one-call, he was poisoned?” one of the young men asks, dragging her attention to him.


“What kind of poison are we talking about?” 

She looks at Clark. Does she tell him? Does she divulge the secret of Kryptonite to yet another person? Can she trust them? 

“Ma’am, we can’t help him if we don’t know what’s wrong.”

“Just get him to the hospital.” She’ll tell whatever doctor will be in charge of Clark, but no one else. “You can’t do anything here, anyway.”

The young man, though obviously irritated, resumes working. They have to get Clark on his feet and walk him up the stairs to the stretcher waiting outside, because he’s so heavy they can’t carry him. It seems to zap what little is left of Clark’s energy, because he’s almost unconscious as they wheel him into the waiting ambulance. 

“Hurry, please, he’s dying.” She blinks hard to stop the tears from falling down her cheeks again. 

They load him into the ambulance and Lois gets in, and if either of the men think anything about it, they’re wise enough not to voice it. There is no way she’s leaving him right now.

“Is there any way into the hospital that isn’t so… populated?” she asks.

The men glance at each other and speak to the driver. They understand the need for secrecy. 

Clark’s life seems to slip away a little more with every passing second. He can barely keep his eyes open.

“You’ll be all right.” Lois sits by his head, despite having fought with him just a little while ago when he said the same thing. She runs a hand over his feverish forehead. He doesn’t answer.

They seem to treat him the way they’d treat any other patient. They cut his suit so they’re able to get it off, to access his body better. There are small probes on his chest to register something, a nasal cannula with oxygen beneath his nose, and a little thing on his finger that seems to register his pulse. She’s sure no one’s pulse should be over two hundred when they’re lying down, but she has no idea what Superman’s pulse usually is. Does anyone know?

He doesn’t seem to register much anymore, until suddenly he makes odd sounds, and Lois realizes he’s going to throw up.

“Turn him!” says one of the young men, also realizing what’s about to happen, and he grabs Clark’s head and shoulder. The other grabs Clark’s side, one hand on the lower part of his ribcage and the other on his hip, and they struggle to turn him on his side. The one by his head holds a plastic bag in front of him, and Clark vomits into it until there seems to be nothing left to expel. 

When the two men lever him back down again, Clark is limp in their arms.

Lois can’t breathe. It’s like there is an unyielding band around her chest, making it impossible to drag air into her lungs. Warm tears are spilling down her cheeks no matter how much she tries to fight them.

Clark is dying. 

She knows it. She’s known it from the moment he fell in his living room.

It might be seconds, or minutes, or hours later when the ambulance pulls to a stop and they open the back doors. There are people dressed in white coats waiting, but Lois doesn’t see any of them. In her mind’s eye, she sees Clark fall over and over again. 

She follows them numbly when they enter the hospital. They’re talking, but Lois doesn’t hear a word. They ask questions, and she answers everything she can. When they ask about what’s causing his symptoms, she turns to the doctor in charge and tells him quietly about Kryptonite. 

She turns back to Clark. They pull the rest of his suit off, expose his naked skin so they can get to it with their equipment.

She watches as they pierce his skin with a needle. 

They can pierce his skin.

They hang fluid and it drips into his body.  It looks so wrong. 

After a while, they leave him alone. They’ve drawn blood, they’ve given him what little help they can come up with at the moment, scrubbed him down in case there are traces of Kryptonite on him, and put a tube down his nose to empty the contents of his stomach. He’s hooked up to their machines, keeping track of his vitals. They’ve given him some pain medication, though no one knows if it will help.

He moves restlessly, pain wrecking his body.


She’s at his side in an instant, strokes back his hair. “I’m here. Are you feeling any better?”

He shakes his head, a tiny movement. “Hurts…”

She swallows hard, wants to help him though she can’t. 

“Glad… you’re here… Glad… you know.”

She smiles, a watery smile that threatens to turn into tears. “You should have told me.”

“Yes…” He squeezes his eyes shut again against a new onslaught of pain. 

He takes several deep, steadying breaths and looks up at her. “The witness…”


“In danger,” Clark mumbles, and another of those choked whimpers escape him.

“The police are watching him.” Lois takes his hand and squeezes it. “Don’t worry about it. They can handle it.” And really, right now, Lois doesn’t care one iota about Disanto. It won’t matter if he testifies against Diana Stride, because regardless of what happens, Lois is going to kill her for hurting Clark.

The door opens, and a doctor comes inside. Lois reminds herself that she’s standing next to Superman’s bed, not Clark’s, and she has to act as she would with the superhero. 

The doctor shakes her hand, introducing himself. 

“I won’t lie to you.” He looks at Superman. “I don’t know what to do. This Kryptonite Miss Lane told me about has invaded your system, and it’s spreading, almost like a cancer.”

“If it were cancer,” Lois says, grabbing onto what she knows as though it’s a lifeboat in a stormy sea. It might as well be.

“We’d try to kill it. With chemo or…”

“Superman,” she says, turning to Clark and being proud of herself that she remembered to use the right name. “Did you hear that?”

“I heard.”

“So we could try to burn it out, or heat it out, or radiation.”

“I’m sorry,” the doctor says. “It’s spreading like cancer. It’s not actually cancer. As far as we can understand from the people at StarLabs who’ve been researching this, what hurts Superman is radiation from this thing—it’s radiation poisoning. And I’m sorry, but we can’t fight radiation with more radiation. To be honest, there is no of treating radiation poisoning at all. We just try to lessen the symptoms.”

“But we can try.” Lois hates the doctor for what he’s not saying—that they don’t know how to save her best friend.

“I’m sorry.”

“Then get me the people at StarLabs!” Lois explodes. “Get them here now.”

The doctor takes a step back. “They’re on their way.” And he hurries out, like a rat scurrying away. Lois has no nice thoughts left for him. 

“It’ll be all right,” Clark mumbles, though his words are barely legible. 

“Of course it will be.” She doesn’t add ‘it has to be’.



She knows.

In the middle of all the agony, the nausea that keeps washing over him, that thought is crystal clear.

Lois knows his secret.

And she’s still here.

She’s still here, watching him, her hand atop his, squeezing gently. She hasn’t left, hasn’t yelled at him. Though she might later, it still makes him so very, very grateful that she’s staying right now.

He can’t concentrate on anything. The doctor speaking, saying something about cancer and Lois’ ideas about how to get rid of the Kryptonite wreaking havoc on his body, and he can’t follow the doctor’s words about why that won’t work. He hears the doctor’s tone, that it’s useless. Lois yells about StarLabs, and when he turns his head—and that little movement takes everything out of him—he can see her chest heaving and her hand going up to push angrily at a wayward strand of hair.

He has to reassure her, and he mumbles to her that it will be all right, although he honestly doesn’t know how.

Another wave of intense nausea hits him, but with the tube down his nose he doesn’t throw up. Still, he sees all the red in the tube. There’s blood coming from his insides and that can’t be good.

He falls back, wants to wipe at his mouth, wants the metallic taste gone, but there is no energy to do anything but lie there and shake.

He’s glad Lois is there, but he hates that she has to see him like this.

Her hand on his forehead is cool and comforting. Through heavy lids, he can see the tears rolling down her cheeks. He wishes he had the strength to wipe them away, wishes he could comfort her.

There is blackness tugging at him, a dark void reaching from the corners of his vision.

“Lois,” he whispers, wondering if it will be the last word he says.

“No. No, don’t you dare! You can’t leave me here. You can’t—”

And Clark wishes he could do something, anything, to stop the darkness from taking over.

But he can’t.

Chapter 2

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