Notes: My first foray completely away from the
JKR's Potterverse. This will just be a humorous little romp. Maybe ten
chapters, twenty thousand words or so. I'm going to follow most of Smallville canon (though I'm not an expert on it having only seen probably eighty percent of the episodes). This is taking place a few years in the future where Clark and Lois are partners at the Daily Planet and Superman has been around for a little while. Any and all comments are greatly appreciated, and any questions I will do my best to answer.
"You want another beer?" Pete asked from the mini-fridge in his private little basement den.
"You want to waste another on me?" Clark retorted back, slouching in the recliner that had practically molded to his body.
Pete handed Clark a beer. "Well Esmeralda says I can't drink alone, because it sets a bad example for the kids. So yes, I'll waste another on you if that's what it takes for me to enjoy a guilt-free beer."
"You know she's right," Clark began to lecture. "You really should be setting a better exa-"
"Farm boy," Pete interrupted. "Do I gotta go dig out my kryptonite or can you keep the sermon in your pants?"
"Sorry," Clark conceded slightly shamed. "I can't help myself sometimes."
"Don't sweat it," Pete waved him off and saw how antsy Clark was acting. Pete sighed and accepted his fate. "It hasn't been an hour yet, but you look like Mikey when he needs to pee, and I don't want you setting fire to the drapes again, so go ahead. Let it out."
And just like that, the dam burst. "She's driving me crazy!" Clark insisted. "All she does is flirt and tease and then make fun of me! It's getting worse!"
Pete rolled his eyes and quietly allowed Clark to vent.
"She leaves the top two buttons of her blouse undone, just so that she can think that she caught me looking when I'm not even really looking, well I mean not that much," Clark wailed. "And I don't even need to! With X-ray vision I could peep any time I wanted to, but it's simply the natural tendency of lines and vision if you draw someone's eyes somewhere then more than likely they're going to look there. It's so infuriating." Clark huffed and drank his beer.
Pete raised a curious eyebrow. "Is that all-"
Clark didn't even let Pete finish before he got going again. "We're working together all the time. She'll be open and honest, and just as I'm about to ask her out, she preemptively says no, before I ever ask. And she just keeps this smug smirk on her annoyingly cute face because she knows… Incoming."
Clark shut up and acted cool, calm, and collected just as Pete's wife Esmeralda came down the stairs into the basement. She was carrying a basket of laundry and looked at Clark in surprise. "Clark! I never heard you come in."
Clark just smiled his trademarked innocent farm boy smile and explained. "I didn't want to wake Mikey or Melissa."
"Please. Those two sleep like logs," Esmeralda retorted as she loaded the washer with clothes. "Just like their father. You two want something to eat? I could reheat some lasagna."
"Esmeralda," Pete whined drawing out her name.
"No thanks, Esmeralda," Clark smiled at Pete's pitiful moan. "I already ate. But I appreciate the offer."
"You give me a shout, if you need anything Clark," Esmeralda said with a warm smile. "I'll leave you little boys to your little boys' time."
"Thanks sweetie," Pete said shooing his wife away. "Don't wait up for me."
"Clark, remind my husband to put that load in the dryer, please," Esmeralda called out as she walked back up the stairs.
"You can count on me," Clark assured her.
"Suck-up," Pete mumbled and waited in silence.
Once the door was shut and she'd started walking to the kitchen, Clark turned to Pete. "Your little boys' time?"
Pete shrugged. "You spend your life married to a wonderful, beautiful woman and you'll need your little boys' time too. Besides, I need you to talk openly and honestly, so that I can live vicariously through you and your double life."
"I've told you, if you trust her, you can tell her," Clark reminded. "Come to think of it, why isn't she more suspicious?"
Pete avoided Clark's eyes. "Hmm?"
"Won't she notice the distinct lack of car for me in your driveway?"
"I uhh…" Pete grinned sheepishly. "I wouldn't worry about that."
"Did you tell her?" Clark asked seriously. "I'd like to know if she knows."
"I didn't exactly tell her," Pete admitted. "She may have kind of… guessed."
