Disclaimer: I do not own Smallville or Superman . . . they belong to people far greater than I. I just like to borrow the characters . . . they're fun to play with.

SPOILERS: The episodes "Committed," "Bride," and "Infamous."

Summary: An alternate ending to "Infamous."

Rating: K+

Pairing: Clois

Coffee Break

Clark watched Lois sit alone at a table at the café they agreed to meet at that evening. The waitress had just delivered Lois' coffee and she was waiting for him. He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and prepared to text message her, "Sorry swamped with work, can't make it," when he remembered his conversation with Chloe earlier that day.


The News Stand

Clark handed Chloe a large cup of coffee and they made their way down the street.

"I have to admit, I would have loved to have seen Clark Kent as an international celebrity icon," Chloe admitted, a broad smile on her face.

"It wasn't a pretty sight," Clark told her, an uncomfortable look on his face.

"Yeah, but being a part of your entourage, I must have had some perks, right?" Chloe asked, curiously.

"If you consider a complete invasion of privacy a perk," Clark said, condemningly, raising his eyebrows to emphasize the point.

Then he started remembering the times he had shared with Lois knowing the truth about him. "Well," he admitted, "there was this one moment right after I told Lois the truth about me . . . I thought everything would be okay . . . that I could have it all," he said forlornly, ". . . but I was wrong."

Chloe snuck a couple of looks at Clark, the wheels turning in her head, "You know, Clark, maybe you can have your cape and wear it too . . . Say that Clark Kent is the unassuming journalist buttoned up in a starched shirt and tie, but then when he's playing the hero he . . ."

". . . Steps out of the shadow into his red and blue, creating two completely separate identities?" Clark finished, eyebrows raised, intrigued by the thought.

"Yeah," Chloe sparkled, loving her idea, "and for the cherry on top you get to tell Lois the truth and still know her reaction," she finished with a smile.

"All of this made one thing very clear, Chloe," Clark informed her, seriously, shaking his head, ". . . Lois can never know who I really am."

"Clark, is it safe to say that maybe another benefit from protecting your secret is getting to protect yourself from getting hurt?" Chloe asked, suspiciously.

"I destroyed the Legion ring," Clark told her, changing the subject completely.

Chloe raised her head in semi-understanding, noting the complete change of subject, before looking back at him, her own eyebrows raised, "Speaking of that . . ."

Clark's face was dead serious, "Controlling time is too dangerous Chloe . . . It always comes at a price."

Chloe nodded, "Trust me, I'm glad that you got a page one rewrite . . . but it kind of makes me wonder what might've changed this time."

They just stared at each other seriously, trying to comprehend how things may have changed.


Clark heard Chloe's voice echo inside his head, "Clark, is it safe to say that maybe another benefit from protecting your secret is getting to protect yourself from getting hurt?"

As he stared at Lois sipping her coffee, he realized that he didn't want to live his life on the safe side. He and Chloe had come up with a way for him to be both man and super-man without the rest of the world knowing the difference. Lois had reacted positively to his secret when he'd told her, and she had experience dating guys who played the hero role before. He had a nagging suspicion that she would believe him and support him . . . after all, isn't that what she had always done?

He put his cell phone away without pressing the "send" button and spontaneously decided to cross the street.

"Hey," Clark greeted, taking the seat across from Lois.

"Clark," she smiled, her face showing surprise that he had actually come, "You came?"

"Yeah," he smiled back at her, "I guess I did."

"Honestly," Lois admitted, looking down at her coffee mug, "I wasn't expecting you to show."

"Honestly," Clark revealed, "Neither was I."

"I'm glad you did," Lois smiled. "So about that complicated conversation? Should I start or do you want to try your hand at it first?"

"How about we have a normal conversation first?" Clark suggested, shrugging. "You know, doggie paddling in the shallow end before we test the deeper waters?"

"That sounds good," Lois agreed, nodding. She drummed the fingers of her free hand on the metal table once before leaving it in a half-fist on the cold surface as she took another sip of coffee.

"So what was is like in Star City all those weeks you were gone?" Clark began, since he had been a colossal failure at keeping in touch while she was with Jimmy in California.

