Date Night – Part III – The Morning After

Clark woke up in his own bed, all of the usual early morning sounds of the farm drifting in through his open window. He could still smell Chloe's scent on his shirt, and Clark smiled. They'd spent the night on the roof of the Metropolis Tower, dancing, talking and kissing under the stars. Finally Clark had brought Chloe home to her dorm in Metropolis, just before dawn. He'd even dealt with the early part of the chores at home before he'd gone to bed, so waking up at nine-thirty was a luxury he could allow himself. Clark reached for his cell phone to call Chloe, but he thought better of it, since even on normal nights, Chloe was a late sleeper. There was a crash, a feminine groan and then a shout, and Clark got out of bed, wishing that Lois had the same interest in sleeping past noon her cousin did. Making his way down the stairs, Clark heard the sounds of breakfast being made and a male voice, speaking to Lois in considerate, hushed tones. The awareness flowed over Clark like a wave - Lois had brought Oliver Queen back to the farm. Clark shook his head and walked into his kitchen.

"Morning." Oliver greeted Clark with a friendly, slightly embarrassed smile. "This is completely awkward, but Lois insisted on making me breakfast. She came and picked me up at the Smallville Inn, too. Woke me up." The billionaire looked slightly rumpled, as if he'd fallen asleep in his green t-shirt and jeans, and Clark let himself feel a little sorry for Oliver.

"Yeah, she's making waking people up a priority today." Clark rubbed the back of his neck. "Lois? That room in your apartment where the refrigerator is? That's your kitchen. Go use it."

Lois turned, smiling. Clark squinted at her red t-shirt, the lettering proclaiming her to be a "Monster Truck Babe" in sparkly blue and silver letters. "Good morning, Smallville. Want your eggs over easy? I'd make you scrambled, but I'm trying to branch out."

"Nice shirt, Lois. Didn't they have one in your size?" Clark observed dryly, walking past her to the refrigerator. "Wonder where you got the tickets for the Monster Truck Rally?"

"Funny thing." Lois replied mischievously, her eyes darting over to where Oliver was engrossed in the financial pages of the Sunday paper. "A friend wasn't going to be using them for his special first date with a wonderful reporter. This same friend still owes me quite a bit of yen for my ruined red silk dress, by the way. I was glad to help him out, since my boyfriend had never been to a monster truck rally. Can you imagine that?" Ignoring Clark's outraged glare, Lois smiled benevolently. "Speaking of help, how was your date?"

"It was good. I hate to admit you were right, but you were right about everything." Clark admitted reluctantly, a smile creeping across his face remembering, as he took the orange juice out of the refrigerator. "You owe me for those tickets." He opened the container and looked in, preparing for a long drink.

"You owe me for my dress AND the perfect advice about how to make my cousin happy." Lois snatched the orange juice from Clark's hands. "Don't drink that out of the carton. There's company. You'd better go get dressed, Clarkie. Chloe's on her way here."

"But, I just left her…" Clark protested, and Lois waved her hand.

"I'm her cousin. Who do you think she called the minute she got home? And didn't she think it was a great idea to surprise you this morning? I'm full of great ideas."

Lois smiled triumphantly. "Ooo, do I hear her car in the driveway?" Lois cocked her head, and Clark moved off to get dressed, passing his mother on the stairs. Martha Kent, fully dressed, patted her son on the shoulder affectionately and continued to the kitchen. It didn't take long for Clark to be showered, dressed and ready, so, he sat in his room, listening to Chloe and Lois laughing, and the sounds of his mother saving breakfast from Lois' inexperienced hands, while he considered his options. On one hand, Clark reasoned, he owed Lois everything. It had been her idea that had finally gotten he and Chloe together, but on the other, it was a nasty trick to pull. He'd gotten even with her for that – the dormitory shower should have taught her a lesson Friday night. She'd gotten back at him by helping herself to his tickets, even though she had been right, Chloe would have never enjoyed the Monster Truck Rally. They were even, right? Clark thought about that. He'd be willing to let it all go, but there was the matter of Lois' dress. The right thing to do would be to replace it, and Clark resolved to do just that. He stood, and made his way back downstairs and first smiled, seeing Chloe, fresh faced and nursing a large cup of his mother's famous coffee, while Lois told Oliver and Martha the story of the plot. Listening to her, Clark realized that Lois had not one shred of remorse for her participation in the prank. Remembering that Chloe had told him, not too long after the day they had found the dead girl in the wall of Lois' apartment, that Lois was afraid of ghosts, Clark smiled. The perfect revenge had presented itself to him, in a way that he could harmlessly bring Lois down a few pegs. It would be beautiful.

"Hey.." Chloe saw him and smiled, holding out a hand to Clark. "I wondered when you were coming back down. Your mom is making pancakes."

"Thanks, Mom." Clark smiled at his mother and then leaned down to kiss Chloe gently. "You okay? Not too much of a drive?"

"Are you kidding? I'd drive to Australia for your mom's pancakes." Chloe beamed up at him, snuggling under his arm. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine." Clark nodded. Lois grimaced at him, and Clark just smiled back in her direction. "I can honestly say that it is a perfect morning."

Chloe nodded, eyeing him suspiciously. "You sure?"

"Yes. You're here, Mom's making breakfast, life is good." Clark kissed Chloe's forehead. "I'm even okay with Lois right now."

"Well good." Chloe laughed. "After all, it is Sunday."

