A/N: Okay, so I tried to not do this... but another birthday came and went and I felt bad about not giving myself a fic-present. It was my own tradition after all (seeing as I started the tradition last year with fic-presents) so I gave in to my own demands.
For those interested, last year's me-present 'Green Eyes' can be found on my profile here.
Or at the archive, here: clfanfic. freeweb7. com
Like last year, I broke my box of toys and did something I don't do: wrote a songfic. This time the choice is "Behind Blue Eyes" as covered by Limp Bizkit (not The Who version). If you had to give this a designation, you could call it a 'companion fic' to last year's party favor. Don't worry if you haven't read it - these can stand alone, or they can stand together. It's all gravy, baby. indiscreet cough In case anyone was wondering, presents will still be accepted even though it is a Belated Birthday Party.
Have fun! Don't drink if you're too young or if you're the designated driver. We are on a trust system here, people. gives pointed and hopefully guilt-inducing look
Behind Blue Eyes (Happy Belated Birthday to Me)
No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man, to be the sad man
Behind blue eyes
And no one knows
What it's like to be hated, to be fated
To telling only lies
But my dreams they aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be
I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That's never free
Clark's head popped up and he turned his head away from the dark-haired woman that was standing next to him.
At her questioning tone, he turned back to flash a grin in her direction. "We forgot the ice cream."
"Ice cream?" she repeated. Her expression looked doubtful, but she shrugged. "Okay."
He smiled again and shifted the handbasket he was holding to his other hand. "I'll go get it," he said, stepping out of the line they were standing at the end of.
Rubbing a hand over his jaw, he walked the short distance to the freezer aisle and paused, hesitating as he wondered if he was actually going to go ahead with his plan. Making a decision, he moved into the space at the head of the lane and took a deep breath. The brief glance he shot back toward his companion had the desired effect – she was looking at him with an expression of mixed worry and question. He knew that she would be following him soon.
Straightening his shoulders, he started walking down the aisle toward the only other customer that was in the area.
Clark knew he had startled her – her hand froze as she was pulling a pint of ice cream from the freezer. True to form, she gathered her composure and finished the move, dropping the carton into the handbasket she was carrying.
Lois turned to face him, letting the door to the freezer close. "Hey, yourself."
"So…" Clark peered into her handbasket – the ice cream wasn't the only frozen item inside. It was obvious that she wasn't planning on cooking any time soon. "How are you?"
"I'm good," she said, and he could almost see a sarcastic smirk pulling at her lips. Almost. "Great, actually."
She had said that last part with considerable energy, and if he had not know her as well as he did – or, as well as he once did – he might have believed it. "Yeah, me too. Great."
She wasn't 'great' – he could tell that much. For the briefest of moments he began to doubt his motives. He was doing this for that very reason… to make sure that she would be fine. Standing there gazing at her, he began to think about apologizing for what he was about to do.
"So… you're shopping?"
Her voice pulled him from his thoughts and he smiled in amusement. His time-out for introspection would have been annoying to her. She didn't like awkward silences. It was one of the first things he had learned about her. It didn't surprise him that she had spoken first.
"That's what grocery stores are for, right?" He hadn't meant to do it, but it was automatic to slip into the bantering tandem that had been the basis of their relationship for so long. Maybe if they could do this again, they would be okay.
"Well, you're either doing that or scoping out for hot single chicks. Or, at least that's what I hear guys say their main reason for going to the grocery store is."
The delivery had been light and friendly, but the words themselves had stung. They hit home – she was single now. He felt the smile he had been wearing slip from his face. "Well, I…"
"Clark! There you are! Did you get the ice cream?"
He gave himself a mental slap. He had almost forgotten what he had come here to do. He watched as Lois arched an eyebrow – the left one, as always – and turned to face the approaching woman.
When the woman arrived at his side, he noticed that Lois's posture straightened. Diana was nearly as tall as he was. Lois's height had never come to his attention before – and it didn't really matter right now… it was just an interesting observation. Apparently, in his introspection he had failed to do his part with the introductions because Lois took it into her own hands – literally.
"Hi, I'm Lois Lane," she said, extending a hand toward Diana.
Diana flashed a brief look at him while reaching out to accept the handshake offer. "Diana Prince."
Clark wondered what Diana was thinking at that moment. She had heard plenty of stories about the woman she was meeting for the first time.
"Looks like you guys have a nice dinner planned," Lois commented, once again delineating the possibility of awkward silence.
"Oh we do," Diana answered. "Clark has this recipe for baked chicken breast using olive oil and red wine that's absolutely amazing."
Up to this point, Clark had been following the conversation like a referee at a ping pong match, but at this statement, he dropped his head, refusing to see the expression on Lois's face. She knew all about that recipe. She knew it very well.
"Well, that sounds really good… I should go. I don't want my ice cream to melt."
"Oh, sure," Diana replied. "Of course."
Clark looked up to see Diana's head tilt, and he knew that she was becoming aware of what had just happened.
Clark looked toward Lois, frowning as he tried to think of something to say… but then he realized that everything had already been said – or unsaid, as it were.
He cleared his throat. "Lois, listen…"
The look she gave him caused his words to dry up on his tongue.
