Title: Filling in the Blanks (A Mulligan Fic)
Summary: A very Clois take on the episode 'Blank'.
Notes: The Guardian is going to dark places – I need a light fic to balance myself out. This'll be 3 or so parts.
I need a brainwash So could ya please throw my head in a tub?
I need the clutter all
Thrown in the trash
I need a brain wash, cause I'm a loon
I could really use a cerebral scrub
Wash away what I know
It's an overrated frontal lobe
So could ya please throw my head in a tub?
"What the hell happened to the door?"
Clark's attention was immediately riveted to the newly exposed porch. The place where there used to be a series of locks and deadbolts - a brass knob and knocker. The now ghost of a doorway.
Had he had his senses about him - if his life, up until that moment, hadn't been a complete and utter blank - he would have immediately recognized the girl standing there - hands on hips and all sorts of incredulous - as Lois Lane.
Bane of his existence. Thorn in his side.
But a little green flash had wiped away months of precedent. A hundred petty fights. A million catty comments.
The clean slate afforded him something people rarely ever get - a second first impression.
And this time - under a new set of circumstances, a more favorable first encounter - when he set his eyes on the girl in the threshold - eyebrows arching higher and patience visibly waning - he thought one thing;
Oh my god.
Clark leaned in towards his coffee shop savior, the perky little blonde with the sparkly ruby brooch and cast his voice low. "Who is that?"
"Lois. My cousin," she whispered back.
Lois looked at them both, expectantly. "The door? Anyone? Bueller?"
Clark was about to answer when Chloe beat him to the punch. To his surprise she was already armed with an explanation. "Hinges were rusted and...umm...squeaking." To his further surprise it was a total lie.
"So you ditched the whole door?" Lois turned back to the yard, and the door that now lay in a heap of splinters. "Next time try a little WD-40."
Clark smiled. Beautiful and funny. He wondered where exactly this girl fit in his world.
Busted for staring, Clark stuffed his hands in his pockets and tried to look casual. "Nothing."
She gave him a once-over. "Are you feeling okay, Smallville?"
Clark glanced around. To his left. To his right. Behind him. At Chloe.
Finally he realized she was looking at him.
Her foot tapped out a beat. She was waiting. "Well?"
Her brow climbed higher. At this rate it would be at her hairline by his next dumb move. "I asked you a question."
Once again, he was lost. "My name is Clark, isn't it?"
Chloe laughed. "To most of us, yes." She turned to her cousin. The one with the sandy brown hair and pretty smile. The one who was looking at him as if he had sprouted an extra head. "Lois, have you seen the Kents?"
"They're out," Lois answered, her suspicious eyes still on Clark. It made him fidget. "Mrs. Kent said she'd have her cell phone."
"Great. I'm going to give her a call now." Chloe turned back and shot him a look that said 'don't be a screw up,' and he finally saw the family resemblance. "Try not to get into any more trouble while I'm gone."
Clark nodded, having absolutely no idea what she was talking about, but wanting to be a team player. Now batting for Team Amnesia, Clark ... umm...
As Chloe left the room, he began to think that her warning had nothing to do with whatever had caused the incident with the door - which, admittedly, he still needed to figure out - and everything to do with being left alone with the girl who was now fishing through the refrigerator.
He studied her carefully. He wondered if she lived in town. She was Chloe's cousin, and looked about their age, so it was conceivable that she went to their school. Maybe they had classes together. He'd borrow her notes from science and she'd save him a seat at assemblies.
He looked at his muscular arms. Maybe he was a jock. He doubted she was a cheerleader - body like a model, but mouth like a sailor.
Her top half swallowed up by the ivory door of the Frigidaire, Clark was really only left with one region to study. He noticed that the red, metal studs of her belt spelled out "Kiss My Ass" and blushed at the thought that followed. Suddenly he felt his eyes begin to burn - as if tears pooling in his eyes were made of hot lava. And before he knew it, the dishtowel that hung by the sink was suddenly ablaze.
What was that? He thought, as he frantically tried to fan out the fire.
