Spoilers: Season 6 & "Superman Returns"

Disclaimer: No infringement intended… don't own Clark or Lois…. Wish I did, though.

Rating: M (just to be safe)


Metropolis, 2008

"Smallville, could you get a move on? We're going to be late and it's all going to be your fault," Lois said, through clenched teeth, as she turned to glare at the man driving the car.

Clark willed himself to not take the bait, but he couldn't help himself. He shrugged off her complaint and shot her a fake smile. "When is it ever not my fault? Lois, the world could stop spinning and move backwards and you'd figure out a way to blame me."

Lois sighed and turned away, staring sightlessly out the window. They were on their way to meet with a renowned physicist for a class paper. Lois cursed herself, for the umpteenth time, that "L" came after "K" in the alphabet and the professor had assigned partners alphabetically. Why, oh why, couldn't Lori have been in the freakin' class? Or Lana? It took a second for Lois to realize that her name still came before Lang and Lemaris. Damn it. Now she was stuck with Clark for the whole semester and destined to be late to every meeting.

Lois continued staring out the window, focusing on the rain hammering against the glass. She ignored the other person in the car, trying to get control of her seething thoughts. There was a part of her that was pretty angry at him for making her wait an hour before picking her up. Another part of her was completely baffled at the level of her anger.

It wasn't like it was the first time he'd promised to do something with her and then bailed at the last minute. At least this time he'd actually shown up – she had been fully expecting him to meet her in class the next day with an apology and sheepish grin, like he'd done so many times before.

Clark glanced over in her direction, a bit taken aback by Lois's uncharacteristic silence and anger. He'd known, of course, that she'd be irritated when he was late to pick her up for the appointment, but he hadn't expected her to be this angry. But what could he do? He couldn't very tell her the truth – that there'd been a fire a few streets down and he'd stopped to help.

Again, he wished he could just tell his friend what was going on, but he knew it wasn't possible – already too many people knew for his peace of mind. He would just have to take her frustration about his lame excuses and try not to get irritated in return. Unfortunately, that was easier said than done when it came to Lois Lane.

They drove on for another twenty minutes and then Clark couldn't take it anymore.

"Lois," Clark's voice broke into the silence that had settled over them in the car. "I said sorry, okay? Are you going to give me the silent treatment the whole way?"

"You know what really gets me, Clark?" Lois responded, in a tart tone. "You never even have a good excuse. I mean, c'mon – you forgot your wallet? We're going to be late for this appointment because you left your wallet at home? If you had better plans and didn't want to do this, all you had to do was tell me - ."

"What do you mean by that?" Clark interrupted, as he pulled into the parking garage of the building in downtown Metropolis. He parked the car, but left the keys in the ignition as he turned to face her. He grabbed her arm to stop her from getting out of the car. "Lois, give me a second. Just because I was late does not mean I don't want to be doing this, okay? Unlike you, I'm glad we're partners in this class. I think we work well together."

Lois ignored the compliment and instead turned back to look at him suspiciously. "Really? Because Lori told me you had to cancel a date with her, you know. She wasn't exactly thrilled about it."

Clark winced. She was right – Lori hadn't been happy about it. Lois wasn't the only one who'd been irritated that they'd been partnered up in the journalism class. Lori thought it was too dangerous for Clark to spend as much time with Lois as he did. While Lori didn't have issues with Chloe knowing his secret, she didn't want to add Lois to the list of people who knew. And she thought that Lois was by far too perceptive and would start making connections on her own soon enough.

Even though he understood what Lori meant, he found that he couldn't not hang out with Lois. Other than the fact that they shared almost the same class schedule, it was impossible to avoid Lois when she was his girlfriend's roommate and his best friend's cousin. Plus, she was fun to be around and a good friend.

"Lori had nothing to do with it," Clark finally said, releasing his hold on Lois's arm. He smiled ruefully. "You know me, Lois. I just forgot my wallet and then got held up in traffic."

Lois paused and looked at him, searching his eyes for a second. She knew he was lying – or rather, not telling her the full truth. But, as usual, she decided to let it slide. She wasn't his girlfriend – he didn't owe her anything. If Clark didn't want to share, he didn't want to share.

"Fine, Smallville," Lois responded abruptly with a sigh. "I'm sorry, too – I over reacted. It just irritates me when we're late for a meeting. I hate being late – must be a military thing." She looked down at her watch. "Look, it's already seven – so, let's just go, okay?"

Another time, another place….

Metropolis, 2019

"Clark, hurry it up," Lois exclaimed, as she moved into a brisk walk. She pushed through the glass revolving doors, with an impatient look over her shoulder at her partner. Her heels clicked and slid a bit on the polished marble floor as she moved towards the elevator.

"Slow down, Lois!" Clark replied cautiously. He ignored the dirty looks she was shooting his way as he looked down at her impractical footwear with a raised brow.

Lois rolled her eyes and jabbed the elevator button repeatedly. She looked down at her watch. "Great, it's 7:05 –we're late."

Clark pushed his glasses back up and pointed out in a mild tone, "By five minutes. I'm sure it'll be fine."

"You always say that!" Lois shot back and grimaced. "I hate being late."

The elevator doors opened and she quickly got in, grabbing Clark and pulling him in along with her. She looked at the row of buttons and hit the one that took them to the highest floor. They were scheduled to meet a prestigious physicist – one who was going to explain to them the theory of quantum linear molecular displacement – whatever the hell that meant. Lois had every feeling that the scientist was a quack, but she'd interview the guy if it made Perry happy.

Lois glanced back down at her watch with a frown. "I can't believe he's making us meet him at night. This is the third time this week I haven't had dinner with Richard and Jason."

Clark was silent for a minute. When he spoke, his voice was full of regret. "I'm sorry, Lois."

Lois looked at Clark for a second and her gaze softened. He genuinely looked concerned and sad about her ruined dinner plans. Suddenly, she felt absolutely horrible for taking out her frustrations on him. The truth was, she was kind of relieved that the assignment had given her another excuse to avoid Richard. Things had been awkward for them in the past month and she wasn't exactly unhappy the late night interview had popped up.

"It's okay, Clark," Lois said, abruptly. She strode out of the elevator and walked towards the empty lobby, her long raincoat fluttering around her. She turned back to him with a slight smile. "Just next time, make sure you have your wallet, okay?"

Clark's response was cut off by the appearance of a short, squat man, with a purple bowler hat perched on his bald head. He was wearing a dark purple suit, with pale green bowtie. Clark looked him over, trying not to laugh. The man looked ridiculous.

"Miss Lane? Mr. Kent?" The man spoke softly, with a British accent. He graciously shook their hands and murmured, "Thank you for joining me. I apologize for the lateness of the hour, but I did need to make sure you could see the stars, you know."

Lois and Clark exchanged a confused glance and then looked back down at the man before them.