"It's okay, Clark. You guys enjoy your meal." She turned back to face Diana with a much gentler expression. "It was very nice meeting you, Diana."
"Thank you, Lois. It was nice to meet you too."
Clark shared a final look with Lois – after a moment she smirked as if having read something in his eyes. "See you later, Lois," he was finally able to manage.
"Yeah. See you around." To his ears, the farewell sounded conspicuously bare.
He watched as she turned and walked away from them and grimaced when he heard her mutter under her breath.
"Ice cream?" Diana asked, drawing his attention back to the task at hand.
"Uh, yeah," he replied, pulling open the glass door and studying the stacks of ice cream cartons lining the shelves. After blankly looking at the different brands for a moment, he shrugged. "You know what? You pick." He pulled the door open wider and stepped aside to allow her access.
While she was making her selections, Clark narrowed his eyes to peer through the store. He wanted to give Lois plenty of time to finish paying for her items before he and Diana went back up to the front of the store. He didn't really want to have another confrontation - especially one that wasn't pre-planned.
"That's why I'm here, isn't it?"
Clark blinked and realigned his vision. He turned his head back to face Diana. "Huh?"
She looked disappointed. "Hire me to do your dirty work?"
He slowly closed the door and held the basket out so she could put the ice cream with the other items. "It's not like that."
Diana shifted her stance and crossed her arms on her chest. "Then tell me what it's like," she challenged lightly. "Because it really looks like you're trying to capitalize on what this," she waved a hand between the two of them, "looks like."
When Clark didn't reply, she flicked her hair over her shoulder with a graceful neck movement. "You knew she was here?"
"That's low, Clark." She scoffed, again giving him that disappointed look that made him want to disappear.
He didn't think it was as bad as it appeared…
"You called me for this?" she asked.
…Then, again, maybe it was as bad as it appeared.
"Not entirely," he answered, feeling the need to massage the back of his neck. "I just felt that if Lois saw that I'd moved on, then she would be forced to move on too…"
Diana's expression morphed into one of confusion. "You've moved on…" Her eyebrows suddenly shot up – both of them, she didn't do the one armed bandit thing like Lois. "…With me?"
"I thought, that… maybe that…" Clark forced himself to take a breath so his words wouldn't come out so pathetically. "I thought we could maybe give it a try." Despite his attempts, it still sounded lame.
Diana must have agreed with that assessment because she didn't look convinced. He felt chagrined when he read the message that the next few expressions flashing across her face revealed. She was his friend. She would cut him some slack.
"What do I have that she doesn't?"
Clark looked at her in surprise. Or maybe not any slack at all…
He frowned as he thought of a way to say the things that had been going through his mind for a while now. "You're like me."
"How is that, exactly? We're both tall? Have dark hair? Blue eyes?"
Clark studied her gaze for a moment before realizing that she was teasing him. He smiled. "Special."
"Special?" Diana glanced around to see if they were alone and then lowered her voice. "You mean outsiders." She smirked at him, leaning closer. "Crime fighters… justice keepers?"
Clark shook his head at her mockery.
"No, no, you're right," she said, straightening; suddenly sober. "We are alike, Clark. Both of us are looking for ways to appear normal in a world where we are anything but." She sighed and a sad expression settled on her face. "And both of us are trying to sabotage ourselves."
Clark frowned at her words. "Sabotage…"
Diana waved a hand at his confusion. "Part of me was hoping that you asked me come visit for something like this," she said, waving her hand between the two of them again, "but the larger part of me realizes that I was looking for an excuse as much as you were."
Clark let out an awkward laugh. She was teasing again… right? "I'm not looking for an excuse…"
Diana's knowing look caused him to trail off – even if she was wrong about she knew – it still caused him to pause.
"We're alike, Clark. Very alike – but too alike. There's no spark for us. You know it, and I know it. It's not interesting. We make very nice enablers, but that's about it."
She looked bashful for a second, a look that was completely foreign to him when it came to the formidable Diana Prince.
"I have someone I'm running from too."
Clark was pulled in two ways by that declaration. First… "I'm not running… wait, you do?"
Diana glanced away from him. "Bruce."
Clark felt his eyes pop and then fought to contain his shock. Bruce? The thought was so astounding that he had to repeat it aloud. "Bruce? Really?" He blinked. "Does he…"
"Know?" Diana finished for him. She shook her head. "But that's my challenge."
"I had no idea." Clark cleared his throat. "I'm sorry… this is awkward…"
"No," she entered, smiling at him as if they had both done something silly. "It's… enlightening."
Clark chuckled and shifted the basket to his other hand. This was certainly one of the most eventful trips to the supermarket he'd ever had.
"This is, um…" He glanced down at the basket and swallowed. Was there any way to salvage his ego? Then he looked up at the woman who was rightly considered one of his best friends… even after today – and perhaps more so because of today. He didn't have to salvage his ego. "You're not going to make me eat this by myself, are you?"
Diana laughed, and – like that – he knew they were okay… regardless of the awkward position they had almost put themselves in.
"No," she answered, linking an arm through the crook of his elbow. "But if there are any leftovers, you are on your own. I have a plane to catch."
Clark smirked as they began walking down the aisle toward the check out. "Or a plane to fly," he amended.
Diana turned her head toward him and smiled. "That too."