This time Lois shrugged, "It was lonely . . . and tiresome. I never realized how exhausting worrying about two people you love can be."

"I know what you mean," Clark empathized, reaching out with one long arm and covering her free hand with his. It was ice cold. "Jeez, Lois, why didn't you tell me you were freezing?!"

"I thought the hot coffee would warm me up," Lois explained as Clark took his jacket off and draped it around her shoulders. He moved his chair next to hers and wrapped an arm around her, still covering her free hand with his, partly to warm it up and partly because it just felt nice to hold her hand.

Lois smiled nervously, looking at Clark out of the corner of her eye, her heart melting as his body heat slowly soaked through her clothes and made her feel warm and tingly all over. "Why is it that guys never get cold?"

"Must be a Y chromosome thing," Clark answered, half-joking, liking the feel of her in his arms, just like at Chloe and Jimmy's wedding when they'd danced and almost kissed . . . before all hell had broken loose.

"Are you going to order anything?" Lois wondered allowed as the waitress passed by their table.

"That would require me to move and I'm happy where I am," Clark admitted, giving her a shy boy smile instead of his dazzling Clark Kent grin.

"Oh," Lois said, her voice an octave higher than it had been the last time she spoke. She couldn't say she was unhappy with his answer.

"You sound surprised," Clark observed, noticing that she was slightly nervous. "Do you want me to move?"

"No," Lois rushed out, she most definitely didn't want him to move. She nodded and then smiled at him for real, "It feels nice."

"It does, doesn't it?" Clark agreed, finally flashing her his dazzling Clark Kent grin. "I wish I could have gone to Star City with you."

"Really?" Lois sounded surprised. "Even with Lana back?"

"Yes," Clark told her unabashedly. "I'm not sorry she was here, but more for closure's sake than anything else."

"That's good," Lois said, relief evident in her voice. "I'm glad you got to have closure. It really sucks when you don't."

"Yeah," Clark said, noting the relief in her voice. "I finally feel like I can move on with my life."

Lois nodded again, "I'm glad to hear you say that . . . I hated watching you be miserable over her."

"Was I really that bad?" Clark grimaced, when he'd suggested having a normal conversation before delving into the complicated one, he hadn't expected it to include Lana.

"Clark, anyone who receives a "Dear John" DVD has a right to be as miserable as you were," Lois informed him, her turn to be empathetic. "At least when I broke up with Ollie for the second time, I knew why I was doing it. Lana kind of just left this enormous hole in your heart without really telling you why . . . it was actually pretty cruel. I didn't know she was capable of that."

"Lana is capable of a lot of things I didn't know about," Clark established, looking back on the last months of their relationship before her coma. "By the time she left she wasn't the same woman I fell in love with."

"At least you recognize that," Lois said, supportively.

"It feels good to finally let go," Clark told her, realizing he meant it, ". . . to know that our break-up wasn't my fault."

"That does feel good, doesn't it?" Lois agreed, glad that they were covering the Lana part of the conversation now and getting it over with.

"Well, she's on the right path now . . . and so am I . . . it's just that the paths we're on now don't coincide . . . but it doesn't feel bad . . . It feels kind of liberating to be honest," Clark shared, he needed to make sure Lois knew that any residual feelings he might have had for Lana were now completely obliterated. He tightened his arm around her shoulders as she took a big sip of coffee. There wasn't much of the brown liquid left in her mug.

"How about we take this show on the road?" Lois suggested, doing a happy dance on the inside at how sincere Clark sounded about the other girl with the initials L.L.

"As long as I can keep my arm around you," Clark stated, giving himself wholly over to the possibilities Lois could open up.

"I can agree to let you continue man-handling me until we make it to my apartment," Lois pretended it was going to be a terrible burden to have to walk with Clark's arm still around her. "If only for the sake of not catching hypothermia."

Lois motioned for the waitress to bring her bill, but Clark snatched it up before Lois could get to it. He left the money for the coffee on the black plastic tray, and escorted Lois out onto the sidewalk in the direction of her apartment.

"You know," Clark said, bemused. "I really missed you while you were gone, especially at The Planet. As much as I love being a reporter it's just not the same without you sitting across from me, badgering me all day."