"Hell of a morning, huh?" Lois said, completely oblivious to the five-alarmer that was burning to her immediate left. "I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to tell your parents when they get back from Metropolis. 'Hey, I know you thought you could leave me in charge of the Talon...'"' Clark grabbed an oven mitt and finally snuffed out the fire. " ''But who really thought that was a good idea?' ." She emerged with a pitcher of orange juice and sighed. "They're probably going to throw me out of the house."
Clark stared at the blackened terrycloth. "This house?" he asked, distracted. He eased the trash can open and dropped the evidence inside.
She ignored him and grabbed a glass from the cupboard. "I've gotten used to your bed. It's really comfy."
Clark's eyebrows shot up. "My bed?" he squeaked.
Lois turned around and rested her back against the stove. "Doing you best parrot impression?" she asked, taking a sip.
Clark's mind whirled as he tried to arrange the pieces of the puzzle.
She lived with him. Slept in his bed...
"So we're..." Clark awkwardly gestured with his hands. To him, to her. Back to him. Back to her. "I mean, you're my girlfriend?"
Lois did a spit take. He didn't have much in the way of memory, but Clark still assumed that those were reserved for cartoons and vaudeville comedy duos - that people didn't actually do those in real life.
Orange juice splattered on the kitchen counter. On the floor.
On Chloe's sleeve.
"Whoa. What did I miss?" she asked as she entered the room, wiping her jacket off as she did.
Clark looked at the still-gaping Lois and sheepishly scratched the back of his head. "I think I got something wrong."
Chloe laughed. "Lois, Clark has amnesia."
Lois had shaken off her catatonia and had begun to clean up her mess. "Yeah, well the head trauma was implied." She wiped up the last bit of juice and trashed the wet paper towels. Her eyes lingered a bit too long on the contents of the can.
Clark fidgeted more.
"We think it might have something to do with your friendly neighborhood coffee shop crook," Chloe said.
"So he pilfered more than the afternoon's take, huh?"
Chloe nodded. "I'm going to go back to the Talon and see what I can find." She tugged his shirt. "C'mon, Clark."
"Actually, can I stay here? With Lois?" Off Chloe's look of surprised he quickly added, "Being at home might help jog some memories."
Chloe looked to Lois and shrugged. "Your call."
Lois shrugged right back. Dueling 'whatevers'. "Sure. Not like it'd be the first time I've had to play nursemaid to Total Recall, here."
"Alright, I'll swing back if I find anything." She went to open the door, only to remember she didn't have to. "Oh, and Clark. No matter what Lois says, you don't owe her any money."
Lois stuck out her tongue. "Killjoy."
"Bye, Clark," she said. "Lois?"
Chloe's eyes narrowed, playfully. "Behave."
And then she was gone.
"Don't listen to her. I'm going to take good care of you." Lois threaded an arm through his, and led him towards the first of the farm house's many country kitsch rooms. Her lips curved into a smile that reminded Clark of a crocodile before a fatal snap.
"... And you hate, hate, hate plaid."
A half an hour later and Lois had taken Clark on a walking tour of his life. "Not the whole novel." she'd confessed. "Just the cliffs notes." He saw the room that used to be his; the one now littered with her belongings. When he asked where he slept, she ushered him to the couch that he now called home. "Welcome to your bed." It hadn't looked all that welcoming.
He met his dog - a shaggy golden retriever that had nuzzled his hand with a wet nose.
He saw pictures of his friends. His parents. He offhandedly mused that he had his father's jaw. She offhandedly informed him that he was adopted.
She showed him football trophies with his name etched in gold plating; Newspaper articles with it inked on the byline.
She ticked off his likes and dislikes like a bad personals ad.
As she prattled on, he nodded along, half listening.
The details of his life were interesting , and something he should probably be aware of - but he had decided that the storyteller was infinitely more fascinating. And so he focused on her, instead.
He'd discovered a lot about Lois Lane. She stretched her short a's to long; her 'magazines' becoming 'may-gazines'. Her 'haggle,' 'hay-gle'. She had a million epithets for him - from Smallville to Farmboy, Mr. Greenjeans to Clarkie - and preferred them all to his actual name.
She managed to make his head spin and put him entirely at ease at the same time.
Standing in the barn, she had finally finished her latest 'Clark Kent, This In Your Life' monologue and he realized that the tour was almost over.
"That's... a lot to process," Clark admitted, his deep sigh like an exclamation point.
