Disclaimer: Not mine, not mine, not mine. Sigh.
Notes: Yup, this what? A year late? Well, maybe it's on time in some alternate dimension where the parings are actually correct and people are actually accepting of both destiny and fate. This is set after Crimson and is my reaction to how downright MEAN Clark was to Lois while he tripped out on the K. Plus, he's been a Liar McLiarpants for far too long, in my opinion. Ahem, something about TRUTH, justice and the American way…. I hope you guys enjoy! Thanks for reading.
"There will always be another headless corpse, but true love comes around maybe once."
Perry White, Editor in Chief of the Daily Planet
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Clark was convinced he was going crazy.
The red kryptonite had worn off- he was sure of it. He'd spent last night wrapped in a haze of roiling guilt- he was pretty sure that was an emotion that red-k precluded completely. He'd sat awake wondering how he was going to make up for what he'd said and done, and -oh god- in front of all those people. The memory of the engagement party came back and his cheeks flamed with embarrassment. He groaned aloud and buried his head in his hands. All those people…
He climbed the stairs to the loft, passing the spot where- no. He wasn't going to think about it. He wasn't a murderer. He wasn't. He was sure that he would have let Lex go.
But… what if you hadn't, Clark? The whispered voice was inside his head, echoing, echoing, until he couldn't stand it. Well, that was the question, wasn't it?
He looked out at the gently waving grain. It was so pastoral, so serene in the fading Kansas light. It didn't fit. He wanted the scenery to match the frantic, frenzied circles his mind was running in. He at least wanted something to set fire. He sighed, and closed his eyes to prevent just that from happening. He'd caused enough trouble for one twenty-four hour period.
Then there was the problem of Lois.
She was annoying, and loud, and he wanted nothing less in the world than to kiss her, ever again, but that didn't excuse the fact that he'd been horrible to her. He'd used her. He'd trifled with her emotions, and her… tattoo.
The thought of the tattoo sent a flash of heat through him that he tried to squelch. Lois, he reminded himself. LOIS.
But all the same, he couldn't stop remembering the way she'd felt under him, around him, in his hands, on his lips. Oh god, those lips… No! No, no! Never again!
He sank on to the old battered couch, where she'd been so plucky, that strange brash brave combination unique to her, earlier that day. He'd been hiding out here, avoiding her until he could think of a way to make it up to her without ever having to resort to using speech. Then she showed up, and he'd given her back her CD, and the look on her face as she examined it had surprised him in its wistfulness. It made him feel eight times the million pound jerk he'd already been feeling. He'd humiliated her, in front of a room full of people, some of whom she shared blood with. It hadn't been his idea to feed her a love potion, but it had been his idea to break her heart. Even if she didn't remember it and would probably have laughed loudly and in scornful tones at the idea that he could ever have such an effect on her.
But effect he'd had. Not that he assumed it had anything to do with him, really. She'd been under the influence. She was so reactive, even when possessed of what could only pass for her right mind. She just took the world and jumped in, rearranging it where it didn't suit her. He wondered if it was obliviousness or calculation, on her part.
Knowing her, it was probably a little of both.
He snorted, unwilling to admit that it was that stubborn refusal to accept anything less than everything she wanted that made her so admirable. He wished that he'd been born different, born average, so that he could have had the chance to turn out as cynical and idealistic as she was.
He heard a car, and looked out the open loft window to see that the object of his musings was pulling up the drive. Lois parked the car around back, a sign that she intended to be here for some time, and didn't want to block the truck in.
He sighed, as she unfolded herself from the cab of the small red car. She stretched, arching her back, and he flushed, remembering how she had looked when he'd forced her arms up and pinned them to the wall. She'd made just the smallest noise and her eyes were full and heavy, as though telling him she'd play his way, for now. They made no promises about later. His silhouette must have caught her attention because she was suddenly waving, and on her way into the barn. He flushed deeper and then sighed again. No rest for the wicked, he told himself, and wondered what particular shape karma would take as it caught up with him.
