Man Flu

by Signe

Superman paced up and down outside the hospital room. He'd been fine when he was doing something, flying Lex here, fetching doctors to see him. But the waiting, that was hard.

He resisted listening in to the examination - he knew how much Lex hated him eavesdropping, and he'd never gotten any better at bluffing to Lex.

The door opened, and Lex's current favorite doctor emerged. Tall, brunette, attractive. Clark hated her! He was convinced that Lex chose his doctors just to make Clark jealous, but she was a good doctor, at least he'd give her that.

"You can go in and see him now," she told him casually, moving as though to walk away.

"Wait! How is he? Is it-will he-?" He looked pathetic, he knew, grabbing at her lab coat sleeve so desperately, but this was Lex, who was never sick. Lex, who'd woken up this morning and told Clark in a faint voice that he was dying. Lex, who meant everything to him.

"He'll live, Superman." Her voice was neutral, but he could see a pulse beating too fast in the hollow of her neck - she was hiding something.

He crossed his arms and blocked her way, determined to get the truth. "Do you know what's wrong with him yet?"

"Oh, yes." There was a glint in her eyes that Clark didn't like. Maybe she realized that she was running the risk of Superman throttling the answer out of her, because she carried on. "It's man flu."

"Man flu? Is that a new strain? How serious is it?" The questions tumbled out.

"Oh, no, it's been around as long as man has."

"I've never heard of it before," Clark said doubtfully.

"Well, in roughly 51% of the population it manifests as a cold. In the remaining 49% we call it man-flu, in the profession."

Clark stopped for a moment in thought, slowly processing the words.

"Are you, are you saying that Lex has a cold?" he asked incredulously.

"Yes, Superman. A - common - cold." Her voice hitched in a suspicion of amusement on the word common, but Clark decided to overlook it for now.


"He can go home. He might want a day in bed, and a hot toddy and a couple of aspirin should do the trick."

Clark felt oddly embarrassed. Sure, it was Lex who'd said that he was dying, but Clark was the one who'd flown him here, it was Clark who'd tracked down Dr. Harland who'd been on holiday in Hawaii, Clark who'd actually worn a groove in the corridor floor from all his frantic pacing.

"Thank you, Dr. Harland," he said. He felt the less he said about her interrupted holiday, the better.

"You can go in and see him now."

"Um, yes, thanks."

Clark threw open the door, his cloak billowing behind him in the draft. Lex was propped up in bed, looking pitiful. He looked everywhere but at Clark.

"So, feeling a bit better yet?" Clark tried hopefully.

"Nod really," Lex croaked.

"The doctor said you could go home."

"I'm firing her - I need you to ged me a bedder one."

"She says it's man flu."

Lex glared at him.

"She's a quag."

"She did say you needed to stay in bed."

"Of course I do, I can't worg like dis." Lex sounded horrified, although the effect was muted by his poor range of consonants. "And I mide be infectious," he added.

"But I can't catch it. So I could keep you-company. In bed."

Lex looked up, hopefully.

"All day?"

"All day."

"Thad would be bery nice, Clarg. I thing it mide help me feel bedder."

Clark had a sneaky feeling Lex might get man flu more often now he'd discovered the fringe benefits.

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