"Okay, I told her." Pete said sipping his beer. "It's pretty obvious when I call you and the commute from Metropolis takes closer to ten seconds than the four hours it should be. Unless you think anyone actually believes you always just happen to be in the area."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Listen," Pete said seriously. "You can't tell her that you know that she knows, okay?"
"What?" Clark said with a frown.
"Get over yourself, Clark," Pete said with a roll of his eyes. "She accepts it, she thinks it cool, she's proud of you, in awe of you, giggles at how normal you act, the usual. Don't go making up issues for your therapist."
"But she knows…"
"Yes, she knows," Pete retorted. "But only because I told her. And I told her that I wasn't allowed to tell her, so she has to act like she doesn't know and keep it all a secret so that I don't get in trouble with you."
"I don't mind though."
"But I do!" Pete snapped. "Since she doesn't know that you know that she knows about your little secret that means I get all the privacy in the world for our little boys' time because she can't stumble across your little secret that she already knows about."
"You're freaking me out, Pete."
"Just act like she doesn't know, okay? Okay," Pete asked rhetorically. He looked for a change of subject. "You wanna shoot some pool?"
"Yeah," Clark said before tilting his head and jumping to his feet. "Rack 'em up. Duty calls. Shouldn't take too long."
Pete didn't even flinch as Clark disappeared with a fwoosh sound, leaving behind a pile of clothes in his wake. Pete calmly racked the billiard balls on his table and began to chalk the tip of his cue.
Another fwoosh and Clark was standing behind him in his tights. "Oh so you get to break? I don't even get a choice in this?"
Pete stepped back. "You can break. Just… don't be thinking about Lois unless you're planning to do some more drywall down here."
"I will break," Clark insisted as he grabbed and chalked his own cue stick.
"Can you put a shirt on?" Pete pleaded. "You look ridiculous."
Clark pulled his loose fit clothes over his costume but only buttoned the shirt up halfway.
Pete waited until right when Clark was striking the cue ball and asked, "Crisis averted?"
Clark misfired barely shifting the rack as he scratched on the break yet again. Clark huffed and got up letting Pete take his turn. "Such a bad example for the kids."
"Preach on, Kent," Pete said as he lined up and pocketed his first shot. "It just goes in one ear and out the other."
Clark grinned, and waited until Pete was shooting when he blew out of the corner of his mouth ever-so-slightly, but enough to shift Pete's shot off line.
"I saw that!"
"Saw what?" Clark asked, looking innocent.
Pete reached out and grabbed the cue ball. "Cold, Kent. The cue ball is cold. Care to explain that?"
"We're in a dank, chilly basement," Clark argued. "And I'm not sure I like the insinuation." Clark grinned and lined up his first shot, pocketing it cleanly. "Yes, crisis averted. Just a little train derailing. No one was hurt, but a few kids were really scared."
Clark's next shot missed wide and he wondered if Pete bumped the table when he wasn't looking.
Pete's turn was next. "So is this how it's gonna be?" He lined up and sank the next ball. "Sunday nights, for the rest of our lives, I just get to hear you moan and whine about the lovely and intrepid Miss Lois Lane?"
"Well," Clark shrugged and considered the accuracy of that summarization. Thinking about the upcoming changes in their lives he suggested, "Football season is only a month away."
Pete missed his next shot, and felt the cue ball again. He was disappointed to see it didn't feel cold. He briefly considered if Clark could have blown it off course and warmed it back up with heat vision. "That's not what I'm talking about, Clark."
Clark lined up his next shot and missed it horribly. He rolled his eyes at how bad that one was. "I already agreed not to talk about her for the first hour any time I'm here."
"Clark," Pete continued. "You got it real bad for Lois. And Lois likes you. You two bicker enough to make George and Martha look like Ozzie and Harriet. She's just hung up with a crush on your larger than life alter-ego. And you're wasting your time whining and complaining, when you know there's an easy solution to all of this."
"It's not that simple."
"Yeah, it is."
"But I want her to want me, not Superman, me."
"Clark," Pete sighed. "I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you are Superman."