"I'm the badgerer?" Lois scoffed, narrowing her eyes at Clark. "You're the one that always starts it!"

"Am not!" Clark protested.

"You so are," Lois argued, unrelenting.

"Fine," Clark tried to play peacemaker to their playful fight, "how about we both admit that sometimes I start it and sometimes you start it? It's the closest thing to the truth."

"Okay, fine," Lois relented. "I missed you too by the way. You're a lot more entertaining than a bunch of beeping machines."

"I'm touched," Clark feigned gratitude, doing a happy dance on the inside when she admitted she'd missed him too.

"As you should be," she told him, "It's not everyday Lois Lane walks around spouting off "Hallmark" card one-liners . . . appreciate it while it lasts, Smallville."

"I'll do that," Clark replied, sarcastically as they arrived at Lois' apartment building.

Lois punched in the code to the security door on the outside of the building, hearing the familiar buzz that accompanied the door letting her in. Clark pushed the door open before she could manage to and he waved her through like a true gentleman.

They walked up the stairs to Lois' actual apartment and she struggled with the key in the doorknob. He put his hand over hers to steady it, and, wouldn't she know it, she was able to get the tiny scrap of metal into the keyhole and unlock the door, letting them in out of the cold. She tossed her keys on the kitchen counter and took off her coat. It was warmer inside her apartment than it was outside but it wasn't warm enough. Lois flipped the heater on and disappeared into her bedroom, coming back out a minute later dressed in her old Met U hooded sweatshirt and a pair of flannel pajama bottoms. She clutched a bold blue chenille blanket large enough to cover and warm at least two people and motioned for Clark to sit on the couch, which he obeyed without a word. She sat down at the far corner from where he was and faced him, her knees tucked up under her as she spread the large blanket over her and attempted to throw it across Clark. He grabbed the blanket and spread it over himself, making sure that the part covering Lois didn't move a millimeter.

He looked down at the bold blue of the blanket for a moment and decided to just go for it, "I should have kissed you at Chloe and Jimmy's wedding."

"And he belly-flops right into the deep-end, not quite knowing if he's mastered the art of swimming just yet," Lois quipped, the only reaction she had at the moment for his brazen comment.

"I shouldn't have let Lana's appearance stop me from doing something I've wanted to do for a long time," Clark continued as if he hadn't heard her.

"Something you've wanted to do for a long time?" Lois repeated, in shock. She thought she was the only one who was experiencing romantic feelings toward him in their relationship.

"Remember when Chloe and Jimmy were kidnapped by that crazy jeweler and the two of us posed as an engaged couple to try and find and rescue them?" Clark asked her seriously.

"How could I forget?" Lois rolled her eyes. "That nut job almost killed all four of us!"

"When he had us tied up and attached us to those meteor-rock-enhanced electro-shock cables and the lie detectors, you told him you loved me," Clark reminded her.

"I also told you that I managed to slip the detector off my finger before you had the chance to fry, Smallville," Lois reminded him with a pointed finger to emphasize her point.

"I know," Clark informed her, "I remember our conversation on the elevator."

"Then why are you bringing it up?" Lois demanded, her cheeks growing hot. She hadn't been lying when she'd admitted she loved him and she hadn't slipped the lie detector off her finger either.

"Because I never got the chance to be in the hot-seat," Clark admitted dubiously, "and it makes me wonder what I would have said if he'd asked me any questions."

"And?" she asked, curiously this time, her eyebrows rising in anticipation.

"I think I've figured out what I would have said if he'd asked me if I loved you," Clark left her hanging in suspense.

"Which would be . . .," Lois trailed off, eager to hear his answer but trying not to sound like she was too eager, just casual.

"I would have told him honestly," Clark stopped, trying to breathe deeply and face the situation like his father would have, "that I'm in love with you," he finished hurriedly, the words a jumble as he stumbled over them with his tongue, nerves fluttering in his usually steel stomach.

"Wait, what?" Lois asked, wondering if she'd heard him correctly. The last part of the sentence had been all jumbled up and he looked nervous, a blush coloring his cheeks.

"I said," Clark sighed, having hoped he wouldn't have to repeat himself. Normally Lois had a knack for hearing things she shouldn't, "I would have told him I love you," he enunciated, "and it wouldn't have been a lie."