"Hey, Smallville," her voice was uncharacteristically subdued, which immediately sent his hackles up. A solemn Lois was a dangerous Lois. She was the equal and opposite of a traffic accident- she was always the quietest before right before impact, but she packed the same bone-shattering punch.
"Lois," he said, cautiously. He began to inch towards the steps. If he could make it downstairs and into the kitchen, his mother would be there, and she would know how to hold Lois at bay. He felt like a real man, hiding behind his mommy, but eyeing Lois, he understood that some things even superpowers couldn't protect you from.
"Look, Clark, I need to talk to you, and you need to listen, and then… respond, as honestly as possible, because quite frankly I think that I might be losing my mind here, and if that's true, you're the only one who would be able to confirm it, so that I can get the help I need early enough that I don't end up all about the three faces of Eve."
Clark's stomach dropped out for two reasons. One, he had an inkling that they were about to get into Specifics. That was bad, for numerous reasons of its own. Two, he heard his mom starting the truck and he could just make out her taillights as they flashed away with his hopes, both apparently taking a left.
"S-sure, Lois. But, I already told you, I really don't remember what happened. It was all, Chloe at the Planet and then a vague image of, I don't know, a corset? After that, it's waking up today with a headache."
"Um, that's fab, Clark. Really. Except I have this idea that maybe if I tell you what I remember it may jog your memory. Also, here." She thrust something into his hands, and when he read the bottle's label it was all he had not to groan out loud. "Green tea with ginseng! It's supposed to enhance your antioxidant somethings and focus your memory glands or whatever. I figure that you could probably use all the help you can get."
"Lois, I'm not sure that this is such a good…" he began, still staring at the bottle of tea, wondering what she would do if he just took off running and began a new life somewhere different, somewhere quiet.
"Oh, that's right! You don't like green tea! Sorry, sorry! Here, I brought you black tea. It still has the ginseng; it just won't make you skinny."
With that she snatched the bottle back and he made the mistake of looking into her eyes as he was given the new one. She looked frayed, a bit, around the edges, but so damn hopeful that he knew that he was going to have to force himself to sit through what was surely going to be an unpleasant conversation. He owed it to her. Plus, she had remembered about the black tea.
He dropped his eyes, and said, "Thank you. For the tea. I guess maybe we could try."
He could only really see her feet, but they told him enough about what was coming by the way they lifted into the air when she gave a little hop of enthusiasm. She grabbed his arm, and hauled him to the couch, flinging him down with such vigor that had he been human he'd have bruised. He thought about how she'd done almost the same thing at the Planet, except with different motives. Then, she'd been trying to get into his… Oh crap. There were words.
"-ell, not really so much flying, as sort of, um, rushing maybe? Rushing, I guess, through the air. Then we were in Oliver's apartment, and yes, of course Freud would say that it's just my conscious mind trying to fill in the blanks in my memory, but you know, I've never really been one for tortured symbolism, and- Clark! You aren't drinking your tea!"
He took a large gulp reflexively, but it did little to clear the throat that was suddenly dry and sticky. He sensed a question coming.
"So, maybe I'm going too fast, but do you remember anything at all about Oliver's?"
He looked at her, and saw her bite her lip, and then he remembered something about Oliver's. He remembered the way she had smiled up at him when he settled her against the couch, and the feeling that gave him, the dizzy crazy out of control feeling he was beginning to fear had nothing to do with Kal-El, or red kryptonite.
"I… Oliver's?" he tried to look innocent, and failing that, he tried to look confused.
"Yeah, I mean, my own recollections are sort of hazy, but I know -know- we were there. I remember the hands…" Clark choked on what he had hoped would be a fortifying swallow of tea. Lois thumped him absentmindedly on the back, and continued. "Of the clock, they were pressing into my back."
And just when he thought it was safe to relax, she reached back to rub her spine. "They left kind of a bruise, so I know I'm not making it up."
