Author: Marcy (DHCgirl)
Summary: Post Façade Ficlet. Lois ponders her current situation.
Disclaimer: No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Take it
Notes: My first foray into Smallville fanfic. I'm new to the show and really anxious to write some Lois/Clark stuff, so I decided to test drive the dynamic in this little fic. It's scary to leave my safe world of Cordelia/Angel shippage, so please be kind! Un Beta'd.
If there had ever been a more aptly named town on the face of the earth, she hadn't seen it. With a disproportionate ratio of livestock to electrical appliances and a population that barely eked over double digits, it was a milquetoast hamlet that made Mayberry look like Metropolis. It brought an inherent claustrophobia to the surface that at times made her squirm and fidget and pray for re-release into the real world.
Times like this; sitting on a grassy bluff at the Kent farm, looking out over a large expanse of corn and nothingness. Mostly corn.
And yet something about it resonated. As much as she tried to hold the town in contempt for all its trite, banal picture postcard shortcomings, there was a part that got to her. Maybe its sense of permanency struck a chord that a life of moving from army base to base had left unplucked. She hated to admit it, and if anyone asked she would deny it until the, what she could only assume was Smallville's staggeringly large population of, cows came home, but it was almost kind of charming.
And Lois Lane did not charm easily.
He had once again managed to sneak up on her unnoticed, but she didn't give him the satisfaction of a flinch. Instead she planted two firm hands in the ground and twisted to find Clark, arms crossed and questioning. He had changed out of his sopping wet shirt and into a deep red flannel one, correctly anticipating the evening's chilly bite. She shot him a 'what are you waiting for?' look, patting the open grass beside her. He seemed to consider the situation with unease, conflict registering loudly on his face, before finally walking up and plopping down beside her. "What are you doing out here?"
Lois shrugged and gestured towards the sea of crops. "Just taking in the scene. Spacious skies. Amber waves of grain." She frowned. "God, this place must be a asthmatics worst nightmare."
"Well, we are the antihistamine capital of the country," he informed her, picking up a small stone and tossing it in his hand. He wore an innocent and vaguely disinterested look, as if merely spouting Kansas highlights like a jaded tour guide.
He pitched it out into the cornstalks. "No."
Lois rolled her eyes. "Cute, Kent. Real cute." He was smirking, and she could tell that he was relishing the victory of having finally one-upped her. But she wasn't conceding defeat quite so easily. "So Farmboy does have a sense of humor after all. Good to know."
"You were under the impression that I didn't?"
"Have you ever heard the saying actions speak louder than words? Well yours were screeching a chorus of I'm an uptight stick in the mud." She knew that would get to him.
It did. "Stick in the mud?" He appeared horrified at the charge.
Lois looked him up and down.
"Well, that stick was somewhere."
She sat patiently, waiting for the fallout. She was sure he was going to revert to his huffy self and jump on the defensive like he had done on every occasion since their fateful meeting in that lightning charged crop circle. She knew that he built up walls around him to keep himself safe. Brick by brick he kept people out. She could always recognize a fellow mason.
But the anticipated reaction never came. Instead he did something that surprised her. He beamed a megawatt smile rivaling the one that he sent her after his dunk tank drop. And then he laughed. "So all things considered, how was your first week at Smallville high?"
While she was pleasantly surprised with his seemingly newfound ability to take a joke, she was less enthused about the change of subject. She scrunched her nose in aggravation. "Well, being drop kicked down the social ladder has been one of my more ignominious moments."
"Ignominious? I'm guessing your graduation troubles weren't vocabulary related."
"Truancy," she said, flatly. "High school is just a glorified holding cell where everything is overly regulated by some faceless school board that places arbitrary limits on our civil liberties. I have a problem with authority. Every teenager with a healthy sense of rebellion does."
Lois let out an audible scoff. "What a shocker. Lemme guess, this will be your fourth consecutive year defending your title of Mr. Perfect Attendance."
Clark leaned in closer, casting his voice in a low, conspiratorial tone. "Well, in case you've missed it; you and I? We're very different."
"Hey, you're preaching to the converted," she assured him, throwing up her hands in mock defense. "I got that distinction on day one. It's the others you have to worry about."
He pulled back, confused. "Others?"
Lois nodded. "Chloe. You should have heard her on the way home from the pep rally. According to her we have 'more in common than we think'," she mimicked, air quotes in full force. "Naturally I countered, but she chalked it up to reporter's instinct. You know I love my cousin, and normally I trust her opinion, but this time her nose for news is suffering from some serious post nasal drip."
"She really said that?"
She studied his face. His jaw was set in a hard line as he processed this information. In their short time together she thought she had gotten a handle on him. A mild mannered pretty boy, with dreams of varsity stardom and a weakness for the Lana Langs of the world. But every time she was sure she had him pegged, he revealed a new layer. In fact, it seemed as though Clark Kent was only dependable for one thing; throwing her for a complete and utter loop.
Case in point; the past week. While they continued to relate solely through deflective banter, he set out on his tunnel vision quest for entrance into the jockstrap society. But just when she was about to write him off, he goes and does something completely endearing like rescuing her from a plastic surgeon hell bent on revenge.
A fact she suddenly realized that she had yet to acknowledge.
Her face twisted into a pained look of squinted eyes and clenched teeth as she prepared to eat some serious crow. "Thank you," she managed somewhere in her groan. Off his confused look she continued. "For saving my life the other day. I was on the verge of the world's most literal face lift and you swooped in and saved the day...or maybe it was more of a stumble."
She could have sworn she saw a blush creeping onto his cheeks. He ducked his head, shaking off the compliment. "Well, if memory serves there was some mutual life saving."
Lois perked at this. "Hey, you're right. I'm great." She deflated a bit when he looked nothing but skeptical. "Well, either way, thanks. It means a lot to know that in all this craziness there's someone I can count on." And she meant it. God knew the list of people in her life that she could trust was the size of a Post It. And something deep down, maybe her own burgeoning reporter's instincts, told her that this one might just climb his way up it.
"Yeah. I know what you mean." Instead of turning away in his uncommital, Clarkish way, like she had expected him to, he locked onto her eyes.
As much as Lois hated awkward silences, serious moments of any kind also registered high on her danger scale. Once again those bricks were to blame. Levity was her lifesaver, so she proceeded in typical Lois Lane fashion. A wicked smile played on her lips and she raised a daring brow.
"Careful, Kent. We keep this up and we may be in danger of actually becoming friends." She nudged his shoulder gently with her own, trying to coax a smile.
His look remained pointed. Firm. "And do you really think that would be all that bad?"
As she looked at him she felt herself being pulled down from her perch of comfortable superficiality. The wall was cracking, and for the life of her she didn't know why. Soon it was over and she was right there with him. Serious. Unguarded.
"I guess I don't," she admitted, flummoxed.
"Well would you look at that? Looks like we have something in common after all."
He eased his way up off the ground and dusted off the back of his pants, before leaving her with her thoughts.
Lois wondered how in the world she had gotten where she was. Thrown off her life plan. Trapped in a small town. The smallest of towns...
And now, for the first time, rendered completely speechless.
She added it to the list of surprises. And so continued the weirdness that was Clark Kent.
"Lois?" She shook herself out of her daze to find that he hadn't gotten far. A few feet. "Do you really think I'm uptight?"
Tension evaporated and once again she was looking at the insecure farm boy. She regained her sardonic, self-assured footing with an ineffectual hair flip. "Naw," Lois answered. "Actually I think you're really..." She only had to think for a moment before the descriptor she was searching for jumped to the foreground. A bolt from the blue and oddly fitting. That familiar, brazen smile stretched across her face. "Super."