"Well, yeah," Lois tried to shrug it off like he was kidding, "but you would have meant platonically, right?"

"No," Clark revealed, he'd been right – this conversation was complicated and far from easy. "I would have meant that I'm in love with you."

Lois turned her head sharply, eyeing him suspiciously, "Ha-ha, that's very funny . . . you're a real Ron White."

"I'm not kidding Lois," Clark told her, frustrated that she didn't believe him.

"You have to be," Lois insisted, ". . . I mean we're Lois and Smallville!"

"Would you believe me if I told you I could prove it?" Clark asked, his eyebrows raised. He knew she couldn't back down from a challenge.

"How on Earth could you prove that?" Lois voiced, disbelief coloring her tone. She wanted with all her heart to believe what she was hearing, but it just couldn't be true. Clark never thought of her like that, why would he start now even if he was Lana free.

Clark got up from his seat on the couch and approached her, scooping her up into his arms as though they were newly married and were about to cross the threshold. He pressed his lips against hers, throwing all the love, affection, and devotion he felt toward her into that kiss. She wrapped her arms around his neck and deepened the kiss, opening her mouth so that he could slide his tongue in, massaging it sexily against hers. The kiss was slow and exploring, deep and passionate, loving and tender, demanding and breath-taking. It consumed them both, sending shivers down each other's spines, and making her throb at her center as he wrapped his arms tighter, sliding one of his hands under her Met U sweatshirt as he delicately ran his hand over her bare abdomen. After several minutes they broke away from each other and Clark set her gently back on the couch. He took his old seat and recovered himself with the blanket. He didn't want her to see how much he wanted her.

"Point proven," Lois said breathlessly, still recovering from their mind-blowing kiss. "I lied, you know."

Clark looked deep in thought when she said this, and it looked as if he were almost coming out of a dream when he finally looked at her, "What?"

"I lied," she repeated, her voice shaking, ". . . on the elevator. I lied."

"About which part exactly?" Clark asked, desperate to know what she was trying to tell him.

"I didn't slip the lie detector off my finger," she revealed, blushing. "When that nut job asked me how I felt about you, I wasn't lying."

"Well," Clark said, fiddling with his hands, "I wasn't expecting that."

"Trust me," Lois confirmed, "Neither was I."

"What does this mean?" Clark wondered aloud, his face very serious.

"Well, if you love me . . . and I love you, then shouldn't we be together?" Lois queried, not liking the look on his face. It was the look that spelled doom.

"I have something to tell you first before you decide whether or not you want to be with me," Clark mused, trying to muster up the courage to tell her his secret.

"It's not like you're an alien from a different planet, Smallville," Lois retorted, wondering what he possibly had to tell her that would make her change her mind about being with him or loving him.

Clark chuckled at her remark. Leave it to Lois Lane to hit the nail right on the head without even meaning to. He took a deep breath, steadying his voice, "I'm the Red-Blue Blur."

Lois looked at Clark in disbelief. Is he trying to mess with my head?

"Now would be a good time to say something, Lois," Clark encouraged her, very nervous. A quiet Lois was never a good sign.

"Prove it," Lois demanded. Normally her reaction would have been to laugh herself silly until she peed her pants or something, but there was something about the look on Clark's face . . . she couldn't quite put her finger on it. After another moment of thought she realized what it was that was different about his expression . . . Clark Kent looked vulnerable, something he rarely, if ever, showed.

Clark looked at Lois' fire place, which, surprisingly, had real wooden logs in it. He used his heat vision, blasting jets of flame from his eyes until the dry wood caught fire. Then he super-sped to the kitchen and presented her with a steaming mug of hot chocolate and a bowl of her favorite Rocky-Road ice cream in under a second. He knew she liked to mix things up, like hot and cold, which is why he brought her the ice cream too. She stared at him, slack-jawed, mouth completely agape.

"Is that proof enough?" Clark demanded, gently, as she took the mug of hot chocolate in her hands and taking a sip before putting it down and accepting the bowl of ice cream, which she dug into greedily, especially considering the circumstances.

Lois nodded a few times, "Well . . . you were definitely blurry . . . I think that'll do . . . so what other things can you do besides starting fires with your eyes and running super-fast?"