Clark felt lower than a heel, and was melting under the scrutiny. What was it about her that made him feel like he was the last person in the world who deserved superpowers? Was that her superpower?
"A bruise?" he queried, as he tried to stall for time, and think of an answer that wasn't an outright lie but also wasn't, "Hey, yeah, sorry about being a superfreak. I totally remember everything, and it all started when I tripped out on the shards of my home-planet that lady used to tint your voo-doo lip gloss. How's that 'grip on reality' thing working out for you?"
"Yeah, it's gross. Wanna see?" She grinned ruefully and turned around, lifting her shirt slightly; Clark knew that stalling wasn't going to be good enough when he saw the long, dark marks indented into her back. She moved to cover back up, but Clark grabbed her hand gently, stopping her. "Clark?"
"Shhh," he said, the sound sticking in his throat as he choked it out. "Just let me see."
He was ashamed of himself for asking that of her. He knew it was cowardly, but he couldn't bear to hear her trusting voice as he explored the damage he'd done to her. After all, why should she trust him? He'd lied to her on numerous occasions; hell, he'd taken lying to Lois above and beyond the normal call of duty, going so far as to help others lie to her. He swallowed around the lump of self-disgust that had formed in his throat. He took the hem from her and eased it up her back. The bruises were vivid, angry and swollen, stretching across her lower back, and raised a bit, like welts. He couldn't stop himself from moving a finger to trace one gently, and she inhaled sharply, arching her back to move away. He hated himself a little more when the sound brought him directly back to the parts of last night that had led to her being bruised in the first place.
"I'm sorry, Lois." His words came out as almost a whisper, and he smoothed her shirt down gently as he spoke. "I'm so sorry."
"Gee, Smallville," she said, somewhat puzzled by the extent of the remorse he displayed. "I mean, it's not like you did it on purpose."
He just shook his head, unable to explain without jeopardizing his secret. He vowed silently to find some way to make it up to her.
"So that's a big nothing for Oliver's, then?" she sighed, unaware of Clark's distress. "Well, I guess the… well, the rushing is out then, too?"
He nodded shortly, wondering if it were possible to lace words with Kryptonite, because that would be the only route by which her words could make him feel more ill.
Suddenly, her eyes brightened. "I have an idea!"
He groaned, silently. Not good, his instincts screamed. Not good!
She eyed him speculatively for a moment, and then abruptly she was in his lap.
Oh dear God.
"Lois!" he yelped. "What are you doing?" He spanned her hips with his hands, preparing to lift her off and away from him, when he felt her tighten her legs on either side of his waist.
How much could one man be expected to take? She slid her arms around his neck, and he stared straight down her blouse before he caught himself. He forced his eyes up to hers, and his embarrassment was complete when he felt what blood was left in his head rush to his cheeks.
"Relax, Smallville. It's an experiment!" she whispered brightly into his ear, running her fingers slowly through his hair. He gaped up at Lois's calculating smirk. There was no blood to spare for his brain, so it took him a second to catch up with her. He caught her thighs just as they were bringing her down to roll against him, and he was, for once, thankful for his preternatural strength, because he understood all too well just how human was his self control.
"We shouldn't… I mean… Uh, that is to say…" Her chest. Her chest was right there. He never realized sober how much he loved her chest. He tried to slap himself mentally, but he couldn't. He did love her chest. And he could see that it was still marked with his name, the tattoo having not faded yet, like he had a right to it… Because he was distracted, and because he had his hands full of leg, he wasn't firing on all thrusters. Lois could admit a twinge of surprise herself, when she found it almost easy to lower her lips to his. They coasted gently across his cheek, and it was unexpectedly tender, for an ambush; then she kissed him fully, and Clark became very, very frightened.