"Well, it was 17 years in 27 minutes. And we still aren't done."
He quickly tagged behind as she walked up a flight of rickety, clapboard stairs.
It had been a lot of information, but she hadn't so much as touched on what he really wanted to know. That, he decided, would be something he'd have to investigate himself.
"So, you're Chloe's cousin. But you live here?"
She hopped the steps, three at a time. "Yup. Long story."
A few strides of his own and he had bridged the gap. "I kinda think I'd like to hear it."
She eyeballed him for a moment. "Well, it involves murder, blue chips, a lot of booze and ..."
Lois huffed. "And I feel like all of my conversations with you are filed in triplicate."
She'd dealt with his amnesia before. He had no memory of former dialogues, and she kept reliving hers.
"Hey, it's not your fault you've got a hypothalamus like Teflon."
"Hippocampus," Clark corrected. "Hypothalamus controls the nervous system. Hippocampus is memory."
"See? What is with that?"
Again, Clark missed a turn. "What?"
"Why is it that people with amnesia always retain certain factual things - How to talk, how to tie their shoes, how many days are in February. Why is it that when your tabula gets rasa'd, it's only the personal stuff that goes?"
"How would I know?"
"Well, you're living it!" She shook her head. "It's just weird."
Clark frowned. She had a point. He couldn't tell you his favorite movie or his mother's maiden name, but for some reason he knew that the Declaration of Independence had been influenced by the Locke-ian principles of Life, Liberty and Property and that 'tattoo' came from the Polynesian word 'tatau' (pronounced tat-tow) meaning 'to tap'.
It was weird.
But it wasn't the mystery he was interested in solving.
"So where are we exactly?"
He looked around the barn's loft. Track lighting stretched across the ceiling, illuminating, among other things, an old oak desk and black and white striped futon. There were piles of books - maps and globes - a cartographer's wet dream.
"This is your fortress of something-or-other. You come up here to wallow in self-pity and play with your telescope."
Clark just gawked at her, his face beet red. She rolled her eyes and pointed to the window and the actual telescope.
"Oh," he said, embarrassed. He bent down to take a look, but stopped before he got to the eye piece, wondering if she had rimmed it with shoe polish. It was true that he didn't know her that well. But for some reason it seemed like something she would do.
"I look at stars? Isn't that kind of...lame?" he asked.
"Yeah," she agreed. He would have been insulted if she didn't follow it up with a friendly smile. "You've got this bizarre fascination with outer space. You'll have to explain it to me when your grey matter is fully functional again."
He smiled back. "Deal."
The prospect of spending more time with her - regardless of the activity - was an exciting one.
"I'm really hungry," he announced, suddenly.
"Thanks for the update."
"Maybe we...you and me...we could go out. To dinner."
Next came a parade of emotions. First shock. Then skepticism. Followed by more skepticism. And then, finally, gut busting, tear-springing laughter.
"You're laughing at me."
"No," she said, choking back a fit of giggles. Her mouth pinched together and her whole jaw began twitch. Finally, the dam was about to break, and she couldn't hold it in anymore. "I'm sorry," she apologized, wiping her eyes. "I'm just picturing your face when you get your memory back and find out you spent the bulk of your time putting the moves on me."
Clark scowled. "I don't see why that's funny."
She patted his chest like he was the poor village idiot. "Of course you don't. But if you knew you, you'd think it was hysterical."
"Explain to me how I am living with an amazingly beautiful girl, and I haven't once asked her out?" he said. "I mean, I feel like I'm missing something big here. You didn't, like, shoot my dog or something did you?"
"No!" Lois replied, hotly. "I didn't shoot him..."
"Well then what's the problem?"
"There is no problem," she said. "We just don't think of each other that way,"
"That can't be true."
"And why's that?"
"Because right here, right now, I really like you."
For the first time since they met - 32 minutes, his time - she was silent.
"How do you feel about me?" he prodded.
"Honestly? Never really thought about it."
Lois shrugged. "You're sort of off limits."
The missing piece of the puzzle. Now he just had to figure out where it went. "What do you mean 'off limits'?"
Feet clomped quickly up the stairs, and Chloe popped into view.
"Hey guys, I think I've got our lead." She held up a small, plastic card. "What'd I miss?"