Finale - Mastermind

Lois Lane was never afraid. Well, maybe there were a few times she'd been scared shitless over something, but who wouldn't be in those situations? Being attacked by loony, mass murdering orderlies or meteor-rock crazy plastic surgeons isn't exactly run of the mill scary. But lately, things were down right creepy and it seemed like the only place she was safe was at home, alone. And even then, maybe not so much. Twice her keys were locked in her car, even though Lois knew she'd had them in her hand and remembered clearly putting them in her purse. She'd feel a tug on her hair and then turn to find no one behind her, just a little breeze kicking up around her. The most disturbing part of all of this was that these events took place at the Kent farm, and Lois, being pretty brave about most things, had developed a rather irrational fear of ghosts. She blamed this on her experiences with Chloe, and the dead girl that had been found in her apartment over the Talon a few months ago.

Other things, calls from Jonathan Kent's cell phone, finding his speeches lying out before her on the counter, or even one morning waking up to find Shelby snuggled up beside her on her bed.

This had all started last Sunday night. Clark and Chloe had finally gone on a date, a real date, and Lois was patting herself on the back for being the mastermind behind the whole thing. It had been a brilliant, foolproof plot. It had ended with her best Japanese silk dress being ruined, which hadn't been part of the plan at all. But, that was a small price to pay for the satisfied gleam in her cousin's eye the next morning when Chloe had relayed all the juicy details of what happened AFTER Clark had dumped them both in a cold shower and left for coffee. Saturday night had been the big date, and from all reports, it had been a success. Lois had even gotten prime seats to the Monster Truck Rally for herself and Oliver out of the deal, and how could that have been a downside?

So, why the bad karma? Lois frowned, picking at her breakfast of scrambled egg whites, smothered in cheese and sprinkled liberally with hot sauce. Maybe a prank phone call to Clark really hadn't been the proper way to get the ball rolling, but Lois never did things the way everyone expected. She sighed and scraped her breakfast into the trash. Wondering if those brothers she'd heard Chloe talking about, the Winchesters, made house calls, Lois got dressed and headed out to Martha Kent's farm. She got out, greeted Shelby in her usual gruff manner (Hey, flea motel…) and went into the house. Hearing voices made her stop in her tracks, sweating a little. Illusion? Lois shook her head as she heard Clark talking to Chloe.

"It's been so much fun…" Clark said, as Chloe giggled a little. "You can't say she didn't have it coming."

"I know you and Lois have this hate/hate relationship going, Clark, but she did have your best interests at heart. Enough is enough." Lois heard her cousin's disloyal snort. "Practical jokes can only go so far…"

"You got that right, cousin." Lois said to herself, smiling. Of course it had been one of Clark's stupid jokes, Lois kicked herself for missing it in the first place. Now, ti was time to let him get it back a little. She shook out her hair, licked her lips and walked into the Kent farmhouse, eyes glowing. "Watch the master at work…"

"Uh, hey, Lois." Clark said uncomfortably. "Mom's not home. She'll be back in a few minutes."

"I've got time…all the time in the world." Lois replied languidly, gliding into a chair at the dining room table. "Yep, yep, yep."

"Why don't you go home and I'll have her call you?" Clark continued, slightly rudely, and Lois shook her head, extending a hand to look at her manicure.

"No. I don't want to go home." Lois turned and looked up at Clark with big, frightened eyes. "My apartment is haunted."

"Lois, come on." Chloe sighed. "It's not haunted. Anymore. We've been through this a million times."

"No, there's something. Something creepy and weird." Lois insisted, watching their faces. "Actually, I think I'm haunted. It doesn't matter where I go. It happens when I'm here too." Lois reached up to grab Clark by the wrist. "Clark, I think your father is haunting me."

"Dad? Why?" Clark asked uncomfortably, and Lois kept herself from laughing out loud. All she needed was a confession and Smallville was so ready to crack. She kept herself from looking at Chloe. If Lois even made eye contact with her cousin, there would be no way to keep from laughing.

"I've been finding his speeches. And my keys? The only time in my entire life that I ever locked my keys in my car was the day he was so mad at me over those campaign funds. It's him, and he's trying to tell me something."

"It's not my father's spirit, Lois." Clark answered dully. "You are imagining things. You're being careless, all distracted by the time with Oliver…"

"No." Lois said, raising the stakes by standing up and throwing herself into Clark's arms desperately. "Pleeeeeeaaaaasseeee, Clark. It's got to be. I don't know what else to do…" She reached up and smiled into his face trustingly.

"It was me." Clark confessed rapidly, desperately wanting Lois to let go. Lois exulted in the brilliant shade of mortified red he'd turned at her melodrama. "It was a joke. To get even for the call the other night and how smug you've been about it. It all turned out okay, but you really needed to be taught a lesson."

"That so?" Lois grinned, rocking back and forth on both feet triumphantly. "I'd say I hate you, but you are so pathetic right now. Next time, if you are going to plot against me, don't talk about it at top volume when I can hear everything. Really, Smallville, you're such an amateur." She patted Clark on the cheek and blew Choe a kiss.

"You knew? That whole "OMG, I'm so haunted" was a joke?" Clark gasped, and Chloe covered her mouth to hide her wide grin. The practical joke war between Lois and Clark had just been amped up to levels previously unknown, and Chloe couldn't wait to see what Clark would do next.

"Mess with the best, die with the rest, Smallville." Lois put her hands on her hips and grinned. "You will never out prank me. I'm the Mastermind, the Queen of Pranks. She waved as she left, letting the screen door close behind her with a sharp thud. "And, you still owe me my dress."