It wasn't the kiss itself. No… That, he had to admit, was very nearly perfect. She cradled his face in her hands, and after a moment he'd forgotten how bad of an idea it was. He'd let go of her legs, in favor of clutching at her hip (mindful of her bruises in a foggy, disconnected sort of way) and running his hand through her hair. Mistake. She dropped onto him, and for one blissful short eternity, all was well. He thought the soft, wet, silky heat of her mouth was what liquor should taste like, because he was drunk on her, and he couldn't stop sipping. Oh, god, this was right, this was… everything. Then, she pulled back as if stung, fingers splayed across her mouth.
Lois scrambled to stand, to get away.
"You? It was you?" Her eyes were luminous, wide, pupils still dilated from the sudden upwelling of lust, and they held a betrayal so complete that he was rendered stricken. "All that time?"
"Lois, I..." He started, trying to hold her still so he could explain, but she wouldn't have it, struggling and thrashing, angry blotches of color spreading across her cheeks. He had to fix this.
"You were him. You knew, you heard me- oh god, you heard everything I said!" She choked in horror and let out a moan of humiliation; she twisted suddenly from where she was still locked around him and threw herself to the floor, scrubbing her palms across the places he'd touched her as if trying to scour a stain away. "All of the worry I went through over Oliver, all of the energy, and it was you! You could have helped! You could have just told me! I wouldn't have told anyone your secret, not if I knew it was you! GOD DAMMIT! Played for a sucker by a nasty, thieving, lying country YOKEL! And here I thought we were-"
She had been backing up, too sick with rage to even look at him, her hands clenched into fists like she was trying to grab the sides of the problem so she could rip it apart. She spun on her heel to flee down the steps, angry, broken off little choking noises ringing in the loft.
"Lois! Lois, please!" Clark called, reaching for her. The feral look in her eye was scaring him. He had to find some way to explain this to her (and he winced as he remembered how he'd done it under the red-k) and to make this better. "It's not what you think!"
Lois's whole body jerked to avoid his outstretched hand. She clutched the railing halfway down with white knuckles as she whipped around to glare at him. She scraped at her face with her sleeve, and Clark saw that she was almost crying, and he knew that would only make her angrier.
"How is it not what I think?! I know that kiss, Clark Kent! Or did you think that I was too stupid to ever figure it out? Lois Lane, our lady of perpetual ineptitude?" She spun on her heel without giving him time to answer and that's when it happened. On the last step her heel slipped and she lost her balance. She had time enough to scream but couldn't catch herself. She fell face first, her whole body tensed for pain.
He was there with her in a flash, less than a flash, a half fraction of a second of time, and he had her in his arms, cradled, and he stared into her startled eyes. She assumed it must have been her brush with danger, but she was dazzled. She had never seen his eyes so serious. She had also never seen a man move that fast, either, (one moment at the top of the steps, the next wrapped around her at the bottom, oh god, she was losing it) so she wasn't sure she hadn't fallen and cracked her head open. Or maybe she'd never made it to the barn at all. Her whirling mind conjured up half-reasoned images of a car accident. It would explain everything if she were hallucinating in a coma somewhere in Smallville Hospital. She blinked up at him, already wondering what her insurance fees were going to be. She felt her world shift again as he tightened his hold to right her. The green in his eyes was violent in its emphasis. He pulled her up into his arms, and the next thing she knew she was back on the couch upstairs. He knelt before her.
"I'm not the Green Arrow, Lois," he said, and though she didn't know why, she believed him. "I'm really not."
She stayed where she was placed, wrists braced on her knees. "Then who the hell are you? Because I know that kiss, Clark, and I am not going crazy." Unless of course she was right about that coma, and really, at this point, she wasn't prepared to rule it out.
"It was me who kissed you, and who beat up those thugs that night, but I'm not the Green Arrow."
"What the hell, Smallville? I mean, seriously, what the hell?" Her face was pale and she didn't seem to notice that she was gripping her own hands so tightly her fingertips were turning white. He took them in his own and pried them apart as easily as he would undo a zipper. She stared. "It was Chloe, wasn't it? Jimmy spilled the beans, she got worried and set something up with you to teach me a lesson and get me to stop putting myself in danger. Faked out by fake thugs after all! And you and Ollie were all bff there for awhile, so it makes perfect sense that he'd of shown up too… Dammit!" She glared at him distractedly, and her mind swirled with thoughts of how she could get her revenge.