"This is totally off the record, right?" Clark voiced nervously.

"I'm insulted, Smallville," Lois quailed, a disappointed look on her face. "I thought you knew me better than that."

Clark scratched the nape of his neck and looked away from her for a moment, "It's just that you're the first person I've told on purpose."

"What does that mean?" Lois queried, confused.

"All the people that know my secret are either declared officially insane, dead, or already knew I had abilities when I told them the truth about who I was," Clark explained.

"Who else knows? Chloe knows, doesn't she?" Lois surmised, guessing.

"Chloe does know and so does Lana, my friend Pete from high school, Oliver and a few people that help him out with his Green Arrow gig, and Lex," Clark elaborated. "The thing is I told each and every one of them out of necessity, excluding Lex, because they had witnessed me using my abilities at one point or another, and… out of self-preservation, it was in my best interest to reveal my origins to them," he continued. "The only super power you knew I had was a penchant for wearing too much flannel plaid."

"What exactly do you mean when you say 'origins'?" Lois cocked an eyebrow at him.

Clark paused, now was the big moment, "I'm not exactly from around here."

"That vagues everything up for me, Smallville," Lois complained at his less than stellar description of where he came from, but she suspected he meant he was not of this world, "Though I suppose I shouldn't be calling you Smallville anymore, should I?"

"I'm from a planet called Krypton," Clark explained more clearly. "It was galaxies away, but it died and my birth parents put me on a ship as a baby and sent me here to Earth just before the planet exploded. I arrived during the first meteor shower and my mom and dad, Jonathan and Martha Kent, found me and went about finding a way to adopt me."

"You never finished telling me what things you can do," Lois pointed out, choosing to put his origins on the back burner for now.

"I can see through things, I can hear a dog barking a mile away, if I blow air out of my lungs hard enough, I can rip buildings to pieces, I'm bulletproof and really strong. I'm also supposed to be able to fly, but that hasn't happened for me yet," Clark admitted, wondering if a massive meltdown was on the way.

"So basically the entire time I've known you," Lois stated, trying to get things straight, "You've been moonlighting as Smallville's and now Metropolis' quiet savior?"

Clark shrugged, "I never really thought of putting it that way, but yes, that's accurate."

"Wow!" Lois exclaimed, truly impressed. "I never had any clue."

"You weren't supposed to," Clark told her. "I never liked hiding my true identity from you, but seeing how knowing my secret affected the people in my life, I was afraid to tell you. I didn't want to make your life miserable."

"As opposed to the happy train to Funland it's been on for the last year?" Lois quipped, trying to take everything in.

"I know things haven't been the easiest for you lately," Clark explained, "and I didn't want to make things any worse. I care about you, Lois. I already told you how I really feel . . . what I need to know is if you still feel the same way about me now that you know the truth."

Lois stared down at the blanket for a long time before answering, "The truth is . . . I'm really lucky to be loved by someone who is so selfless and brave, and knowing the truth only makes me love you more."

Clark smiled widely, "So . . . do you think we can make this work? I know you had your doubts about doing the whole double life thing with Oliver . . . does that apply to me as well?"

"No, Clark," Lois intoned, giving him a strange look. "It was different with Ollie . . . he was always leaving me behind . . . but you . . . even though you have a double life, you have always been there . . . You've never left me behind . . . ever," she said, looking into his eyes with nothing but love.

"And I never will," Clark promised her, returning the look of love in her eyes.

"I trust that with all my heart," Lois proclaimed, smiling back at him. "I trust you with my heart."

"So are Clark Kent and Lois Lane finally taking the humongous leap into the unknown territory of romantic oblivion?" He asked.

"It's not unknown territory, Clark," Lois told him certainly. "We already love each other... everything else is just another adventure we'll be taking together."

"Together," Clark said, testing it out. "I really like that word."

Lois laughed, "It's now one of my favorites too . . . now get your Kryptonian ass over here and kiss me!"

Clark didn't have to be told twice. They kissed all night and the next day at work and the day after that and the day after that, and so on and so forth. They were finally truly happy and all it took was a simple cup of coffee for them to realize that they were meant to be.