Clark just gave Pete an annoyed look.
"You're sitting there on your precious little higher ground thinking Clark Kent is who you really are, and Superman is the costume you wear, when that ain't true at all."
"You think I like wearing tights?" Clark scoffed.
"Yeah I do," Pete offhandedly remarked. "But again, save that conversation for your therapist. Superman is who you are just as much as Clark Kent. Actually, Superman is more who you are than Clark Kent, the so-called perfectly normal human. And finding a girl who likes Clark, doesn't necessarily mean she's gonna understand the alien-from-outer-space side of you."
"I know," Clark grumbled. "It's just…"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Pete nodded. "You don't want to tell anyone until you're sure because it's too dangerous. But honestly, this is Lois. And you. Not even you can be this blind."
"Yes I can!" Clark argued as he missed his shot. "I can… I'll be right back. Don't cheat!"
Pete looked up just in time to see a blur where Clark was standing and a pile of clothes left on the floor. Pete sank his first shot and then missed his second. He sipped his beer a bit and decided to take another shot. He sank the ball in the corner and lined up his next, when there was another fwoosh.
"You cheated!" Clark argued with a grin.
"I just sank the 11 in the corner. Check it if you don't believe me."
"Yeah but you missed the shot before it."
"Why would you accuse me so fallaciously of something like that?" Pete looked at him curiously, admitting nothing.
"Super-hearing Mr. Ross," Clark said tapping his ear. "You sank your first shot then missed your second."
Pete frowned and grumbled, "You need to focus on your superheroing when you're superheroing," Pete argued feebly, wagging his finger. "People could get hurt with your misplaced priorities."
Clark thinned his lips, knowing there was a grain of truth in Pete's words. "You still cheated. And that was just a plane that lost power. I set them down before they crashed."
"Fine," Pete conceded. "Take your turn, you two-bit hero."
Clark grinned and lined up his shot.
"Does Lois still wear that red polka dot bikini?" Pete innocently asked just as Clark shot.
A slip of concentration sent the cue ball flying into the opposite wall.
Clark sighed at the sight of a new hole but grateful it hadn't gone all the way through and into the yard or worse, the neighbor's Cadillac. "Where's the spackle?"
Pete chuckled and said. "You can get it next time. I'll just hang a poster up for now."
"That really is a great bikini," Clark admitted pulling the cue ball out of the wall.
"You've got to tell her," Pete argued, lining up and missing yet again.
"I can't," Clark said tiredly. "I just can't."
"And the vicious cycle continues."
Clark was hunched over the table thinking deeply. This was a pretty common conversation between Clark and Pete, and even Clark was beginning to tire of it. He was trying to imagine how Lois would react if he ever told her and he realized that her temper was more than likely going to overpower any other response she might have. He was trying to think of how to tell her when suddenly he had an epiphany. "I've got it."
"You're gonna tell her?"
"Nope," Clark said with a grin.
"What are you thinking?" Pete asked curiously.
"This is Lois Lane, investigative reporter," Clark began with a smug grin.
"And this is Clark Kent, Superman and super emotional midget," Pete pointed out with a smirk.
"Shush," Clark grumbled before explaining the details of his genius plan. "I was thinking it would be better, if rather than tell her, we were to let her figure it out."
Pete gave him a look of disbelief. "She's had a couple years working on that puzzle. I'm not so sure she's the most observant person in the world. Heck, when she's alone in a room, I'm not even convinced she's the most observant person in the room."
"That's because we keep hiding the truth from her," Clark said deviously. "I'm saying perhaps I should drop her a few more subtle hints and clues, and let her piece it all together."
Pete chuckled at the dangerous smile on Clark's face. He knew Clark was a man of many talents, but he doubted subtlety would ever make that list. "This should be fun."
"Can't be worse than our pool match," Clark commented noticing they were only halfway through the first game. "We still suck." Clark was trying to come up with some other recreational activities he could do with Pete, when his musings were interrupted.
"Don't even think about it, Kent," Pete grumbled as he lined his next shot. "I don't care how many beers you trick me into drinking. We're not arm wrestling again."