For one dark moment, Clark considered agreeing. It was perfect really. Chloe would cover for him, and they could just say that Jimmy didn't know that he'd tipped her off, and… And then he remembered her eyes after she'd kissed him, and knew that he couldn't lie to her again. It just wasn't in him to keep lying to Lois Lane. He almost smiled, knowing that in any other circumstances voicing a thought like that to her would earn him a punch in the shoulder and a snorted, "Boy Scout." He was startled when her head snapped up.
"So Ollie was the Green Arrow!? Or else where would you have gotten a hold of green leather? Seriously, what is this? Do my lips infect men with the need to be dishonest? Is it something in my spit? What?"
"Lois, I'm sorry. He told me he thought that… We thought it would be safer for you if you didn't have to keep those sorts of secrets. It's…" She interrupted him by springing to her feet and he jerked forward to grab her as she suddenly leaned over the rail of the loft. He was caught off guard, however when she whipped back around. She was suddenly in his face and he didn't know quite what had triggered it this time.
"And WHAT is with all of this magic running/jumping/catching mumbo jumbo all of a sudden?! I swear to God, Smallville, I'm a woman on the edge and I am one step away from- What?" She noticed something and broke off, taking the opportunity to jab him rather savagely in the chest. "What the hell are you smiling at? I don't care if you can leap staircases in a single bound, I can still kick your ass if I really need to!"
He tried to school his features into some arrangement other than the current dopey grin, but he found he couldn't help it. "You called me 'Smallville.' Does that mean you forgive me? You never use that when you're really angry."
Lois gaped at him for a moment, speechless. Then, she sat back down on the couch, and pointed to the seat next to her. "Talk. I want answers and after I get them, then I'll decide if you're Clark, Kent, Smallville, or the Unknown Soldier in the unmarked grave."
Not taking any time to wonder why that seemed inordinately fair, he sat and abruptly began to tell her everything. All about Krypton, all about Kryptonite, all about who he was, what he could do, and exactly how she came to be 'rushing' through the air. She blinked at him, as he wound down, and he let out a breath. Then, he started up again, explaining his part in covering up the Green Arrow's secret (Oliver would forgive him, she'd figured it out anyway, and when Clark Kent was honest, Clark Kent was honest), and weathered the burst of outrage that she had when she found out that Chloe had known all of this and not told her.
"But, really, Lois, it wasn't her fault. It wasn't her secret to tell," he finished, amazed by how free he felt, but still not able to completely meet her eyes. He was more than half convinced that she was going to attempt to beat him black and blue, and he didn't know how he was going to keep her from hurting herself if she tried.
"Okay, I'm going to nutshell this- tell me if I leave anything out. You are from another planet, like four people know this, you've got ridiculous superpowers which is why you're always there in the nick of time, you lied to me because you wanted to protect me, and, ha, oh yeah, my lipstick slipped you a mickey." She raised and eyebrow and he nodded sheepishly, thinking better of bringing up Oliver again. He waited for her reaction warily; her face was unreadable. Then, she straighten up beside him, pursed her lips, patted his knee gently, and then socked him in shoulder. "I'm sure that hurt me more than it did you, but I have to say, it made me feel better."
He immediately started to apologize but she help up her hand.
"My problem with all this… Well, aside from how much sense it all makes, and how I actually believe you, in spite of the part about crazy space powers… I pegged you as dumb, Smallville, but not stupid. I mean really, were you like the village idiot of Capcom?"
"Krypton," he corrected automatically.
His mouth dropped open. She couldn't be serious. And yet it was just so cosmically right (in a sick, twisted interpretation of that concept) that Lois Lane would respond to the news that he was an alien destined to in some way champion her race by insulting his intelligence.
"How could you possibly have thought it would be a good idea to keep this a secret from me? You know how I get about secrets… You even had a charming analogy for it once, something about a Doberman and leg bone?"
"Pitbull and a pant leg," he muttered, bemused, staring at her in consternation.
"Right, sure, and may I take this opportunity to express my overwhelming delight that you've really taken the intricacies of this, our Earth language, to heart and explored it with unflinching courage." She rolled her eyes, and leaned further towards him.
"Lois, you're being very flip about this, and I'm worried you're not taking it as seriously as maybe you-"
"Oh, what? Suddenly I can't make jokes? You dump on me the fact that Alf was like a tutorial for you, and it's my facetious humor that's out of place in this situation?" she scoffed.
"Lois! This is my life! No one can know about this! I-" He trailed off, at the softened look on her face.
"Of course, I'm not going to tell anyone! I'll find some of that green crap and stick it in your cereal if you tell anyone this, but I'm really glad you trusted me enough to let me know. I mean, I'm apocalyptically angry that it took you so friggin' long, because really, I'm excellent both in times of crisis and at covert ops, but whatever. I'll get over it. Someday. After you've made it up to me." Her smile turned calculating. "Hmm. The possibilities…"
Clark's eyes widened. He remembered that look from when he'd (oh geez) ripped her shirt open with some corny line (and this was what dying from mortification felt like, he noted, good to know). She caught the blush before he could fight it back, and burst out laughing.
"Oooh, my own personal super-servant! What first? I've been really sick of walking lately…" She held her arms up, and motioned for him to lift her. "You're not exactly six well oiled mutes with a pasha's litter, but you'll do, farmboy, you'll do."
Clark rolled his eyes, and swung her up into his arms. "This is temporary, Lois, and only because I do really feel bad about those bruises." The way he gripped her belied his words; he held her like he would never let go.
"Blah, blah, blah. You may be from outer space, but you're still the same boring old Farmer Ted I met naked in a cornfield. And as transparent as-"
"As transparent as that 'shirt' you were 'wearing' on Valentine's Day, mmm?" He grinned easily at her look of flabbergasted outrage. "You didn't seem to think I was quite so boring then." She flicked him in the ear.
"It took black magic Maybelline to get me into that shirt!" Lois processed her words a split second later, and started to warn him not even to dare, but it was too late.
"But it only took a hop, skip and a jump to get you out of it." His wicked smile was contagious and they were both laughing themselves silly as they exited the barn, Lois still firmly in Clark's arms. They didn't see the figure who'd been waiting patiently on the porch.
"Yeah, well, try it when I'm in my right mind. I dare you," she smirked. "Oh, but that's right! Boy scouts never involve themselves in those sorts of crazy shenanigans!"
He shifted her in his grip, fascinated by the devil gleam in her hazel eyes, until she was perched on his hip. They had stopped by the Kent fence, unknowingly. He leaned closer, and he could feel his body tightening up in attraction for this woman he held. It was a connection like he'd never had before. It was a shifting sensation, like his future was locking into place. He trailed one fingertip of his free hand down the side of her face, over her neck, to the first button of her blouse. If she wasn't so turned on, she thought her jaw might have dropped.
"That's a common misconception, Lois. I was, in fact, never in Boy Scouts." He flicked the first button away, and hoped that she wouldn't call his bluff, because he was pretty sure that one button was his limit for smooth moves.
Lois slid one hand through his hair, and levered herself so she was planted on the top rung of the fence. She tugged him down to her lips, whispering something the unnoticed Lana couldn't hear.
Lana turned to leave, not knowing what she was going to do about the crowbar she'd found, but needing to be somewhere else as quickly as possible. When had this happened? As she hastened away, she couldn't help but turn back for one last look. The pair had parted, but only ever so slightly, enough for her to see Clark's bright, delighted smile split through the climbing twilight. He swung Lois up against him, as natural as breathing, and even as Lana ran down the path away from the farm, she could hear the echo of his unexpected laughter. She was too far away to make out the very solemn "Oh, you are so my favorite Martian!" that had caused it.